Trout’s HR streak ends at 7 games; Guardians win 5th in row

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CLEVELAND – Angels star Mike Trout‘s streak of consecutive games hitting a home run ended at seven, one shy of the major league record, and the AL Central-leading Cleveland Guardians beat Los Angeles 3-1 on Tuesday night.

Trout went 0 for 3 with three routine flyballs and a walk. The three-time AL MVP was chasing the mark of eight straight games with a home run, set by Pittsburgh’s Dale Long in 1956 and matched by Don Mattingly of the Yankees in 1987 and Seattle’s Ken Griffey Jr. in 1993.

Trout admitted the streak had been on his mind.

“I’m not going to lie,” he said. “I’ve been thinking about it, for sure. Everybody’s been texting me. You guys are asking me a bunch of questions. It’s kind of hard not to.”

Trout said a home run was especially in his thoughts when he batted against hard-throwing James Karinchak in the eighth that resulted in a fly to right on a 2-1 pitch.

“It’s the nature of things, I guess,” he said. “When I think home run, not good as you saw. I chased some pitches and was amped up too much. Got to start a new streak, I guess.”

Guardians manager Terry Francona wished Trout well before the game, to a certain extent .

“If I was a fan, I’d be glued to my seat in the hopes he would hit eight,” Francona said. “Since I’m glued to my seat there (in the dugout), I hope he doesn’t. But he’s good for the game. He’s actually great for the game.”

Oscar Gonzalez’s two-run homer in the sixth broke a 1-all tie and gave Cleveland its fifth straight win. Jose Ramirez started the inning with a double and Gonzalez lined an 0-2 pitch from Jose Suarez (6-7) off the railing atop the wall in left field.

Gonzalez, one of several rookies who have made a major contribution in Cleveland’s surprising season, has eight home runs. Rookie Kirk McCarty (3-2) held Los Angeles to one hit in 3 2/3 innings for Cleveland, which has won seven of eight.

Emmanuel Clase gave up a two-out single in the ninth, but struck out Matt Duffy and converted his 35th save in 38 chances

Trout faced rookie Cody Morris in his first two at-bats. He flied out to center in the first and drew a four-pitch walk in the third with a runner on second.

Trout batted against McCarty, another rookie, in the fifth and flied out to center on a 3-2 pitch after the first three pitches were balls.

Trout was the first AL player with a seven-game home run streak since Kendrys Morales of Toronto in 2018. Cincinnati’s Joey Votto homered in seven straight last season from July 24-30.

Matt Thaiss hit a leadoff homer in the second off Morris. Luke Maile‘s sacrifice fly tied the game in the fifth.

Angels third baseman Matt Duffy fielded Myles Straw‘s grounder in the fifth, but couldn’t get the ball out of his glove after two attempts and the play went for a hit.

Steven Kwan followed with a slow roller that came to a stop halfway up the third base line for another infield hit. Plate umpire John Tumpane, bending over to get a closer look, gave the fair signal as Thaiss, whose only hope was for the ball to roll foul, looked on.

Angels infielder David Fletcher didn’t start for the third day in a row because of a bruised right hand. Fletcher batted for Andrew Velazquez and bunted for a hit in the fifth. He also bunted for an out in the seventh.

QUICK CHANGE

Umpire Ron Kulpa, who had to leave Monday night’s game with two outs in the ninth after being struck on the mask by a foul tip, wasn’t part of Tuesday’s crew. He was replaced by Alan Porter.

Kulpa ejected both managers in the seventh Monday. Francona asked for a review on whether Andres Gimenez was hit by a pitch. Francona was ejected after Kulpa said he didn’t see him signal for a review and play had already continued.

Francona spoke with league officials Tuesday, but gave few details about the conversation.

“I don’t know if it was meant to be public or not,” he said. “But they reached out to me, and they were very professional and very good. I’ll leave it at that.”

Angels manager Phil Nevin was ejected when Kulpa denied pitcher Ryan Tepera a chance to throw warmup pitches during the umpire’s argument with Francona.

STOPPING IN TOWN

Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred met with Guardians players Wednesday afternoon to discuss the rules changes that will go into effect next season.

“That was a good move on his part,” Francona said. “I don’t know what was said, but I do think anytime they talk, it’s good.”

The changes include implementation of a pitch clock, banning defensive shifts and an increase in the size of bases.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Angels: RHP Shohei Ohtani is on schedule to start Saturday against Seattle. He was removed because of a blister on his right index after five innings in his last start against Houston.

Guardians: RHP Aaron Civale (right forearm inflammation) could rejoin the rotation on Sept. 20. He’s expected to pitch on a rehab assignment late this week.

UP NEXT

LHP Patrick Sandoval (5-9, 2.98 ERA) will start the series finale for the Angels on Wednesday afternoon. RHP Cal Quantrill (12-5, 3.50 ERA) will start for the Guardians. Quantrill is 12-0 in 40 career games at Progressive Field and has gone 32 straight home starts without a loss.

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).