And That Happened: Sunday's Scores and Highlights

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Yankees 4, Mets 0: Amazingly, the Yankees prove to be a tougher opponent for the Mets than the Orioles and Indians were. Sabtahia was tough and Teixeira’s grand slam took care of all of the day’s scoring.

Red Sox 2, Dodgers 0: It’s a close call given how well the Rangers are playing, but the Red Sox are probably the hottest team in baseball at the moment. Buchholz, Bard and Papelbon combine to shut out the Dodgers giving the Bosox the sweep. I’ll admit, though: I turned this one off fairly early. Two reasons: (1) I was really tired and the game’s slow pace was allowing me to dose; and (2) if I heard one more thing about Manny Ramirez — who was making his return to Boston, I’m told! — I was gonna barf. Really, folks, there was a baseball game happening. Concentrate on it and not the eight or ninth best player in that particular game please.

Braves 8, Royals 5: That’s five straight wins for Atlanta who — no
offense to the Royals — took advantage of the easier opposition this
weekend to put a bit of distance between themselves and the Mets and
Phillies. Lots of credit to Troy Glaus and Eric Hinske who are looking
like the best couple of bargain bin pickups this year.

White Sox 6, Nationals 3: The Sox have won six in a row, sit at .500 and are a relatively reasonable 5.5 games back of the Twins. The Nats are
skidding. I’m going to make it my mission this week to get people to
start calling it the Curse of Strasburg. Because really, they were doing
just fine before they called him up.

Twins 4, Phillies 1: This one sucked for Philly, but they were probably still reeling from Saturday night’s debacle in which they led 9-4
entering the ninth and ended up blowing it 13-10 in 11 innings. Halladay
on the mound yesterday, but Minnesota somehow knocked 11 hits off the
dude. The Phillies have lost six of Halladay’s last eight starts, by the way. I’m
going to make it my mission this week to get people to start calling
it the Curse of Halladay. Because really, they won two straight
pennants before they traded for him.

Brewers 6, Rockies 1: Huston Street comes back on Tuesday. That’s not soon enough for the Rockies, as Manny Corpas gives up five runs without retiring a batter in the ninth inning of a 1-1game. Corpas was beat up on Saturday too, by the way.

Marlins 4, Rays 1: Josh Johnson continues to be ridiculous (8 IP, 6 H, 1 ER 9K). Since returning from Tommy John surgery in July 2008, Johnson is 30-8
with a 2.95 ERA in 62 starts. The Rays drop two of three to the Feesh and are now out of first place.

Tigers 3, Diamondbacks 1: The Tigers take two of three from the Dbacks on reunion weekend, with Max Scherzer beating his old mates yesterday, Edwin Jackson beating his old pals on Saturday and Dontelle Willis getting the ND against his former compadres on Friday (but pitching poorly enough to lose). Of course for all we know Scherzer, Jackson and Willis hate their old teammates with an unholy passion, so saying they’re mates, pals and compadres may be totally presumptuous of me.

Giants 9, Blues Jays 6: Freddy Sanchez, Pat Burrell and Aubrey Huff all homered for the Giants, after which they went to a local cafeteria where they took advantage of the early bird special. Huff ate Burrell’s corn on the cob because it was tough and irritated Burrell’s partial. Sanchez fell asleep in his pudding. They then talked about their grandchildren for a while.

Mariners 1, Reds 0: The Reds scored one freakin’ run all weekend. Really: one run.  No shame in getting shut out by Cliff Lee, of course. And Felix Hernandez is tough so I understand that too. But the fact that they couldn’t scratch one across against Ryan Rowland-Smith is pretty sad.

Pirates 5, Indians 3: I know a guy who lives in Pittsburgh who took his kids to not one but two games in this series. Last I heard, Pennsylvania Children’s Services had a warrant out for his arrest and the neighbors were holding a candlelight vigil. Sir, I guess there’s just a meanness in this world.

Rangers 5, Astros 4: Josh Hamilton went 5 for 6, with the game-tying RBI in the ninth and the game-winning RBI in the 10th. He’s now hit in 16 straight games and the Rangers have won 11 of 12.

Athletics 3, Cardinals 2: A loss yesterday, but the Cardinals have to be happy that Matt Holliday is heating up. Two homers yesterday and 8 for 12 in the series with four homers and eight RBIs. Kevin Kouzamanoff was 4 for 4 for Oakland.

Cubs 12, Angels 1: Chicago loses 12-0 on Saturday and wins 12-1 on Sunday. Better than the offense for Chicago was Carlos Zambrano giving up one run in seven innings. Joe Saunders got shelled today, giving up nine hits and a couple of walks in 2.2 innings. His post-game quote: “the defense just wasn’t there for me today.” Whatever, dude.

Padres 9, Orioles 4: San Diego fell behind 4-0 in the top of the first and then scored nine unanswered runs. Baltimore hasn’t won consecutive games since May 12-14th. It’s gonna be a battle royale to figure out whether they or Houston will take the 30th slot in the Power Rankings.

Craig’s Father’s Day: Started out with a 28-mile bike ride through the country and ended with steak, some good wine and rhubarb pie. That’s definitely a win.

Swanson, Olson go deep vs Scherzer, Braves take NL East lead

atlanta braves
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ATLANTA — Dansby Swanson and Matt Olson homered off Max Scherzer, lifting the Atlanta Braves to a crucial 4-2 victory Saturday night over the New York Mets and a one-game lead in the NL East.

The defending World Series champions beat aces Jacob deGrom and Scherzer on consecutive nights to take their biggest lead of the season in the division. New York, which held a 10 1/2-game cushion on June 1, faces its biggest deficit of the year with four games remaining.

Atlanta will try for a three-game sweep Sunday night, with the winner earning the season-series tiebreaker between the teams. Even though both teams are headed to the postseason, that’s important because the NL East champion gets a first-round bye in the playoffs.

Swanson’s 24th homer, a go-ahead, two-run shot in the fifth inning, touched off a frenzy among the sold-out crowd at Truist Park, the ball sailing a few rows up into the seats in left-center to make it 3-2. Olson hit his 32nd homer in the sixth, a solo shot into Chop House seats in right to put Atlanta up 4-2.

Austin Riley led off the fourth with a double and scored on Olson’s single to make it 1-all.

Kyle Wright (21-5) gave up two runs and seven hits with one walk and three strikeouts in five innings as he won his eighth straight decision. The Braves have won 16 of his last 17 starts.

New York went up 2-1 in the fifth when Pete Alonso, Francisco Lindor and Jeff McNeil hit consecutive two-out singles.

The Mets led 1-0 in the first when Brandon Nimmo singled, advanced on a walk and a single and scored on Eduardo Escobar‘s groundout. Wright, who threw 30 pitches in the first, stranded two runners in scoring position to prevent further damage.

Scherzer (11-5) allowed a first-inning single to Riley and a third-inning infield single to Ronald Acuna Jr., who advanced to third on a fielding error by Lindor at shortstop but was stranded when Michael Harris II lined out to center. Scherzer patted his glove and pumped his fist as he walked off the mound.

Scherzer was charged with nine hits and four runs with no walks and four strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings as the Mets were knocked out of first place for only the third day all season.

The Braves have won five of the last six against New York to tie the season series 9-all, outscoring the Mets 37-16 over that stretch.

Atlanta’s bullpen, which posted a 1.70 ERA in September, got a perfect inning from Dylan Lee in the sixth. Jesse Chavez faced four batters in the seventh, Raisel Iglesias faced the minimum in the eighth and closer Kenley Jansen pitched a perfect ninth for his NL-leading 39th save in 46 chances.

Since the Braves were a season low-tying four games under .500 at 23-27 after play on May 31, they have gone 76-32, tying the Los Angeles Dodgers for the best record in the majors over that span. They were a season-worst 10 1/2 games behind the first-place Mets on June 1.

Wright, the only 20-game winner in baseball this season, hasn’t officially become the first Braves pitcher to lead the league in wins outright since Russ Ortiz had 21 in 2003, but the Dodgers’ Julio Urias has 17 and can’t reach 20 before the regular season ends.

Wright will become the first Braves pitcher since Hall of Famer Tom Glavine in 2000 to lead the majors in wins. Houston ace Justin Verlander also has 17.

Wright began the game 1-4 with a 6.75 ERA in six career starts and one relief appearance against the Mets.

The Braves, who got homers from Riley, Olson and Swanson off deGrom on Friday, lead the NL with 240 homers.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Mets: All-Star RF Starling Marte (right middle finger fracture) has yet to begin swinging or throwing. Manager Buck Showalter said Marte is experiencing less pain but not enough to take the next step in his recovery. Marte has been sidelined since Sept. 7.

Braves: RHP Spencer Strider still has not thrown as he gets treatment on a sore left oblique. Manager Brian Snitker said there is no timetable for the rookie’s return. Strider has been sidelined since Sept. 21.

NICE GLOVE

Harris ran back and jumped to catch Nimmo’s fly against the wall in center field for the first out of the third.

UP NEXT

Mets RHP Chris Bassitt (15-8, 3.27 ERA) will face RHP Charlie Morton (9-6, 4.29) as the teams conclude a three-game series.