Wright wins 20th, Braves beat Phillies to trim NL East deficit

John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sports
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PHILADELPHIA – Kyle Wright became the first 20-game winner in the majors this season and the Atlanta Braves beat the Philadelphia Phillies 6-3 on Saturday to stop a three-game losing streak.

William Contreras and rookie Michael Harris II each homered and had three hits for the Braves (94-58), who moved within 1 1/2 games of the first-place Mets in the NL East. New York lost 10-4 at Oakland.

The Mets and Braves play three games in Atlanta next weekend.

Bryce Harper hit a two-run homer in the sixth inning for Philadelphia (83-68), which began the day a half-game ahead of San Diego for the second NL wild card and 2 1/2 games ahead of Milwaukee for the final spot.

The 26-year-old Wright went 5 1/3 innings and became the first Braves pitcher to win 20 games since Russ Ortiz won 21 in 2003. Wright is the seventh 20-game winner for the Braves since they moved to Atlanta in 1966, also joining Denny Neagle and four Hall of Famers: John Smoltz, Greg Maddux, Phil Niekro and Tom Glavine.

Wright (20-5) ran a high pitch count but didn’t allow a hit until Rhys Hoskins doubled with one out in the sixth. Harper followed with his 18th homer, ending the shutout bid and chasing Wright.

Philadelphia scored an unearned run in the seventh and had the potential tying run at the plate with two outs when A.J. Minter struck out Hoskins on a 3-2 fastball. Kenley Jansen earned his 37th save with a clean ninth inning.

Atlanta generated its offense early, taking advantage of Bailey Falter’s inability to keep the ball out of the middle of the plate. The Braves got six runs and 10 hits in 3 2/3 innings against Falter (5-4), handing the left-hander his first loss since July 24.

Contreras hit his 20th homer in the third. Harris added a two-run drive, his 19th, in the fourth. Vaughn Grissom and Travis d'Arnaud both had two hits for Atlanta.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Braves: Rookie RHP Spencer Strider (strained left oblique) was placed on the 15-day injured list, retroactive to Sept. 21, and will miss the rest of the regular season. His status for the playoffs is uncertain. … OF Ronald Acuna Jr. (back) sat out for a third straight day. He is day-to-day.

Phillies: OF Nick Castellanos (right oblique strain) will not go out on a minor league rehab assignment and will likely be activated off the IL next week when the Phillies begin a nine-game road trip in Chicago. Castellanos was added to the injured list Sept. 4.

UP NEXT

The regular-season finale between the NL East rivals is Sunday, with Atlanta sending RHP Charlie Morton (9-6, 4.09 ERA) to the mound against RHP Kyle Gibson (10-7, 4.71).

Cubs, RHP Taillon reportedly agree to 4-year contract

jameson taillon
Troy Taormina/USA TODAY Sports
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SAN DIEGO — The Chicago Cubs have added Jameson Taillon to their rotation, agreeing to a four-year contract with the right-hander that is worth roughly $68 million.

A person familiar with the negotiations confirmed the deal to The Associated Press on Wednesday on condition of anonymity because it was pending a physical.

The Cubs haven’t formally announced the move, but President of Baseball Operations Jed Hoyer said the team has been looking at Taillon for a long time.

“I think he’s a really good starting pitcher,” Hoyer said at baseball’s winter meetings in San Diego. “He’s been really consistent. I think he’s continued to get better as he’s gotten healthier in his career. I think he’s showed the promise he had.”

The 31-year-old Taillon is coming off a solid season with the New York Yankees, going 14-5 with a 3.91 ERA. He matched his career high with 32 starts and worked 177 1/3 innings, his best total since he logged 191 innings in 2018.

The move puts Taillon back in the NL Central after he began his career with Pittsburgh. Taillon made his major league debut in 2016 and went 29-24 with a 3.67 ERA in 82 starts in his first four seasons with the Pirates.

Taillon missed the 2020 season after he had Tommy John surgery on his right elbow for a second time. He was traded to the Yankees in January 2021 for four prospects.

“Since he’s been healthy, beginning with the Yankees, I think he’s pitched really well,” Hoyer said. “Yeah, I think there’s still more in the tank. But obviously we’re excited to get him. He’s a guy we targeted at the beginning of the offseason.”

Taillon, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2010 amateur draft, moves into a rotation that also includes Marcus Stroman, who finalized a $71 million, three-year contract last December. Kyle Hendricks is hoping to return to form after he missed the last part of the season with shoulder trouble.

Chicago went 74-88 this year and finished third in the NL Central. But it went 40-31 in its last 71 games. The rotation had a 2.89 ERA after the All-Star break, third in the majors behind the Astros (2.70) and Dodgers (2.73).

The Cubs also got Cody Bellinger on Tuesday, agreeing to a $17.5 million, one-year contract with the 2019 NL MVP. Bellinger figures to play center field, but he also could get some work at first base.

The team could add another starting pitcher, and it is monitoring the shortstop market.

“Really glad with the two guys that we are able to potentially come to an agreement with while we’re here,” Hoyer said. “And obviously a lot of offseason left.”