Carpenter hits HR, Francona ejected as Tigers beat Guardians

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
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CLEVELAND – The Cleveland Guardians saw their AL Central lead reduced to one game on Tuesday night.

They also had a beef with the umpires during and after their 4-3 loss to the Detroit Tigers.

Cleveland manager Terry Francona was ejected in the ninth inning for arguing after the umpires ruled Myles Straw struck out with the tying run on third for the second out of the inning.

And catcher Austin Hedges was still steaming several hours later about a call in the first inning that helped Detroit take a 3-0 lead.

Rookie Tyler Freeman led off the ninth with a double and moved to third on Hedges’ sacrifice. Plate umpire Lance Barksdale originally ruled Straw fouled off a 2-2 pitch from Tigers All-Star closer Gregory Soto. The four umpires had a meeting and ruled Straw tipped the ball, but catcher Tucker Barnhart caught it before it hit the ground for strike three. Francona stormed out of the dugout and argued the call with Barksdale.

Francona was quickly ejected and remained on the field to continue the argument as the crowd booed. Straw also was ejected.

Steven Kwan, who was 3 for 3 with a walk, tapped back to Soto to end the game.

“You know, I thought he called foul ball,” Francona said. “And that’s what I was arguing. I can’t imagine they could overturn it from where they were, but I guess what they overturned is that he (Barnhart) caught the ball. I didn’t even see – I thought it was foul ball. I needed to yell at him anyway.”

Barksdale explained the decision to a pool reporter.

“We go on sound because we can’t see the ball down,” he said. “I thought I heard the ball hit the ground, which it did, but the catcher got his glove under it. I didn’t know it at the time. The catcher is telling me he caught the ball. We try to get the plays right. So I checked the ball and got my crew together and to a man no one else had the ball hitting the ground. So we changed it. We try to get the plays right. He foul tipped it and the catcher said he got his glove under it … and we said the ball did not hit the ground.”

A call in the first inning also went against Cleveland and helped Detroit score three runs after a challenge by Tigers manager A.J. Hinch. Detroit rookie Kerry Carpenter homered for the second straight night.

Cleveland starter Zach Plesac (2-11) appeared to have completed a scoreless inning thanks to a play at the plate. Javier Baez was on second with two outs when Harold Castro‘s grounder caromed off second base and rolled into left field. Shortstop Tyler Freeman retrieved the ball and threw to the plate after Baez was waved home.

Hedges tagged the sliding Baez and Barksdale gave the out call. Hinch challenged that Hedges blocked the sliding lane before catching the ball. The call was overturned after a review with the umpiring crew in New York.

“It’s a play that’s been called a few times now recently that really has never been called before,” Hedges said. “For some reason, New York feels like they need to take over the game and change the way the game’s played. Guys are just out. There’s plays at home that are beating the runners and for 150 years you’re out. And now, we’re calling some type of rule that is really tricky to define. To be able to take the game into their own hands that way and to, first of all, that cost one run automatically. And then what ended up (happening). Honestly, it’s a disgrace. It’s embarrassing.”

Francona argued the decision with Barksdale and third base umpire Alan Porter.

“They said the catcher did not give the runner the lane,” Barksdale said to the pool reporter about the umpires in New York. “He blocked the plate from the beginning.”

The Tigers, leading 1-0, took advantage of the overturned call as Plesac couldn’t finish off the inning. Plesac hasn’t won since June 5. The right-hander allowed four runs in 5 1/3 innings.

The Tigers have won two of three against the AL Central leaders, who are one game ahead of Minnesota and the Chicago White Sox.

Garrett Hill (3-3) held Cleveland to one run in five innings.

Joe Jimenez inherited a 4-2 lead in the eighth, but had to work out of trouble to keep Detroit in the lead. Amed Rosario tripled and scored on Jose Ramirez’s bloop hit to center.

Rookie Oscar Gonzalez struck out and All-Star Andres Gimenez fouled out. Josh Naylor, who wasn’t in the lineup after tweaking his ankle Monday, received a loud ovation when he batted for Owen Miller.

Naylor worked the count to 2-2 but grounded out sharply to second baseman Jonathan Schoop, who was playing in shallow right field.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Tigers: LHP Tarik Skubal, out for the season with a sore elbow, has been examined by Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles, and the team is still waiting for results.

UP NEXT

Tigers: LHP Daniel Norris (0-4, 5.97 ERA) pitched 4 2/3 scoreless innings against the White Sox on Aug. 12, his first appearance with Detroit this season after signing a minor-league contract last month.

Guardians: RHP Cal Quantrill (9-5, 3.67 ERA) held Toronto to one hit and struck out seven in seven shutout innings on Aug. 12.

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

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ATLANTA — Dansby Swanson and Matt Olson homered for the third straight game, Travis d'Arnaud hit a go-ahead two-run single in the third inning, and Atlanta Braves beat the New York Mets 5-3, 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 closed 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.

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 15-game winner Chris Bassitt lasted just 2 2/3 innings on Sunday.

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.

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).