Bill Baer

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Nolan Arenado completes cycle with walk-off three-run home run

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Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado completed the cycle in the most dramatic of ways: with a walk-off three-run home run, giving his team a 7-5 victory over the Giants on Sunday afternoon.

Arenado tripled but was stranded in the bottom of the first inning against starter Ty Blach. He singled to lead off the fourth and was stranded. He then ripped an RBI double off of Blach in the sixth to cut the Rockies’ deficit to 2-1 at the time. He struck out in the seventh against George Kontos, but redeemed himself in the ninth with a walk-off three-run home run against Mark Melancon, turning a 5-4 deficit into a 7-5 win.

Arenado is the eighth Rockie to hit for the cycle and the first since Michael Cuddyer accomplished the feat on August 17, 2014 against the Reds. Prior to Sunday, the last time the Giants gave up a cycle was to the Diamondbacks’ Kelly Johnson on July 23, 2010.

After Sunday’s performance, Arenado is hitting .299/.352/.573 with 15 home runs, 55 RBI, and 47 runs scored in 310 plate appearances. He’s currently holding a slight lead for the WAR lead among third basemen at 2.7, just ahead of Anthony Rendon (2.6) and Kris Bryant (2.4), according to FanGraphs.

Braves plan to use six-man rotation when Bartolo Colon returns

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David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that the Braves will expand the starting rotation to six members when Bartolo Colon returns from the disabled list by Wednesday. Colon will rejoin the rotation without going on a minor league rehab assignment.

Colon, 44, went on the disabled list on June 6 with a strained left oblique. He struggled through 12 starts, compiling a 7.78 ERA with a 40/17 K/BB ratio in 59 innings.

The Braves want to see more out of pitching prospect Sean Newcomb, who has turned in two solid starts against the Mets and Marlins to start his big league career. He’s given up three earned runs on nine hits and six walks with 10 strikeouts in 12 1/3 innings.

O’Brien notes that the six-man rotation may only be temporary as the Braves may explore trading Jaime Garcia between now and the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.

Bronson Arroyo may have pitched his final game

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On April 8, Bronson Arroyo made his first appearance in the major leagues since June 15, 2014. The right-hander, now 40 years old, underwent Tommy John surgery that summer which caused him to miss the rest of the 2014 season and the ’15 season. In 2016, in the Nationals’ minor league system, he threw only nine innings before being shut down with more elbow soreness.

Arroyo’s return was remarkable and not just because of his age. Unfortunately, the story hasn’t gone as well as Arroyo had hoped. Entering Sunday’s start against the Dodgers, he carried a 7.01 ERA with a 42/19 K/BB ratio in 68 innings. He had given up a major league worst 22 home runs and a National League high 53 earned runs.

Against the Dodgers, Arroyo couldn’t make it into the fourth inning. He gave up five runs on seven hits with no walks and three strikeouts in three innings of work, raising his ERA to 7.35.

Following the game, Arroyo said that his shoulder is getting worse and Sunday’s start may have been his last, C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports.

If this is indeed it for Arroyo, he won 148 games across parts of 16 seasons with a 4.27 ERA and 1,568 strikeouts. He won a championship in 2004 with the Red Sox and made one All-Star team in 2006 as a member of the Reds.