Salvador Perez’s HR off Holmes in 9th leads Royals over Yanks 8-6

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NEW YORK — Salvador Perez hit a three-run homer off All-Star closer Clay Holmes in the ninth inning, and the Kansas City Royals beat the New York Yankees 8-6 to avoid being swept in the season series.

New York overcame a 4-0 deficit and took a 6-4 lead when Anthony Rizzo hit a three-run homer into the right field second deck in the seventh off Dylan Coleman, Rizzo’s 25th home run this season.

Hunter Dozier homered against Ron Marinaccio leading off the eighth, ending Marinaccio’s 19-inning scoreless streak and run of 56 consecutive batters without allowing a hit.

Holmes (5-2) blew a save for the third time in 20 chances.

Whit Merrifield walked with one out – Holmes’ eighth walk in his last eight games and five in his first 35.

Bobby Witt Jr. was hit on a hand with a pitch, forcing him from the game.

Perez, who struck out twice and popped out to the catcher in his first three at-bats, drove a 1-2 sinker 441 feet into Monument Park behind the center-field wall. It was the first home run allowed this year by Holmes, who was facing his 181st batter.

Taylor Clarke (2-1) threw a perfect eighth, then gave up DJ LeMahieu‘s single with one out in the ninth. Aaron Judge flied out, Rizzo walked and Gleyber Torres hit a game-ending lineout to center.

Kansas City went 1-6 against the AL leading-Yankees, who last swept a season series of seven games are more by going 7-0 against Minnesotain 2009.

Judge went 0 for 3 with two walks and ended July with a major league-leading 42 homers and 91 RBIs.

Royals starter Zack Greinke allowed three runs, five hits and two walks with three strikeouts over five innings.

Yankees starter Jordan Montgomery gave up four runs, four hits and two walks with six strikeouts in four-plus innings.

Kansas City took a 4-0 lead in the fifth on Nick Pratto‘s two-run single, Maikel Garcia’s RBI double and Merrifield’s run-scoring groundout.

Kyle Higashioka had an RBI single in the botttom half, and LeMahieu hit a two-run homer into the right-field short porch.

MARINACCIO STREAK

His streak of consecutive batters without a hit was the second-longest since 1974, according to STATS, behind Dennis Eckersley’s 71 for Cleveland in 1977 and Dwight Gooden’s 57 for the Yankees in 1996.

JUDGE

Judge’s batting average dipped from .300 to .297. No one has batted at least .300 while hitting at least 50 homers and exceeding 100 RBIs since Alex Rodriguez hit .314 with 54 homers and 156 RBIs for the Yankees in 2007.

ZACK’S BIG APPLE DROUGHT

Rizzo’s home run cost Greinke a chance to earn his win at the Yankees. He is 0-3 with an 8.63 ERA in eight games in the Bronx, including old Yankee Stadium.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Yankees: RHP Luis Severino (right lat) is expected to begin throwing Monday. . OF/DH Giancarlo Stanton (left Achilles) will begin baseball activities this week. . LHP Zack Britton (left elbow) is scheduled to face batters this week for the first time since he Tommy John surgery last September.

UP NEXT

Royals: RHP Brad Keller (5-11, 4.18), who leads the AL in losses, is slated to open a three-game series against the visiting Chicago White Sox.

Yankees: RHP Domingo Germa (0-1, 8.22 ERA) will make his third start of the season as a homestand continues with the opener of three-game set against Seattle.

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).