Rowdy Tellez hits pair of 3 HRs, Brewers top Twins 10-4 for sweep

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MILWAUKEE — Rowdy Tellez hit a pair of three-run homers, Corbin Burnes won his fifth straight decision and the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Minnesota Twins 10-4 to sweep a two-game series between Central Division leaders.

Tellez homered off a wild Chris Archer (2-5) for a 3-0 lead in the first and against Jharel Cotton for an 8-3 advantage in a five-run fourth. Tellez has 20 homers, one shy of his career high in 2019 with Toronto, and nine multihomer games, including four this season. His only game with more RBIs was on May 4, when he had eight against Cincinnati.

“Our pitching is obviously our strong suit, but we’ve made some strides,” Tellez said of the team’s recent success at the plate. “The break helped us out and I think we are in a good spot.”

Tellez’s ability to go deep changed the course of the game, Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell said.

“He’s a strong human being,” Counsell said. “Most of the time, all he’s got to do is put a barrel on it and it’s going to go. It was good to see him really take over the game today and probably win that one for us.”

Burnes (8-4) struck out 11 in six innings, reaching double digits for the eighth time this year and 20th in his big league career. The reigning NL Cy Young Award winner gave up three runs and five hits while walking none and retiring 14 of his last 15 batters.

“Those last four innings, finally got some things that clicked. So, it was good,” Burnes said. “But as far as the second inning goes, got to do a better job of throwing up a zero there especially after the offense scores three.”

Milwaukee opened a 3 1/2-game NL Central lead over second-place St. Louis, which played later Wednesday. Minnesota’s AL Central lead was trimmed to two games over second-place Cleveland, which also played later.

Archer tied his career high with six walks. He allowed six runs and three hits in three innings.

“It’s unacceptable and I have to be better,” Archer said. “I didn’t have anything today. I’ve made 17 starts and I’ve had two outings where I didn’t really have it. Today was exploited to the max. I’m going to have another start soon. I can’t wait to get back out there.”

Archer was critical of himself for the pitch that Tellez hit for a towering home run in the first.

“I didn’t see how high it was hit,” he said. “But it was a terrible pitch. He did what he was supposed to do.”

Burnes gave up the early lead in a three-run second that included Jose Miranda‘s ninth homer, back-to-back doubles by Kyle Garlick and Nick Gordon, and Gary Sanchez‘s run-scoring single. The Twins have homered in 11 consecutive games at American Family Field, hitting a total of 21 home runs during the streak.

“There was a point early in the game where we really liked what we were doing against (Burnes),” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “He made a few adjustments. He still threw a bunch of cutters but made some good pitches with his curveball and two-seamer as well. He’s tough.”

Archer walked Milwaukee’s first three batters in the fourth, and Cotton walked Christian Yelich with one out, forcing in the go-ahead run. Willy Adames added a sacrifice fly, and Tellez homered for the lone hit in the inning.

Luis Urias added a two-run homer in the fifth off Yennier Cano.

Garlick homered leading off the seventh against Jake McGee.

ROSTER MOVE

Right-hander Peter Strzelecki was recalled from Triple-A Nashville by the Brewers, who optioned left-hander Ethan Small to make room on the roster.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Twins: LHP Danny Coulombe had season-ending surgery to repair the labrum in his left hip, Baldelli said. Coulombe has been on the injured list since May 28. … OF Max Kepler missed a second consecutive game with a mildly displaced right pinkie toe fracture. A stint on the injured list is possible for Kepler if he doesn’t show signs of improvement by the weekend, Baldelli said. … 1B Miguel Sano, who returned to action Tuesday after missing nearly three months with a torn meniscus in his left knee, wasn’t in the starting lineup but entered as a defensive replacement in the seventh. … RHP Bailey Ober, on the injured list since June 2 with a right groin strain, has begun playing catch. Ober missed 20 games earlier this season with a similar injury.

DEADLINE DISTRACTION

The Twins expect to make a playoff run but are working to avoid any distractions pertaining to the looming trade deadline, Baldelli said.

“You can’t focus on the trade deadline. I understand why it’s a discussion. It’s a big deal,” he said. “You have an opportunity to improve your team. But when we walk in this door, if we are worried about things like the trade deadline then you’re not focusing on what you need to do that day to win the game.”

Archer said he understands the team could make some moves, but is confident in the current roster.

“I like the team we have. We’ve been really successful so far,” he said.

UP NEXT

Twins: RHP Joe Ryan (7-3, 2.89 ERA) starts Friday’s series opener at San Diego in his first career appearance against the Padres.

Brewers: RHP Brandon Woodruff (8-3, 3.73 ERA) starts Friday at Boston, Milwaukee’s first visit to Fenway Park since 2014.

Braves sweep Mets, take 2-game lead in East with 3 remaining

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ATLANTA — Matt Olson knew the Atlanta Braves were too talented to stay in a season-long slump.

That’s why no one panicked when the New York Mets’ division lead swelled to double digits in May. Now the Braves are on the cusp of another NL East title.

“It’s a clubhouse full of guys who want to win,” Olson said. “That’s all it’s been since the moment I walked in. That’s No. 1 on the program.”

Dansby Swanson and Olson homered for the third straight game, Travis d'Arnaud hit a go-ahead two-run single in the third inning, and Braves beat New York 5-3 on Sunday night, completing a three-game sweep of their NL East rival and taking a two-game lead in the division with three games to play.

The defending World Series champion Braves have been chasing the Mets the entire season. In the final series of the season, any combination of one Atlanta win or one Mets loss would give the Braves their fifth straight division title.

New York plays its final three games of the season against worst-in-the-majors Washington. Atlanta closes out the regular season with a three-game set in Miami. Should the season end Wednesday in a tie, Atlanta would win the division after claiming the season series 10-9 with Sunday’s victory.

“We’ve felt this confidence since the beginning of the year,” d’Arnaud said. “It just didn’t go our way early in the year, but pulling on the same rope, having each others’ backs, not trying to do too much. We’re just trying to play the game of baseball and have fun with it.”

The Braves won five of the last six games in the series, outscoring the Mets 42-19 over that stretch. New York had a 10 1/2-game lead on June 1 but now is the lower in the standings than at any point this season.

It was a lost weekend for New York, which came to Atlanta hoping to clinch its first division title since 2015. Instead, aces Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer lost Friday and Saturday before Chris Bassitt lasted just 2 2/3 innings on Sunday.

“We still have three games left in the regular season, we’re still going to the postseason, that doesn’t change, but there’s a lot of learning points that we can take from this series moving forward,” Mets slugger Pete Alonso said. “I thought we played well, but the Braves played better. They played excellent baseball this entire weekend.”

Swanson took Bassitt deep to right-center in the first with his 25th homer, and Atlanta took charge with a three-run third. Bassitt (15-9) issued a bases-loaded walk to Olson before d’Arnaud delivered a single up the middle to score Ronald Acuna Jr. and Austin Riley for a 4-3 lead. That chased Bassitt, who was charged with four runs, three hits and three walks.

Olson connected for his 33rd homer to make it 5-3 leading off the sixth, his 410-foot shot landing in the seats in right-center. Olson, in his first year with Atlanta, surpassed 100 RBIs for the second straight season.

“Everyone knew we were underperforming when we were flirting around that .500 range,” Olson said. “It was one of those things where it was trusting the talent we have and the guys in the clubhouse. Everybody was solid, head down, do your work, it’ll turn around and you wind up winning.”

Charlie Morton stranded runners on first and second in the first, but he gave up Daniel Vogelbach‘s 18th homer that tied it at 1 in the second. The righty struck out Francisco Lindor with runners on first and second to end the threat.

Jeff McNeil went deep off Morton in the third and Vogelbach followed with an RBI single to put the Mets up 3-1. Morton entered the game having allowed 28 homers, sixth-most in the NL.

Morton scuffled throughout his start, giving up three runs and nine hits in 4 1/3 innings as the 38-year-old made his first start since signing a $20 million, one-year contract to remain with Atlanta next season.

Dylan Lee (5-1) relieved Morton and pitched 1 1/3 innings, leaving after a walk to Brandon Nimmo with two outs in the sixth. Collin McHugh entered and struck out Francisco Lindor.

Raisel Iglesias faced four batters in the seventh, A.J. Minter faced the minimum in the eighth and closer Kenley Jansen converted his third save of the series with a clean ninth.

Jansen leads the NL with 40 saves in 47 chances.

The Braves’ bullpen, which posted a 1.70 ERA last month, pitched 8 2/3 scoreless innings the last two nights.

BIG NUMBERS

Atlanta leads the NL with 241 homers. And the Braves have their first 100-victory season since 2003.

TWO, DARN HOT

McNeil went 3 for 5 and has multiple hits in five straight games. His average is .326, one point behind the Dodgers’ Freddie Freeman for the NL batting title. In 23 career games at Truist Park, McNeil is hitting .395 with 12 runs, nine doubles, two homers, seven RBIs and four walks. … Jansen tied Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley for eighth place on the career list with 389. He’s also is the 10th closer to have four different seasons with at least 40 saves.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Mets All-Star RF Starling Marte (right middle finger fracture) has yet to begin swinging or throwing. … Braves 2B Ozzie Albies (broken right pinky finger) is still wearing a cast. … Braves RHP Spencer Strider still has not thrown as he gets treatment on a sore left oblique.

ATTENDANCE

The Braves drew 42,713 in their regular season finale, the club’s 42nd sellout of the season. Overall. that’s 3,129,931 for the season – and the most tickets sold since 2000. In 2019, the team’s last full season before the COVID-19 pandemic, Atlanta drew 2,655,100.

UP NEXT

Mets: RHP Carlos Carrasco (15-7, 3.95 ERA) will face Nationals RHP Cory Abbott (0-4, 5.11).

Braves: RHP Bryce Elder (2-3, 2.76 ERA) will face Marlins LHP Jesus Luzardo (3-7, 3.53).