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Braves lose again to Reds, have dropped 5 of their past 7 games

MLB roundup

Cincinnati Reds second baseman Jose Peraza (9) celebrates with Scooter Gennett, right, in the dugout after hitting a solo-home run in the third inning of a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves Wednesday, June 27, 2018, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

ATLANTA (AP) — The Atlanta Braves aren’t exactly reeling.

They’ve held first place in the NL East since May 31 and still lead the league in runs scored.

Over the past seven games, however, manager Brian Snitker has watched his team lose five times in the first lull of the season.

“This is really the first grind-type thing team-wise that we’ve been through,” he said. “You’re going to go through it. Everybody goes through it. We’re not going to be immune to it.”

Adam Duvall had a two-run single in the seventh inning, Jose Peraza homered and scored twice, and the Cincinnati Reds beat the Braves 6-5 on Wednesday.

The Reds have won two straight, nine of 10 and 12 of 15 after taking two of three at SunTrust Park. Closer Raisel Iglesias had a perfect ninth to earn his 15th save in 17 chances, giving Cincinnati its best 10-game stretch since June 19-29, 2012.

“We definitely don’t ever think we’re out of a game,” said Reds second baseman Scooter Gennett, the NL’s leading hitter with a .336 average. “At any moment we can tack on a few runs, take the lead and our bullpen’s been doing a great job of keeping it.”

Cincinnati took advantage of another shaky outing by reliever Sam Freeman (2-4), scoring three runs in the seventh inning for a 6-5 lead on Gennett’s RBI single and Duvall’s single.

Freeman allowed two hits, three runs in two-thirds of an inning and dropped to 1-3 with an 8.16 ERA in his past 15 appearances. Atlanta’s bullpen blew three leads on the homestand and posted a 5.46 ERA in 29 2/3 innings as the Braves missed an opportunity against Baltimore, the AL’s worst team, and Cincinnati, the NL’s third-worst.

It marked the first time this season Atlanta lost consecutive home series.

Next up is a 10-game road trip against three of the majors’ best teams in St. Louis, the New York Yankees and Milwaukee. Snitker said he’s not concerned about the personnel. The recent combination of rain delays and extra-inning games has gotten things out of sync.

“The bullpen is taxed. We’re getting guys on and have a hard time in the productive out situation,” Snitker said. “It’s going to happen.”

The Braves had gone 2 for 20 with runners in scoring position in the past two games, but four runners scored from second base in the fourth. They went 0 for 5 the rest of the way.

Jackson Stephens (2-0) struck out two in 1 2/3 innings to earn the win. Iglesias earned a save for the second straight day and has converted his past six chances.

Braves starter Sean Newcomb allowed seven hits, three runs and two walks with six strikeouts in six innings. He has a 2.13 ERA in his past six home starts, but threw a career-high 111 pitches.

The Reds made it 4-3 in the fifth when Peraza tripled and scored on Brandon Dixon’s single. Cincinnati led 2-0 on Billy Hamilton’s RBI single in the second and Peraza’s homer, his third, in the third.

Four straight singles in the seventh gave the Reds the lead for good.

ACHES AND PAINS

Braves 2B Ozzie Albies got the day off after his left foot was hit by a pitch in the fourth inning Tuesday. He stayed in the game, but Snitker said he was sore when he woke up Wednesday. Albies, the NL doubles leader, is batting .459 during an eight-game hitting streak. … Atlanta CF Ender Inciarte left the game before the start of the eighth with a sore oblique. Snitker believes he will be ready by Friday.

OUTTA HERE

Reds 1B Joey Votto was ejected in the first inning for arguing a called third strike. It was the eighth of his career and the first since Sept. 9, 2015. Dixon took Votto’s place and went 1 for 2.

•••

BREGMAN HITS 2-RUN SHOT IN 9TH TO LIFT ASTROS PAST BLUE JAYS

HOUSTON (AP) — Alex Bregman hit a two-run homer in the ninth inning to complete a big rally in the Houston Astros’ 7-6 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday.

It was Bregman’s third straight game with a homer and it capped a huge comeback for the Astros, who trailed 5-0 in the middle of the first inning after a terrible start by Dallas Keuchel.

The Astros trailed by one when Tony Kemp singled off Ryan Tepera (5-3) with no outs in the ninth and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Then with one out in the inning, Bregman sent a fastball to left field, where it bounced off the wall above the Crawford Boxes, to give Houston the victory.

Bregman also doubled twice after hitting a homer and doubling three times in a win on Tuesday night.

ROYALS 5, BREWERS 4

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Mike Moustakas’ solo homer opened a five-run seventh inning that snapped an extended run-scoring slump for Kansas City, and the Royals held off Milwaukee.

Danny Duffy (4-7) allowed five hits over six effective innings for the Royals.

Wily Peralta, a former Brewer, closed it out the game after Brad Miller hit a three-run homer off reliever Tim Hill with nobody out in the ninth to get the Brewers to 5-4.

PHILLIES 3, YANKEES 0

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Zach Eflin continued to shine for Philadelphia with a four-hitter over seven shutout innings, and Rhys Hoskins hit a three-run homer to help the Phillies beat the New York Yankees 3-0 on Wednesday night.

Eflin (6-2) became the first Phillies pitcher to win five starts in a month (he had a 1.76 ERA in June) since Cole Hamels went 5-0 in May 2012. Eflin has turned into a stopper of sorts for Philly: He won his fourth game this month following a Phillies loss. Eflin walked two, struck out six and helped the Phillies avoid a three-game sweep before beginning a key four-game series against the division rival Washington Nationals.

He also at last got most of the 42,028 fans at packed Citizens Bank Park to root, root, root for the home team. Yankees fans swarmed the stadium for all three games of the series, and “Let’s go Yankees!” chants boomed at first pitch.

By the time Searanthony Dominguez struck out Gleyber Torres to wrap up his fifth save, over two scoreless innings, Phillies fans were on their feet as Yankees fans trudged toward the exits.

D’BACKS 2, MARLINS 1

MIAMI (AP) — Robbie Ray pitched six scoreless innings in his first game in nearly two months to help the Arizona Diamondbacks beat the Miami Marlins 2-1 on Wednesday.

Daniel Descalso homered and Deven Marrero knocked in a run for the Diamondbacks, who have won six of seven.

Brad Boxberger allowed a home run to Starlin Castro to lead-off the ninth and walked the ensuing batter before retiring the next three for his 19th save in 23 chances.

Ray (3-0) allowed two hits and issued two walks. He struck out six while throwing 56 of his 83 pitches for strikes in his first game since April 29.

RED SOX 9, ANGELS 6

BOSTON (AP) — J.D. Martinez hit his major league-leading 25th home run, Rafael Devers delivered a tiebreaking double and the Boston Red Sox beat the skidding Los Angeles Angels 9-6 on Wednesday night after squandering a six-run lead.

Martinez’s homer capped a six-run second for the Red Sox, who won for the fifth time in six games. Eduardo Nunez and Sandy Leon also went deep in the inning. Boston improved to 5-0 against the Angels this season and has outscored them 45-10.

Martin Maldonado launched a three-run homer and Ian Kinsler had a solo shot for the Angels. They lost their fifth straight and 12th in 16 games.

Los Angeles reliever Jake Jewell was carted off the field with what appeared to be a gruesome injury to his right ankle after covering the plate on a run-scoring wild pitch in the eighth.

RANGERS 5, PADRES 2

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Mike Minor took a perfect game into the seventh inning, Shin-Soo Choo reached base for the 40th straight game and Texas beat San Diego.

Minor (6-4) was perfect until Eric Hosmer’s single up the middle with one out in the seventh. One out later, center fielder Delino DeShields preserved Minor’s shutout by leaping to rob Hunter Renfroe of a home run. Minor struck out five and threw 85 pitches.

PIRATES 5, METS 3

NEW YORK (AP) — David Freese hit a go-ahead, two-run single and Pittsburgh rallied for four runs in the ninth inning to beat New York.

Gregory Polanco had an RBI single and Josh Bell added a sacrifice fly in the ninth as the Pirates, shut down by Zack Wheeler most of the night, came back against a beleaguered New York bullpen to win for just the second time in eight games.

MARINERS 8, ORIOLES 7, 11 INNINGS

BALTIMORE (AP) — Denard Span hit a tiebreaking sacrifice fly in the 11th inning after Kyle Seager delivered a two-run homer in the ninth, and Seattle beat Baltimore.

Playing without injured Nelson Cruz for a second straight game, the Mariners got a home run from Ryon Healy and had 14 hits while improving their record in extra innings to 7-0.

Jean Segura led off the 11th with a double against Mychal Givens (0-5), and Span drove in the go-ahead run with a deep fly to center off Donnie Hart. Chasen Bradford (5-0) worked the 10th, and Edwin Diaz got three outs for his major league-leading 30th save, a club record before the All-Star break.

The Orioles trailed 5-4 in the eighth inning before Chris Davis interrupted his season-long slump with a three-run homer off Alex Colome. In the Seattle ninth, Mitch Haniger singled off Zach Britton and Seager delivered his 15th home run and second in two nights.

INDIANS 5, CARDINALS 1

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Edwin Encarnacion and Lonnie Chisenhall hit back-to-back homers, and rookie Shane Bieber pitched six strong innings to help Cleveland beat St. Louis.

Bieber (3-0) struck out seven to become the seventh pitcher in baseball’s modern era to strike out six or more batters in each of his first four major league starts. Bieber has given up just two runs in his last three starts and lowered his ERA to 2.22. Cleveland avoided a series sweep and has won eight of 10.

Bieber ambushed a first-pitch fastball from Jack Flaherty in the fourth for a double, his first major league hit. Jose Martinez snapped Bieber’s scoreless innings streak at 14 innings with a one-out RBI single in the third. Encarnacion and Chisenhall gave the Indians a 2-0 lead in the second, marking Cleveland’s fifth back-to-back home runs this season. Flaherty (3-3) was the loser.

ROYALS 5, BREWERS 4

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Mike Moustakas’ solo homer opened a five-run seventh inning that snapped an extended run-scoring slump for Kansas City, and the Royals held off Milwaukee.

Danny Duffy (4-7) allowed five hits over six effective innings for the Royals.

Wily Peralta, a former Brewer, closed it out the game after Brad Miller hit a three-run homer off reliever Tim Hill with nobody out in the ninth to get the Brewers to 5-4.

Brewers starter Brent Suter (8-5) allowed six hits and four runs before leaving with the bases loaded and nobody out in the seventh.

ATHLETICS 3, TIGERS 0

DETROIT (AP) — Jed Lowrie hit an RBI double in the fourth inning and Chris Bassitt pitched six innings in Oakland’s victory over Detroit.

The A’s won for the ninth time in 11 games and moved five games over .500 for the first time this year. They did not clear the fences, ending their major league-record road homer streak at 27 games.

Lowrie had the winning RBI for the third straight game.

Bassitt (1-3) gave up two hits and five walks while striking out five. Lou Trivino pitched the ninth for his second save. Mike Fiers (5-5) was the loser.

REDS 6, BRAVES 5

ATLANTA (AP) — Adam Duvall had a two-run single in the seventh inning, Jose Peraza homered and scored twice, and Cincinnati beat Atlanta.

The Reds have won two straight and nine of 10, taking two of three from the NL East-leading Braves. Closer Raisel Iglesias had a perfect ninth to earn his 15th save in 17 chances.

Jackson Stephens (2-0) struck out two in 1 2/3 innings. The Reds took advantage of another shaky outing by reliever Sam Freeman (2-4), scoring three runs in the seventh inning for a 6-5 lead.

WHITE SOX 6, TWINS 1

CHICAGO (AP) — Jose Abreu and Avisail Garcia homered for Chicago, and James Shields limited Minnesota to four hits over seven innings.

Shields (3-9) struck out five and walked just two in his only scoreless start of the season.

Ehire Adrianza had four hits and an RBI for Minnesota, which has dropped two straight games and five of six. Twins starter Kyle Gibson (2-6) allowed five runs on 11 hits in seven innings.

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More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball

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