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Osuna gets win in return from suspension, Astros top Giants

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) Roberto Osuna needed five pitches for a clean inning and a nice on-field impression on his new teammates.

Osuna earned the win in his first appearance with Houston after Marwin Gonzalez hit a three-run homer with two outs in the ninth inning, lifting the Astros over the San Francisco Giants 3-1 on Monday night.

Osuna (1-0) hadn’t pitch in the majors since May 6 while serving a 75-game suspension for violating MLB’s domestic violence policy. The former Blue Jays closer was arrested and charged with assaulting his girlfriend May 8 in Toronto. Few details have been made public, and the next court date in the case is scheduled for Sept. 5.

“Especially like being in such a great team with great teammates, it’s easy to forget about the stuff that’s going on off the field, and being able to play and help the team win is unbelievable,” Osuna said. “I really like my teammates. They’ve been treating me with a lot of respect, and I’m really comfortable.”

Osuna was acquired from Toronto last Monday in a deal that sent back closer Ken Giles, and he became eligible to pitch Sunday . A few fans booed when he entered the game in the eighth inning, and Osuna calmly retired the side in order.

“It was a quick look obviously with five pitches,” manager A.J. Hinch said. “He’s got a good arm. First game back is always important, it’s the next step for him to get incorporated into our games, coming away with the win. A good first impression on the field.”

Hector Rondon closed out the 2-hour, 26-minute game with his 12th save in 15 chances.

San Francisco closer Will Smith (1-2) blew his second save in nine opportunities after issuing walks to Alex Bregman and Yuli Gurriel. Gonzalez followed with a towering drive to left for his 10th homer.

Brandon Crawford hit a solo homer in the sixth inning, but San Francisco failed to do enough to back rookie Dereck Rodriguez‘s latest gem.

The two starters had a nice duel but nothing to show for it.

Rodriguez struck out seven with no walks and allowed three hits in seven innings. Charlie Morton, a 12-game winner, struck out eight over seven innings with three walks and three hits as Houston dropped a second straight one-run game after a four-game winning streak. He suffered his first defeat in five starts since a loss at Tampa Bay on July 1.

The Giants lost for just the third time on days Rodriguez starts – and this marked just his 11th in the big leagues. The son of Hall of Famer Ivan Rodriguez has quickly emerged as one of the top rookies in the National League.

Rodriguez has allowed three or fewer runs in 10 of his starts.

“I take it in after every start. I enjoy it, I think about it a lot of the time but when I’m out there it’s just me, Buster (Posey) and the hitter, whoever’s hitting, so I think that’s what’s helped me get to the point where I’m at, my concentration when I’m in the game,” Rodriguez said. “It’s awesome being in the situation I’m in.”

Cole Hamels done for year after just 1 start for Braves

Cole Hamels triceps injury
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ATLANTA — After making just one start for the Atlanta Braves, Cole Hamels is done for the season.

Hamels reported shortly before the start of a four-game series against the Miami Marlins that he didn’t feel like he could get anything on the ball. The left-hander was scheduled to make his second start Tuesday after struggling throughout the year to overcome shoulder and triceps issues.

The Braves placed Hamels on the 10-day injured list, retroactive to Sept. 18,, but that was a mere formality. General manager Alex Anthopoulos already contacted Major League Baseball about replacing Hamels in the team’s postseason player pool.

“Cole knows himself and his body,” Anthopoulos said. “You trust the player at that point when he says he can’t go.”

The Braves began Monday with a three-game lead in the NL East .and primed for their third straight division title.

Even with that success, Atlanta has struggled throughout the shortened 60-game series to put together a consistent rotation beyond Cy Young contender Max Fried and rookie Ian Anderson.

Expected ace Mike Soroka went down with a season-ending injury, former All-Star Mike Foltynewicz was demoted after just one start, and Sean Newcomb also was sent to the alternate training site after getting hammered in his four starts.

The Braves have used 12 starters this season.

Anthopoulos had hoped to land another top starter at the trade deadline but the only deal he was able to make was acquiring journeyman Tommy Milone from the Orioles. He’s on the injured list after getting hammered in three starts for the Braves, giving up 22 hits and 16 runs in just 9 2/3 innings.

“There’s no doubt that our starting pitching has not performed to the level we wanted it to or expected it to,” Anthopoulos said. “I know that each year you never have all parts of your club firing. That’s why depth is so important.”

Hamels, who signed an $18 million, one-year contract last December, reported for spring training with a sore shoulder stemming from an offseason workout.

When camps were shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic, Hamels was able to take a more cautious approach to his rehabilitation. But a triceps issue sidelined again before the delayed start of the season in July.

The Braves hoped Hamels would return in time to provide a boost for the playoffs. He also was scheduled to start the final game of the regular season Sunday, putting him in position to join the postseason rotation behind Fried and Anderson.

Now, Hamels is done for the year, his Braves’ career possibly ending after he made that one appearance last week in Baltimore. He went 3 1/3 innings, giving up three runs on three hits, with two strikeouts and one walk in a loss to the Orioles.

Hamels reported no problems immediately after his start, but he didn’t feel right after a bullpen session a couple of days ago.

“You’re not going to try to talk the player into it,” Anthopoulos said. “When he says he isn’t right, that’s all we need to hear.”

Atlanta recalled right-hander Bryse Wilson to replace Hamels on the 28-man roster. The Braves did not immediately name a starter for Tuesday’s game.

With Hamels out, the Braves will apparently go with Fried (7-0, 1.96), Anderson (3-1, 2.36) and Kyle Wright (2-4, 5.74) as their top three postseason starters.

Hamels is a four-time All-Star with a career record of 163-122. He starred on Philadelphia’s World Series-winning team in 2008 and also pitched for Texas and the Chicago Cubs.

Last season, Hamels went 7-7 with a 3.81 ERA in 27 starts for the Cubs.