Sanó, Twins beat Brewers 8-2 to win season-opening series

Stacy Revere/Getty Images
0 Comments

MILWAUKEE – Miguel Sano and Mitch Garver homered to back up Michael Pineda, and the Minnesota Twins beat the Milwaukee Brewers 8-2 Sunday to win the season-opening series.

Luis Arraez went 3 of 3 with a pair of walks as the Twins took two of three. Max Kepler and Sano each drove in three runs.

Twins starter Michael Pineda (1-0) gave up just one unearned run in five innings. The right-hander struck out five, walked two and allowed four hits.

Cody Stashak, Hansel Robles and Jorge Alcala combined for four innings of one-hit relief. The only hit the bullpen allowed came on Jackie Bradley Jr.’s sixth-inning homer off Stashak.

Garver broke a 1-all tie and put the Twins ahead for good when he hit a solo shot to right field off Brewers starter Adrian Houser (0-1) with one out in the fifth.

Pineda got out of a bases-loaded jam in the bottom half of the fifth by striking out Avisail Garcia.

Minnesota broke the game open in the sixth with four runs off reliever Drew Rasmussen. Kepler hit a two-run single and Sano followed with a two-run homer.

The Twins benefited that inning from an error by first baseman Keston Hiura, whose high throw to second on a fielder’s choice pulled shortstop Luis Urias off the bag.

Hiura is a converted second baseman who had never played first base before this season. He switched positions to make room for Kolten Wong, a two-time Gold Glove second baseman who signed with the Brewers in February.

One encouraging sign for the Brewers was the way Houser performed as he attempts to bounce back from a 2020 season in which he went 1-6 with a 5.30 ERA.

Houser struck out four while allowing two runs, four hits and two walks in five innings.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Twins: CF Byron Buxton left in the third inning with an illness unrelated to COVID-19, according to team officials. Buxton, who homered in each of the Twins’ first two games, doubled in his only plate appearance Sunday.

Brewers: Assistant athletic trainer Dave Yeager spent the night in the hospital after appearing to collapse in the bottom of the ninth inning of Saturday’s game while assisting home plate umpire CB Bucknor, who had been hit in the throat area with a foul ball.

Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell said Sunday that Yeager was lightheaded and “extremely dehydrated” after the game but had started feeling better. Counsell was hopeful that Yeager would get released from the hospital sometime Sunday.

UP NEXT

Twins; Start a three-game series at Detroit on Monday. Scheduled starters are Minnesota’s Jose Urena (0-3, 5.40 ERA for Miami last year) and Detroit’s Matt Shoemaker (0-1, 4.71 for Toronto) in a matchup of right-handers.

Brewers: Open a three-game road set with the Chicago Cubs on Monday. LHP Brett Anderson (4-4, 4.21) pitches for the Brewers. The Cubs are expected to start RHP Trevor Williams (2-8, 6.18 with Pittsburgh).

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

atlanta braves
Todd Kirkland/Getty Images
7 Comments

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.