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Braves, trailing by five runs, score six runs in bottom of the ninth to walk off winners

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The Braves never counted themselves out of Sunday afternoon’s series finale against the Marlins, even as they entered the bottom of the ninth trailing by five runs. They rallied for six runs, all with two outs, to steal a 10-9 victory before heading out on a brief road trip to Philadelphia and Boston.

Marlins closer Brad Zigler struck out Dansby Swanson to start the inning, but then walked Ryan Flaherty and gave up a single to Ozzie Albies, putting runners on first and third. Ronald Acuña lifted a sacrifice fly to score a run, making it a 9-5 game. With Freddie Freeman up, Albies took second base on defensive indifference, then Freeman reached on an infield single and a throwing error, scoring Albies. Freeman advanced to second base on defensive indifference, then Nick Markakis singled, closing the gap to 9-7. That marked the end of the line for Ziegler as Marlins manager Don Mattingly brought in Tayron Guerrero.

The bleeding continued with Guerrero in the game as he walked Tyler Flowers. Kurt Suzuki followed up with a single, plating Markakis and moving Suzuki to second base. With Johan Camargo batting, Guerrero uncorked a wild pitch, then ended up walking Camargo on four pitches to load the bases. Swanson, who started the inning by striking out, singled to left field, bringing home Flowers to tie the game and Suzuki to win it.

As the Braves note on Twitter, Sunday’s comeback was their largest ninth-inning comeback in exactly eight years. Brooks Conrad memorably finished a seven-run rally with a walk-off grand slam against the Reds on May 20, 2010.

The Phillies lost on Sunday, so the Braves extend their lead in the NL East to 1.5 games. This is turning out to be a very interesting division to watch. The fourth-place Nationals are only four games out of first place.

Padres sign Aaron Loup to a one-year deal

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Free agent lefty reliever Aaron Loup has been given a locker in the Padres’ clubhouse, AJ Cassavell of MLB.com reported Sunday. Per MLB Network’s Jon Heyman, Loup received a one-year MLB deal with a club option for 2020. The Padres will shift right-hander Garrett Richards to the 60-day injured list to make room on the 40-man roster.

Loup, 31, began the 2018 season with the Blue Jays and was traded to the Phillies for minor league right-hander Jacob Waguespack at the midseason deadline. The veteran left-hander pitched just two innings in Philadelphia before hitting the injured list with a forearm strain and returned for a handful of appearances at the end of the year, bringing him up to a 4.54 ERA, 3.2 BB/9, 10.0 SO/9, and 0.3 fWAR across 39 2/3 combined innings.

Assuming health issues don’t complicate his next campaign in San Diego, Loup will be added to the bullpen alongside fellow left-handers Matt Strahm and José Castillo (with the possible late addition of southpaw reliever Brad Wieck, who underwent surgery for testicular cancer earlier this year). There are worse places to be — according to FanGraphs, the Padres’ ‘pen jumped from second-worst in 2017 to second-best in the league with a cumulative 3.53 ERA, 3.31 FIP, and 8.7 fWAR in 2018.