Jed Lowrie hopes cortisone injection eases shoulder pain

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Jed Lowrie is hitting just .213 since coming off the disabled list in early August, including a current 0-for-16 slump, and yesterday the Red Sox infielder got a cortisone injection in an effort to play through season-long shoulder problems.

Lowrie missed six weeks after injuring his shoulder in May and told Jason Mastrodonato of MLB.com that getting the injection was an easy decision:

I wanted to do whatever I could to be out there and to help the team and really just get the shoulder feeling better. And [team doctors] said it would do all that. You play the hand that you’re dealt, but I think the hand I’ve been dealt right now, it’s tough to deal with. It’s tough to hit when your shoulder’s inflamed and all sorts of things are going on at once. I’m going to do whatever I can to make sure I can help this team win, however I can.

Prior to the injury Lowrie was hitting well enough to leapfrog Marco Scutaro on the shortstop depth chart, but at this point in the season he’s little more than a utility man. And at age 27 his lengthy history of health problems have kept Lowrie from emerging as a reliable regular.

Braves clinch NL East title

Ender Inciarte
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So much for a last-minute, nail-biting finish to this division race. The Braves cemented their division title with a dominant 5-3 finish over the Phillies on Saturday, laying claim to the NL East title for the first time since 2013.

The Braves asserted themselves right off the bat after amassing a four-run lead from Johan Camargo and Freddie Freeman, both of whom cleared the bases with two-run singles in the first two innings. Ronald Acuna Jr., meanwhile, found another way to make his presence known after swiping his 15th stolen base of the year and joining Alex Rodriguez, Orlando Cepeda, and Mike Trout as one of the youngest players to collect at least 25 home runs and 15 stolen bags in major league history.

Not to be outdone, Atlanta right-hander Mike Foltynewicz delivered one of the strongest starts of his season to date. The righty set down six innings of no-hit ball against the Phillies, and, with just 62 pitches under his belt, looked ready to go the distance before he lost his bid on Odubel Herrera‘s leadoff single in the seventh.

Unfortunately for the Braves, the Phillies not only upended Foltynewicz’s no-hit attempt, but the shutout as well. In the eighth inning, Cesar Hernandez and Rhys Hoskins wrestled two RBI singles from Atlanta’s bullpen and brought Philadelphia within one run of tying the game. Hoskins was the last Phillies batter to reach base, however, as Jonny Venters and Arodys Vizcaino tossed a combined 1 2/3 scoreless innings (backed by a final RBI hit from Kurt Suzuki in the bottom of the eighth) to cap the Braves’ win — and the NL East title.

With the loss, the Phillies sit seven games back of a wild card spot in the National League. They’ll need to outpace the Diamondbacks, Rockies, and Cardinals in order to make 2018 their first postseason-qualifying year since 2011.