And That Happened: Monday’s Scores and Highlights

Associated Press
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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Pirates 18, Cubs 5: Josh Bell was a one-man gang, hitting three homers and knocking in seven runs to power the Buccos’ rout of the Cubbies. Wait, I take that back: the Pirates had 12 extra-base hits and 23 hits in all, so Bell had help. Adam Frazier had four doubles and drove in two. Colin Moran was 5-for-5 with two doubles and drove in two as well. Jung-Ho Kang and José Osuna homered. Normally I’d single out an opposing pitcher responsible for all of that damage, but that seems unfair in this case:

No Cubs pitcher was without sin last night.

Blue Jays 11, Royals 4: It was a happy Canada Day as Freddy Galvis went deep twice, Randal Grichuk was 4-for-5 with four driven in, and Cavan Biggio was 3-for-4 with four driven in. Toronto is now 15-26 all time on Canada Day. Their last win on Canada Day came in 2015 when they beat Boston.

Rays 6, Orioles 3: Three wins in a row for the Rays who got a three-run homer from Kevin Kiermaier that brought them back from a 3-2 deficit in the sixth inning. Two-way Brendan McKay made his debut as a hitter in this one and went 0-for-4. As I noted when he was called up, his arm is way ahead of his bat and, frankly, the Rays are gonna have better options at DH most nights than him so if I’m them I let him stick to pitching. I guess you can mess around a bit when you’re playing Baltimore, though. And it is fun to say “Two-Way McKay,” so I get it.

Brewers 8, Reds 6: Cincinnati led 3-1 heading into the seventh inning when the Brewers rallied for five thanks to a Lorenzo Cain bomb, three run-scoring hits and a sac fly. A Eugenio Suárez two-run blast — his second of the night — brought the Redlegs back to within one but Christian Yelich‘s two-run blast in the ninth — his 30th on the year — gave Milwaukee the breathing room it needed. Yelich is the first Brewer to have 30 or more homers before the All-Star break. He’s on a pace for 57 dingers.

Giants 13, Padres 2: Jeff Samardzija allowed two runs over eight innings and had plenty of support, with Evan Longoria, Kevin Pillar and Austin Slater each going deep for San Francisco.

Angels vs. Rangers — POSTPONED: Tyler Skaggs grew up in Santa Monica and was an Angels fan as a kid. After years of injuries he was finally healthy and pitching well. As we learned with another Angels pitcher, Nick Adenhart, though — who died just a couple of months before the Angels drafted Skaggs in 2009 — everything can change in a moment. Everything can end. We’re not on this Earth long as it is, but even if we get four score and ten it passes fast. Based on what we’re learning about Skaggs’ life on the event of his death, it sounds like maybe he knew that on some level. He sounds like a young man who burned bright, exuded confidence, savored life and who did not let setbacks get him down. It’s sad when anyone goes. It’s sadder still when it’s someone young with such promise.

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

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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.