McCutchen has 19th career multi-HR game in Brewers’ 5-3 win

Michael McLoone-USA TODAY Sports
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MILWAUKEE – If Andrew McCutchen gets back to hitting left-handers as effectively as he has for much of his career, it could go a long way toward helping the Milwaukee Brewers to a fifth straight playoff berth.

McCutchen homered twice Thursday and Hunter Renfroe also went deep off left-hander Andrew Heaney in Milwaukee’s 5-3 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-3, splitting the four-game series.

“We got a really good day from our guys that have hit left-handed pitching really well, and that’s Hunter and Cutch,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “Big hits from them with men on base. Cutch had a huge day, a really impactful day.”

McCutchen entered Thursday batting .302 for his career with a .396 on-base percentage and .940 OPS against left-handers. This season’s been a little different: .241 against left-handers and .257 against right-handers.

It isn’t just McCutchen, the Brewers altogether are struggling against lefties. The team entered Thursday ranked 25th out of 30 major-league teams in OPS against left-handers, and their .218 batting average against lefties ranked second-to-last ahead of only Miami.

“It was just good to have a couple of good at-bats,” McCutchen said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s right or left. We’re going to face both of them.”

McCutchen had three RBIs for his 19th career multi-homer game and first since June 1, 2021, when he also hit a pair for the Philadelphia Phillies in a 17-3 blowout of the Cincinnati Reds. His homers on Thursday were a solo shot in the first inning and a two-run blast in the third.

Renfroe, who went 3 for 3, added a two-run homer in the fifth to help the Brewers build a 5-0 lead.

“Stuff happens and you’ve just got to make pitches,” Heaney said. “Just like with anything, it doesn’t really change with how I approach anything. I just need to lock in and need to make a little bit better pitch there.”

Heaney (1-1) struck out 10 but allowed five runs, five hits and one walk in 4 2/3 innings.

Milwaukee’s Corbin Burnes (9-5) held the Dodgers scoreless for five innings before running into trouble in the sixth. The reigning NL Cy Young Award winner ended up striking out six and allowing three runs, six hits and two walks in 5 2/3 innings.

Devin Williams struck out the side in the ninth for his eighth save in as many opportunities.

The Dodgers got back in the game by scoring three runs in the sixth inning.

Brewers center fielder Tyrone Taylor, who reached over the fence to catch a drive from Tampa Bay’s David Peralta on Aug. 9, nearly robbed an opposing player again on a two-out shot from Gavin Lux. The ball was initially in Taylor’s glove but fell out and bounced back into play after he reached his arm over the center-field wall.

“I thought it was a heck of an effort,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “It’s probably one of the better non-catches you’ll ever see.”

Lux’s two-run triple cut Milwaukee’s lead to 5-3 and took Burnes out of the game. Brad Boxberger replaced Burnes and walked Joey Gallo to put runners on the corners before striking out Chris Taylor to end the threat.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Roberts is hopeful that RHP Brusdar Graterol will be available for this weekend’s series with the Miami Marlins. Graterol hasn’t pitched since July 10 due to a shoulder injury but has been on a rehabilitation assignment with Triple-A Oklahoma City.

BREWERS’ MOVE

The Brewers reinstated RHP J.C. Mejia and optioned him to Triple-A Nashville. Mejia has served his 80-game suspension after testing positive for the performance-enhancing substance Stanozolol.

C Jakson Reetz was designated for assignment.

NEXT UP

Dodgers: Return home to face the Marlins. LHP Tyler Anderson (13-2, 2.81) pitches for the Dodgers and LHP Jesus Luzardo (3-5, 3.72) starts for the Marlins on Friday.

Brewers: Head to Chicago to begin a three-game series with the Cubs. Scheduled starters Friday are LHP Aaron Ashby (2-10, 4.24) for the Brewers and RHP Keegan Thompson (9-5, 3.67) for the Cubs.

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.