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Braves start second half with win over Diamondbacks

By Charles Odum

AP Sports Writer

ATLANTA (AP) — Freddie Freeman and the Atlanta Braves topped baseball’s comeback kings at their own game, scoring two runs in the eighth inning to beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 4-3 on Friday night.

The Diamondbacks lead the majors with 29 comeback wins and were in position for No. 30 when Chris Owings scored the tiebreaking run on a wild pitch in the eighth.

The Braves answered quickly against Archie Bradley (3-2). Ender Inciarte beat second baseman Brandon Drury’s throw to first for an infield single and raced to third on Brandon Phillips’ double into the right-field corner.

Freeman’s single to left easily scored Inciarte. Phillips tripped when rounding third base but then scored when the throw from the outfield went to second base. Freeman was credited with one RBI. There was no error on the play.

Freeman hit his 17th homer and drove in two runs. Arizona’s Paul Goldschmidt hit his 21st homer.

Rex Brothers (1-0) recorded the last out in the eighth. Jim Johnson pitched the ninth for his 20th save in 27 chances. He had defensive help when Inciarte caught up to A.J. Pollock’s drive at the center-field wall to start the inning.

Owings led off the eighth with a single against Jose Ramirez. Owings stole second and moved to third when Tyler Flowers’ throw skipped into center field for an error. With pinch-hitter Ketel Marte at the plate, Owings scored on a wild pitch from Ramirez.

The Diamondbacks have lost nine of 12. Taijuan Walker allowed two runs in six innings.

The Braves scored a run off Walker in the first when Inciarte led off with a double to left field and scored on a two-out single by Matt Kemp.

The Diamondbacks tied it with four straight singles off R.A. Dickey in the sixth. Daniel Descalso’s grounder up the middle drove in Owings.

With one out and the bases loaded, Walker, who had thrown 85 pitches, was left in the game. He hit into an inning-ending double play.

Dickey allowed a run over six innings.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Diamondbacks: RHP J.J. Hoover (right shoulder inflammation) allowed one run and two hits with two strikeouts in one inning for Class A Kane County on Thursday.

Braves: RHP Jason Motte was placed on the 10-day DL with a back strain. He suffered the injury warming up in Sunday’s game at Washington. … OF Danny Santana (bacterial infection) has been cleared by doctors and could be activated on Monday after playing with Triple-A Gwinnett this weekend.

RED SOX 5, YANKEES 4

BOSTON (AP) — Aroldis Chapman walked in the winning run without recording an out in the ninth inning, handing the Boston Red Sox a 5-4 win over the New York Yankees on Friday night.

The Yankees hard-throwing closer gave up two runs in the ninth for his third blown save. New York entered tied for the major league lead with 17 blown saves.

Mookie Betts and Dustin Pedroia started the rally with consecutive singles and a successful double steal. Betts scored when second baseman Ronald Torreyes booted Xander Bogaerts’ groundball.

NATIONALS 5, REDS 0

CINCINNATI (AP) — Gio Gonzalez was tired after throwing eight shutout innings on a hot and muggy evening. His manager wanted him to face one more batter, and the left-hander took it as a compliment.

Gonzalez pitched four-hit ball into the ninth inning, retired Joey Votto to open the inning on his 113th pitch, and let the bullpen finish off the Washington Nationals’ 5-0 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Friday night.

METS 14, ROCKIES 2

NEW YORK (AP) — Jacob deGrom came out dealing once again, striking out 11 and winning his sixth straight start as the New York Mets began what could be a last-chance homestand by routing the Colorado Rockies 14-2 Friday night.

Michael Conforto and T.J. Rivera homered, Yoenis Cespedes got four hits and deGrom contributed two singles for the Mets, who trail Colorado by 9 1/2 games for the second NL wild card.

RANGERS 5, ROYALS 3

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Adrian Beltre hit a three-run homer, pinch-hitter Mike Napoli had a go-ahead two-run shot and the Texas Rangers rallied to beat the Kansas City Royals 5-3 on Friday night.

Martin Perez (5-6) allowed eight hits and a walk over seven innings, but kept all that traffic to just three runs. Two of those came in the second, when Alcides Escobar homered to left.

MARINERS 4, CHISOX 2

CHICAGO (AP) — Robinson Cano hit a three-run drive on his first swing since connecting for the winning homer in the All-Star Game, helping James Paxton and the Seattle Mariners beat the Chicago White Sox 4-2 on Friday night.

Jean Segura added two hits and scored twice as Seattle started a six-game trip with its third win in four games. Paxton (8-3) struck out nine while pitching six effective innings in his third straight victory.

JAYS 7, TIGERS 2

DETROIT (AP) — Aaron Sanchez pitched six strong innings for his first win of the season as the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Detroit Tigers 7-2 on Friday night.

Steve Pearce and Jose Bautista homered for the Blue Jays, who won the first game of a 10-day, 10-game road trip.

Sanchez (1-2) allowed one unearned run, seven hits and two walks to win for the first time since beating the Boston Red Sox on Oct. 2. He struck out four.

CUBS 9, ORIOLES 8

BALTIMORE (AP) — Addison Russell hit a go-ahead solo home run in the ninth inning and the Chicago Cubs beat the Baltimore Orioles 9-8 after squandering an eight-run lead on Friday night.

Mark Trumbo tied the game 8-8 with a two-run homer off Koji Uehara (3-4) in the eighth. Russell responded when he hit a first-pitch, 96 mph fastball off Brad Brach (2-2) over the left field fence.

Wade Davis picked up his 17th save for Chicago.

PIRATES 5, CARDS 2

PITTSBURGH (AP) — With the winning run on second base as he stepped into the batter’s box in the bottom of the ninth, Pittsburgh Pirates first baseman Josh Bell could feel his heart racing.

The rookie tried to get his breathing under control but couldn’t. Adrenaline won out. The Pirates, too.

Bell sent a 1-2 pitch from St. Louis Cardinals closer Seung Hwan into the seats in left field to give Pittsburgh a dramatic 5-2 victory Friday night. Bell’s 17th home run of the season was also his first walk-off hit in the majors, a show of power that gave the Pirates their sixth win in seven games.

as they try to climb into the thick of the underwhelming race in the NL Central.

“It was cool,” Bell said. “The lights go off and come back on, you’re rounding third and you see all your teammates at home. I haven’t had that feeling since Double-A, and the stadium here is a little louder than that.”

Adam Frazier led off the inning with a double and Oh intentionally walked Andrew McCutchen with one out. Bell missed badly at the first offering from Oh (1-5) and then took a ball and a called strike before putting the ball into the seats over the outstretched arm of Cardinals left fielder Tommy Pham.

“It was too high. It was a missed pitch,” Oh said.

Bell finished 2 for 3 with four RBIs. Frazier added three hits for Pittsburgh, and Gregory Polanco had two hits and an RBI.

Felipe Rivero (4-2) retired the Cardinals on seven pitches in the top of the ninth.

“That game was a bit of a roller coaster,” Bell said. “Setting the standard the first game of this series and the first game of this homestand was big.”

Jedd Gyorko hit a two-run homer in the first inning for the Cardinals, but St. Louis was limited to just four hits the rest of the way against Gerrit Cole and three relievers.

“I thought we did a good job of staying in the ballgame, playing tough and Josh coming up big after putting Andrew on,” Cole said.

Both teams sent their de facto aces out to start the second half of the season in search of some early traction as they try to chase down first-place Milwaukee the wide-open NL Central.

Cole put together a wildly inconsistent first half that mirrored the fortunes of his scuffling team. He came in allowing one run three times in his last seven starts, the same number of times he’s allowed seven runs over the same span.

It looked as though it could be another bumpy outing in the first when Gyorko sent a 3-2 slider into the seats in right-center field to give the Cardinals an early 2-0 lead. Cole settled down immediately, allowing just two more baserunners over six innings of work, striking out four without issuing a walk.

Mike Leake wasn’t quite as crisp. He retired the Pirates in order just once in five innings, allowing an RBI single to Bell in the fourth and another to Polanco in the fifth that tied the game, capping a two-out rally created by a rare bout of wildness from Leake, who walked the bases full. He struck out Francisco Cervelli to keep the game even.

Leake left after five, giving up two runs on seven hits with three strikeouts and five walks, his highest total since May 22, 2015, while pitching for Cincinnati. Leake hinted plate umpire Jerry Layne’s strike zone was part of the problem.

“It wasn’t consistent,” Leake said. “If you have a consistent zone, it’s all right.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Cardinals: Placed OF Randal Grichuk (lower back strain) on the 10-day disabled list and recalled OF Jose Martinez from Triple-A Memphis. Martinez hit .280 with five home runs and 17 RBIs in 50 games with St. Louis this season. … St. Louis also activated reliever Kevin Siegrist (cervical spine sprain) off the disabled list. … RF Stephen Piscotty left in the bottom of the ninth after straining his right groin while making a throw from the outfield. He was replaced by Martinez.

UP NEXT

Cardinals: RHP Lance Lynn (7-6, 3.61 ERA) is coming off seven shutout innings in a victory over the New York Mets last weekend. Lynn is 6-6 with a 4.76 ERA against the Pirates.

Pirates: RHP Jameson Taillon (5-2, 2.73) will make his third career start against the Cardinals on Saturday. Taillon is 3-1 with a 1.98 ERA since returning from treatment for testicular cancer. He was scratched from his scheduled start last Sunday against the Cubs after getting food poisoning.

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Willson Contreras and Kyle Schwarber hit back-to-back homers in a four-run first inning for Chicago. Ben Zobrist also homered onto the flag court behind the right field scoreboard and Jason Heyward reached Eutaw Street with another towering shot.

Chicago improved to 3-6 in interleague play after going 15-5 against the AL last season.

Welington Castillo’s ninth home run was a solo shot in the third for Baltimore, which left 10 runners on base.

Contreras provided a 3-0 lead with a homer into the Cubs’ bullpen. Schwarber hammered Kevin Gausman’s next pitch to almost the exact spot.

Zobrist and Heyward hit two-run homers in the second and third, respectively, to boost the margin to 8-0. Gausman tied a career-high by allowing eight runs and seven hits over three innings. He also gave up four home runs — the most of his career.

Mark Trumbo, Trey Mancini and Joey Rickard had RBI singles in the fifth off reliever Justin Grimm to cut the lead to 8-6.

MOVES

Cubs: To make room for LHP Jose Quintana, who was acquired from the White Sox on Thursday, RHP Dylan Floro was optioned to Triple-A Iowa.

Orioles: OF Craig Gentry cleared waivers and was assigned to Triple-A Norfolk.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Orioles: 1B Chris Davis (strained right oblique) returned from the 10-day DL and went 1 for 5 with an RBI double in the fourth. . INF Ryan Flaherty (right shoulder inflammation) could begin a rehab assignment by the end of next week.

UP NEXT

Cubs: RHP Jake Arrieta (8-7, 4.35 ERA) will make his second career start against his former team. He previously beat the Orioles on Aug. 22, 2014, when he allowed one run over seven innings.

Orioles: LHP Wade Miley (4-7, 4.97 ERA) is looking to build off his previous start when he gave up one run and eight hits over 5 2/3 innings against the Twins. Miley is second in the AL with 51 walks.

The Tigers had runners at second and third in the second inning and at the corners in the third, but Sanchez was able to escape both times without damage.

Pearce broke the scoreless tie in the fifth, hitting Verlander’s 2-0 fastball over the Tigers’ bullpen in left. Kevin Pillar followed with a line drive down the right-field line that J.D. Martinez dropped for a two-base error.

Pillar took third on Darwin Barney’s groundout and scored on Jose Bautista’s sacrifice fly.

The Tigers put runners on the corners with no outs in the bottom of the inning, and Alex Avila lined sharply to third base. Josh Donaldson threw to first, trying to double off Alex Presley, but the throw got away from Justin Smoak, allowing Jose Iglesias to make it 2-1.

Verlander left with two on and one out in the sixth, with Shane Greene coming out of the bullpen. Pearce’s infield single loaded the bases with two outs, and Pillar fouled off three two-strike pitches before walking to give the Blue Jays a 3-1 lead.

Bautista led off the seventh with a homer off Warwick Saupold to make it 4-1.

Blaine Hardy walked three batters in the eighth, including Russell Martin with the bases loaded, giving Toronto a four-run lead. Josh Donaldson followed with a two-run single to put the Blue Jays ahead 7-1.

Andrew Romine homered for the Tigers in the ninth.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Blue Jays: RHP Joe Smith (shoulder) was scheduled to pitch a final rehab game for Triple-A Buffalo. Barring a setback, he will rejoin the Blue Jays in Detroit this weekend.

Tigers: 2B Ian Kinsler missed the game with flu-like symptoms. Romine replaced him in the field, with Presley taking over as the leadoff hitter. Kinsler’s status for Saturday is unknown.

UGLY OUTFIELD

A large part of the outfield grass, stretching from one outfield gap to the other, was dead or dying after a Metallica concert earlier this week. The area will have new sod put down next week while the Tigers are on a road trip.

UP NEXT

Jays: LHP Francisco Liriano (5-4, 5.56 ERA) will start Saturday in the second game of the weekend series. The 33-year-old is 6-10 with a 5.26 ERA in 27 career appearances against the Tigers, including 20 starts.

Tigers: RHP Michael Fulmer (9-6, 3.19 ERA) will pitch for the first time since representing the Tigers in his first All-Star Game. Fulmer threw six shutout innings against Toronto in his only appearance against them on June 6, 2016.

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