Sports Braves ride big 5th inning to win, extend NL East lead
Nelson Cruz oldest to hit 30 HRs, Rays beat Red Sox 12-7
BOSTON (AP) — Nelson Cruz homered twice and, at 41 years old, became the oldest player in major league history to hit 30 home runs in a season, powering the Tampa Bay Rays past the Boston Red Sox 12-7 Wednesday night. Mike Zunino also homered twice and Jordan Luplow connected for the team with the best record in the American League and the highest-scoring club in the majors. Rays rookie Wander Franco went 0 for 4 with a walk, extending his on-base streak to 37 games and passing Mickey Mantle (1951-52) for the longest by an AL player under 21 years old. The 20-year-old Franco now trails only Frank Robinson, who reached in 43 straight in 1956.
PHOENIX (AP) — Austin Riley had three doubles and three RBIs, Adam Duvall added a two-run homer and the Atlanta Braves extended their lead in the NL East by beating the Arizona Diamondbacks 11-4 on Monday night.
The Braves pushed their advantage to three games over the Philadelphia Phillies, who lost 2-0 to Baltimore.
The two worst teams in the majors this season are currently having a big effect on the NL East race. The Orioles and Diamondbacks have both lost 102 games.
The Diamondbacks led 3-2 heading to the fifth but the Braves responded with a huge inning, scoring seven runs while sending 12 batters to the plate.
Albies, Freeman go deep in 7th, Braves win series over Miami
ATLANTA (AP) — Ozzie Albies and Freddie Freeman each hit a solo homer off Anthony Bass in the seventh inning, Eddie Rosario went deep off Edward Cabrera in the fourth, and the Atlanta Braves beat the Miami Marlins 5-3 on Sunday. The division-leading Braves, going for their fourth consecutive title, padded their lead to 4 1/2 games over Philadelphia. Miami, far back in the division standings and playing the role of spoiler, had won two consecutive series against the Phillies and New York Mets before coming up short against Atlanta. Rosario went deep for the 10th time to give the Braves a 2-1 lead. Cabrera left the game with right big toe soreness after Rosario homered.
Jorge Soler and Freddie Freeman started the rally with back-to-back doubles, Riley added his third double of the night and Duvall crushed a 483-foot homer to left-center, which was his 37th long ball of the season and 150th of his career. The Braves also took advantage of two Arizona errors.
Atlanta finished with seven doubles.
Riley continued a breakout season, pushing his batting average above .300 with three hits. The 24-year-old third baseman has been a mainstay in the middle of Atlanta's order, contributing 30 doubles and 29 homers.
Duvall has also added plenty of punch since coming to the Braves in a midseason trade with the Marlins. His 37 homers are a career high, and 15 of them have come with Atlanta in just 163 at-bats.
Defending champion Dodgers beat D-backs, clinch playoff spot
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Los Angeles Dodgers clinched a postseason berth, getting home runs by Max Muncy, Trea Turner and Will Smith to beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 8-4 on Tuesday night for their fifth win in a row. Their eighth straight victory at home, combined with losses by Cincinnati and San Diego, secured the Dodgers’ ninth consecutive playoff appearance in pursuit of a second straight World Series championship. LA’s home record of 51-23 leads the majors. Tony Gonsolin (3-1) scattered two hits over five scoreless innings, struck out six and walked two. Luke Weaver (3-5) needed 72 pitches to get through three innings.
Huascar Ynoa started on the mound for the Braves, giving up three runs over four innings. Jacob Webb (5-3) pitched a scoreless inning of relief. Eddie Rosario added a solo homer.
Humberto Mejia (0-2) took the loss, giving up six runs over four innings. Ketel Marte had three doubles and an RBI. Jake McCarthy hit his first big league homer in the seventh.
The Diamondbacks continued a miserable season that is among the worst in franchise history. The team's single-season record for losses is 111 set in 2004. Arizona must win at least four of its final 12 games to avoid tying or breaking that mark.
PITCHER IN A PINCH
The Braves used pitcher Max Fried as a pinch hitter in the fifth inning. He coaxed a seven-pitch walk from Taylor Widener.
Fried has been an excellent hitter this season, particularly for a pitcher, batting .306 with three doubles in 49 at-bats. It was his fourth appearance as a pinch hitter in 2021.
The Diamondbacks called up Mejía from Triple-A Reno so he could start. To make room on the roster, they optioned RHP Brandyn Sittinger to Reno following Sunday's game.
The Diamondbacks will sent RHP Luke Weaver (3-5, 4.42 ERA) to the mound Tuesday. Atlanta hadn't announced a starter yet.
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David Brandt, The Associated Press
Braves to face Phils after wild 9th in beating Padres 4-3 .
SAN DIEGO (AP) — Will Smith struck out the side around three walks in the ninth inning to finish the Atlanta Braves' 4-3 win over the San Diego Padres on Sunday that opened a 2 1/2-game lead over Philadelphia heading into their NL East showdown. Pinch-hitter Orlando Arcia hit a go-ahead double in the sixth off Pierce Johnson (3-4). Joc Pederson homered and scored twice for Atlanta, which has led the division since Aug. 15. The Braves won despite walking seven Padres. Atlanta has won seven of nine and hosts the Phillies in a three-game series starting Tuesday.