Braves stun Cubs in the ninth inning, win 5-3

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The day had not gone well for Atlanta. New first baseman Derrek Lee was 0 for 4 with a couple of strikeouts. Melky Cabrera’s adventures in left field had led to a couple of Cubs runs. The Braves’ bats just weren’t able to do a hell of a lot against Ryan Dempster. Facing Carlos Marmol in the ninth seemed like a mere formality. But then . . .

Martin Prado, Brian McCann and Alex Gonzalez walked. In between, Lee and Melky struck out. Bases loaded, two down, Rick Ankiel up to the plate. The count went to 2-2 . . . Braves down to their last strike and . . . Ankiel triples to right field. 5-3 Braves, which is where things ended after Billy Wagner closed it out. Since they were tempting The Fates by relying on Ankiel to be a hero they should have tried to be really macho and close it out with Farnsworth, but no one ever listens to me.

I’m obviously excited because I’m a big fanboy. But even if you’re not a fanboy you can’t help but marvel at what the Braves are doing this year.  Unless I’m missing one or two, that’s the 3.675th time they’ve come from behind in the ninth this season. They’re living on the edge and it’s been pretty entertaining stuff.

Well, Phillies fans probably aren’t marveling. And today Cubs fans aren’t. But you see what I’m getting at.

Rays’ Díaz gets $24 million, three-year deal, avoids arbitration

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Tampa Bay Rays infielder Yandy Díaz agreed to a $24 million, three-year contract on Tuesday that avoided a salary arbitration hearing.

Díaz’s agreement could be worth $36 million over four seasons.

The 31-year old will receive $6 million this season, $8 million in 2024 and $10 million for 2025. The 2026 club is $12 million with no buyout. There is a $1 million assignment bonus that would be payable by receiving team.

Díaz has spent parts of six seasons in the majors with Cleveland (2017-18) and Tampa Bay (2019-22). He has a career average of .278 with 39 home runs and 198 RBIs.

Acquired by the Rays in a three-team trade on Dec. 13, 2018, Díaz hit .296 with nine homers and 57 RBIs in 137 games last season, He career highs with 71 runs, 140 hits, 33 doubles, and 78 walks.

Díaz was the third Rays’ arbitration-eligible player to reach a deal.

Reliever Pete Fairbanks agreed Friday to a $12 million, three-year contract that could be worth up to $24.6 million over four seasons. The 29-year-old right-hander was 0-0 with a 1.13 ERA in 24 appearances last year after beginning the season on the 60-day injured list with a right lat strain.

Left-hander Jeffrey Springs also agreed last week to a $31 million, four-year contract that could be worth $65.75 million over five seasons.

The 30-year-old began last season in the bullpen and transitioned to the starting rotation in May and finished 9-5 with a 2.46 ERA in 33 appearances, including 25 starts.

Tampa Bay remains scheduled for hearings with right-handers Jason Adam and Ryan Thompson, left-hander Colin Poche, and outfielder Harold Ramírez.