Tagged in: MLB

Braves blast 4 HRs, beat Dodgers 9-2 for 3-1 lead in NLCS

Eddie Rosario homered twice in his second four-hit game of the series and six pitchers combined on a four-hitter, giving the Atlanta Braves a 9-2 triumph Wednesday night over the Los Angeles Dodgers and a commanding 3-1 lead in the NL Championship Series.

Game 5 is Thursday at Dodger Stadium, with the Braves one victory from their first pennant in 22 years and the defending World Series champions facing elimination. Last year, the Dodgers trailed 0-2 and 1/3 against the Braves in the NLCS before roaring back to win three consecutive games and claim the pennant at a neutral site in Arlington, Texas.

They’ll need to jump-start their offense to have a shot. Their first five hitters — Mookie Betts, Corey Seager, NL batting champion Trea Turner, Will Smith and Gavin Lux — were a combined 0 for 17.

Rosario became the first player to have two four-hit games in a League Championship Series. He drove in four runs while continuing his torrid postseason hitting, finishing a double short of the cycle. He homered in the second, tripled in the third, singled in the fifth and clocked a three-run homer in the ninth.

The left fielder has hit in every game of this postseason, collecting 14 hits so far. He has struck out once.

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The Braves’ four homers tied a postseason franchise record.

Each of the series’ first three games was decided by one run in the last two innings.

But when it got late, the Dodgers couldn’t generate any comeback magic this time.

Atlanta opener Jesse Chavez combined with Drew Smyly, Chris Martin, A.J. Minter and Tyler Matzek and Will Smith to hold down the Dodgers’ offense.

Los Angeles didn’t get a hit until the fifth and was limited to one the rest of the way.

The Braves wasted no time in jumping all over 20-game winner Julio Urías, who gave up three homers in just 2 2/3 innings. It was the second time he gave up that many in his career; the first time was in his second major league game in 2016.

Rosario drove an 0-2 pitch into the left-field pavilion leading off the second and Adam Duvall followed with a shot to center, the first time the Braves homered back-to-back in the postseason since Oct. 3, 2002, versus San Francisco in Game 2 of the NL Division Series.

Freddie Freeman went deep leading off the third. Two outs later, Rosario tripled to deep right on a two-strike pitch, sliding headfirst into the bag. Duvall was intentionally walked and Joc Pederson singled to center, scoring Rosario for a 4-0 lead.

The Dodgers closed to 5-2 in the fifth on pinch-hitter AJ Pollock’s two-out, two-run single. Justin Turner singled for their first hit of the game and Cody Bellinger followed with a single and stolen base.

Freeman’s RBI double in the ninth made it 6-2 before Rosario went deep.

Urías didn’t record a strikeout until the fourth, when Dansby Swanson and Freeman went down swinging back-to-back to end the left-hander’s first clean inning.

Urías gave up five runs and eight hits in five innings. He struck out three and walked three.

Urías started on two days’ rest, having thrown an inning of relief in Game 2 at Atlanta. He gave up two runs on three hits, including a tying double to Austin Riley. Duvall robbed Lux of a home run with a leaping catch at the wall in center in the second.

Duvall went to the warning track in the seventh to catch a ball hit by Bellinger, who hit a tying, three-run homer in the Dodgers’ eighth-inning rally that helped win Game 3 on Tuesday.

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Down 2-0, Dodgers have Braves where they want them at home

Trailing 2-0 in the NL Championship Series, the Los Angeles Dodgers have the Atlanta Braves right where they want them. At their house.

The Braves’ last victory at Dodger Stadium was June 9, 2018. They’ve lost nine consecutive in Los Angeles, getting swept in a three-game series in late August and were shut out twice in the 2018 NL Division Series.

Going back to the 2013 NLDS, the Braves have dropped 19 of their last 22 in LA.

The Dodgers were an MLB-best 58-23 at home, ending the regular season on franchise-record 15-game winning streak at Chavez Ravine. But as a wild-card team, they don’t have home-field advantage in the NL playoffs despite 106 victories.

“We’re back home,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said Monday. “We expect to win Game 3.”

The series resumes Tuesday at Dodger Stadium. Los Angeles is a 3-2 favorite,

“They’re just really good here, really good,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “It’s fun to come out here. Dodger Stadium is an electric place and the weather’s nice.”

Charlie Morton (0-1, 3.86 ERA in the postseason) starts for the Braves. Walker Buehler (0-1, 3.38), a 16-game winner in the regular season, takes the mound for the Dodgers.

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“If the baseball sayings are right, you’re only as good as your next day’s starting pitcher,” All-Star pitcher Max Scherzer said, “and so we got Walk going on the mound and we definitely believe we can win with him. Our mindset is just win the next game.”

Buehler will start on two extra days’ rest after opening Game 4 of the NLDS on short rest a week ago.

“I got a little sick in San Francisco, but I’m feeling all right, so no worse for the wear,” he said Monday, declining to specify what or how he felt ill.

The Cy Young Award contender has proven to be reliable in big matches, with a 2.50 ERA in 13 postseason starts.

“With Walker being on extra rest, I think to have him, to push him, go deeper is certainly a very good option,” Roberts stated.

The Dodgers expect to have Justin Turner back at third base. He was reduced to pinch-hitting in Game 2 due to a neck injury, ending his streak of 77 consecutive postseason starts. He’s struggled at the plate in the postseason, hitting .050 versus San Francisco in the NLDS.

The Dodgers have been down before against Atlanta. Playing last postseason at a neutral site in Texas, they overcame a 1/3 deficit to defeat the Braves in the NLCS. LA went on to win its first World Series championship since 1988.

After last year, the 88-win Braves aren’t taking anything for granted.

“It’s like one of those things where you can’t stop now, you got to continue to apply the pressure,” said third baseman Austin Riley, whose RBI single won Game 1.

Snitker added, “With a year’s experience and in the same position these guys are better versed for it right now.”

Game 4 is Wednesday and a possible Game 5 the following day, cutting out any rest for the bullpen and seemingly making it harder for the Dodgers to use their starters in relief, as they did in the first two matches.

The Braves made history as just the second team ever to win the first two games of a League Championship Series on walk-offs, joining the 1969 Baltimore Orioles. Historically, teams that take a 2-0 lead in a best-of-seven postseason major league series go on to win the series 84% of the time.

Along with his teammates, Atlanta slugger Freddie Freeman will be looking to reset in LA. He’s 0 for 8 in the series, striking out seven times. “He can get hot at any moment,” Roberts said.

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Boston Red Sox’s J.D. Martinez getting treatment on ankle; Gio Urshela good to go for New York Yankees

Boston Red Sox slugger J.D. Martinez remains a question for the team’s American League Wild Card Game versus the visiting New York Yankees on Tuesday night at Fenway Park as he continues to recover from a sprained left ankle.

Martinez suffered the injury in the fifth inning when he tripped over the second-base bag while jogging out to right field in Boston’s regular-season finale Sunday versus the host Washington Nationals. He was pulled from the game — a 7-5 Red Sox victory — an inning later.

Speaking Monday at Fenway, Red Sox manager Alex Cora stated Martinez continues to receive treatment on the ankle and that the team will make a roster decision Tuesday morning.

“He’s getting treatment,” Cora told reporters. “We’ll probably have to make a decision tomorrow morning roster-wise, of course, and let’s see how he reacts to treatment and everything that they are doing to him in there. We don’t know yet.”

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Cora also said outfielder Jarren Duran will likely make the wild-card roster, giving Boston a potential speed option on the basepaths, as will Nick Pivetta, who threw an inning of scoreless relief against the Nationals on Sunday. 

Chris Sale, who started that game in D.C., is unlikely to be on the roster, per Cora.

“He actually threw today. He felt good. He stopped by the office and [I was] like, ‘No, we’re not doing that,'” Cora said. “Hopefully he has a chance to start again here in October.”

The Yankees, meanwhile, expect Gio Urshela to be in the lineup Tuesday. Urshela bruised his right thigh and suffered some cuts when he made a diving catch in the Tampa Bay dugout in the teams’ regular-season finale Sunday, a massive play that helped New York en route to a walk-off 1-0 win that clinched its wild-card spot.

“I think we got incredibly fortunate in that situation,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone told reporters. “As you know, it really scared me watching him launch into there from my angle. He might be a little stiff or whatever. But I don’t think it’ll have much impact.”

Yankees ace Gerrit Cole (16-8) faces Nathan Eovaldi (11-9) at Fenway. The Yankees-Red Sox winner will move on to face the AL East champion Tampa Bay Rays starting Thursday in St. Petersburg, Florida.

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Two-time All-Star Luis Severino returns to New York Yankees, works two innings in 7-1 victory

Luis Severino took the mound in a major-league game for the first time since the 2019 American League Championship Series on Tuesday.

The two-time All-Star, who has battled myriad injuries since re-signing with the Yankees, entered in the unfamiliar role of reliever, working the final two innings of New York’s 7-1 victory over the Texas Rangers.

“Proud moment for him and for his teammates and for all of us who have seen him go through a lot,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone stated. “He’s battled different things, and has worked his tail off to get to this moment.”

He worked a quick eighth, authoring two strikeouts and a groundout to go along with a double. In the ninth, he permitted a single before ending it with a double play and a flyout.

“I was feeling a lot of different emotions. But I’m happy to be back, happy to finally help the team,” Severino told the YES Network. “I knew after the first pitch, that it was going to come back to normal.”

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He concluded with 30 pitches, 19 of which were strikes.

“There’s got to be rust, nerves, all of that, going out there,” Boone said. “And I thought he executed, and hopefully this is a step forward for him to help us here down the stretch.”

Severino was activated before Monday’s 4-3 victory over the Rangers, with Boone clearly saying he wanted to start him out as a reliever. Where he goes from here, an optimistic Boone wouldn’t say.

“I’m not going to cap what that can be. We’ll see,” he said. “That’s a talented person and a great pitcher. I’m not going to limit what he’s capable of.”

Giancarlo Stanton hit his 31st home run in the victory, while Joey Gallo added his 38th and Aaron Judge launched his 36th as New York’s offense woke up. It indeed was a feel-good night in The Bronx, despite the fact that the Yankees did not gain any ground in the American League wild-card race.

“He felt great to be a part of it,” Boone said of Severino. “There was some emotion in his voice, and you can imagine the hard work he’s put in to get to this point. It was a good night for him.”

The 27-year-old right-hander had Tommy John surgery on Feb. 27, 2020. He made four minor league appearances totaling 10⅔ innings for Tampa, Hudson Valley and Somerset, permitting four runs, five hits and one home run with three walks and 15 strikeouts.

His rehabilitation was slowed when he injured his right groin on June 12 in his second minor league appearance for Hudson Valley at Brooklyn.

Severino returned to pitch for Somerset on Aug. 3 and Aug. 8, then was scratched from an Aug. 13 outing for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre because of shoulder tightness.

“The fans always help me, every time I’m out there, and I knew we scored seven runs,” Severino said. “So, I was pretty calm out there.”

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Perez breaks Bench’s home run record; Royals sweep Indians

Salvador Perez hit his 46th home run, breaking Johnny Bench’s record for most by a catcher in a campaign to highlight the opener, then the Kansas City Royals completed a doubleheader sweep by defeating the Cleveland Indians 4-2 Monday night.

Perez hit a two-run homer in the fifth inning of a 7-2 victory, topping Bench’s total from 1970 for the highest total by a player who spent at least 75% of his team’s games at catcher.

Perez also moved into a tie for the major league lead in homers with Toronto’s Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Perez leads the majors with 115 RBI.

“I had never hit 30 in my career,” he said. “So I was looking for 30 homers and 100 RBI. This is a dream come true.” Perez’s career high in home runs was 27, which came in both the 2017 and 2018 seasons.

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Being in the same company with Bench is something else special for the 31-year-old Perez who has been a mainstay for the Royals since reaching the majors in 2011.

“When you see a Hall of Fame catcher, you try to be just like him,” Perez said. “I’m going to try my best to be one of those guys.”

Royals manager Mike Matheny considered it an honor to witness the moment.

“It’s just hard to get your head around, to be honest,” Matheny said. “The long history in this game and how many great players have come through. For him to do something that nobody’s done, it’s amazing.”

In the second game, Perez hit an early double before striking out against Anthony Gose, a former outfielder who returned to the majors after a five-year absence as a hard-throwing reliever.

Gose pitched 1 2/3 innings, permitting one run and one hit with one walk and one strikeout. Of his 39 pitches, seven reached 100 mph.

The 31-year-old Gose last played in the majors in 2016 with Detroit. He spent parts of five years with the Tigers and Toronto before becoming a pitcher.

“It meant a lot to get the opportunity to go out there again. It’s been a while. I’m excited to be able to have the opportunity,” Gose said.

Joel Payamps, Domingo Tapia, Jake Brentz. Josh Statamount and Scott Barlow combined on a four-hitter in the second game. Tapia (3-0) struck out four in 1 2/3 innings and Barlow pitched the ninth for his 14th save.

The Royals scored twice off Nick Wittgren (2-8) in the first when Carlos Santana drew a bases-loaded walk and Hunter Dozier added a sacrifice fly.

Kansas City scored in the fourth off Gose on a double by Hanser Alberto and an RBI groundout by Sebastian Rivero.

Alberto added an RBI single in the sixth off Bryan Shaw.

Andrés Giménez and Bobby Bradley homered for Cleveland. The Indians were held to four runs in the two seven-inning games after scoring 11 runs on both Saturday and Sunday in victories over the New York Yankees.

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Gardner’s 2-run single in 9th lifts Yankees over Orioles 4-3

Brett Gardner blooped a two-run single in the ninth inning that was set up by a double steal, and the New York Yankees defeated the Baltimore Orioles 4-3 Wednesday night for their third consecutive win.

The Yankees kept pace with Toronto and Boston atop the AL wild-card standings as all three teams won.Austin Hays homered twice for the Orioles, including a two-out, two-run drive in the eighth off Chad Green for a 3-2 lead.

The homer came soon after second baseman Gleyber Torres knocked down a hard liner and instead of throwing to second to get the lead runner, tossed to first to put out Cedric Mullins.

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Orioles reliever Tyler Wells (2-3) walked Luke Voit to start the ninth and Torres followed with a single. Pinch-runner Tyler Wade and Torres pulled off a double steal with one out as it began to rain.

Gardner followed with a single to center that scored both runs, much to the delight of their fans that flocked to Camden Yards.

Wandy Peralta (5-3) earned the win and Aroldis Chapman got his 27th save.

Gio Urshela launched a two-run homrer into the left-center bleachers in the third. Urshela took over as the full-time shortstop this week for the error-prone Torres and had a diving catch off a hard liner by Austin Wynns for the final out in the fifth.

Mullins took a two-run homer away from Gary Sanchez in the second with a leaping grab over the center-field fence. Orioles starter John Means pointed to Mullins in celebration and Sanchez walked back to the dugout in disbelief.

Means had another effective outing and permitted two runs and four hits with four strikeouts and two walks in 5 2/3 innings.

It was the fifth time this season the Orioles failed to score a run when Means was on the mound. Hays homered in the sixth and added his 20th of the season in the eighth.

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New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone: Not sure whether Clint Frazier will play again amid vision issues

Yankees manager Aaron Boone isn’t clear that Clint Frazier will be able to play baseball again after the outfielder was pulled from a minor league rehab assignment Monday amid continuing issues with his vision.

“We’ll see,” Boone said when asked whether Frazier would play again. “Obviously he’s been through a lot and been through a lot of seeing a lot of people and a lot of testing and everything. We’ll just try and continue to follow and support him where we can. But as of right now, a little holding pattern. I know he feels well today, so we’ll just see.”

Frazier, 26, started a minor league rehab assignment last Tuesday after missing nearly six weeks due to dizziness and other symptoms consistent with vertigo. He went 4-for-10 over three games, but Boone stated Frazier felt unwell prior to Sunday’s game with Double-A Somerset and took himself out of the lineup.

Frazier was formally pulled from the rehab assignment Monday and transferred to the 60-day injured list. “Just didn’t feel like he was good enough to post,” Boone said before New York played the Los Angeles Angels on Monday.

“And so, decided to pull the plug, and we applaud him for making that decision.” Boone said before New York played the Los Angeles Angels on Monday. “And so, decided to pull the plug, and we applaud him for making that decision.”

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Frazier was placed on the injured list July 1 with what was initially called vertigo and later defined as a possible vision issue.

He missed nearly all of the 2018 season with lingering concussion symptoms, but it’s not clear whether his current concerns are related.

A 2013 first-round pick by Cleveland, Frazier hit well in 2019 but was banished to Triple-A for much of the season following several defensive miscues.

He finally cracked New York’s crowded outfield for regular playing time in 2020 and shined. He batted .267 with a .905 OPS and steadier defense in left and right field, earning an everyday role for the 2021 season.

The breakout has fizzled this year. Frazier hit .186 with five homers and a .633 OPS in 66 games before going on the IL.

Also Monday, right-hander Luis Severino (right shoulder tightness) had an MRI as planned. Boone said the team hoped to review the results before the end of the night.

Catcher Gary Sanchez (COVID-19 IL) hit on the field and could be activated Tuesday for a doubleheader versus the Boston Red Sox.

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Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Trevor Bauer has administrative leave extended through Aug. 13

The administrative leave for Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Trevor Bauer was extended a fourth time on Thursday, this time by an extra seven days through Aug. 13, according to a league official.

A civil hearing for the temporary restraining order that was acquired against Bauer will start three days after that in L.A. Superior Court. The hearing, which was twice granted a continuance at the request of Bauer’s legal team, is scheduled for Aug. 16-19. That means Bauer’s leave might have to be extended at least once more, unless MLB or the City of Pasadena (California) Police Department wrap up their investigations before then.

MLB can unilaterally place a player on administrative leave for up to seven days under a joint domestic violence policy, but it must obtain consent by the MLB Players Association thereafter. Bauer hasn’t been with the Dodgers since initially being placed on leave July 2.

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Bauer, 30, has been accused by a woman of choking her until she lost consciousness on multiple occasions, punching her in several areas of her body and leaving her with injuries that required hospitalization over the course of two sexual encounters earlier this year, according to a domestic violence restraining order that was filed in L.A. County Superior Court on June 28, copies of which were obtained by ESPN.

The temporary restraining order was executed ex parte, which can be attained without input from the other party.

Bauer’s side has strongly denied the allegations of sexual assault, calling the interactions between him and the woman “wholly consensual” and saying in a prior statement that Bauer “vehemently denies her account of their two meetings.”

The initial hearing to decide whether the temporary restraining order would become permanent took place July 23 and was delayed an additional six business days after Bauer’s attorneys demanded more time to prepare a defense against witnesses and exhibits they claimed to not have received until the night before the hearing. A continuance was obtained once again on July 29.

Bauer attended the initial hearing, as did the woman. Bauer’s legal team told the judge that it has advised him not to testify, given the ongoing investigation, but the petitioner’s side stated that he must nonetheless take the stand, even if he invokes his Fifth Amendment right not to answer questions. Both sides will call a total of up to 10 witnesses.

The Dodgers, who traded for Max Scherzer last week and signed Cole Hamels on Wednesday, have canceled Bauer’s bobblehead night and have removed all of his merchandise from the team and online stores, saying they “did not feel it was appropriate” given the investigations.

Bauer, the 2020 National League Cy Young Award winner as a member of the Cincinnati Reds, joined the Dodgers with a record-setting three-year, $102 million contract in February that incorporates two opt-out clauses.

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Phillies extend winning streak to 4 with 9-5 win over Nats

Rhys Hoskins homered and drove in three runs, Didi Gregorius hit a two-run homer and the Philadelphia Phillies extended their winning streak to four matches with a 9-5 triumph over the Washington Nationals on Wednesday night.

Philadelphia is 55-53 and two games over .500 for the first time since July 18, when it was 47-45. The Phillies started the day 1½ games behind the NL East-leading New York Mets.

The Phillies erased an early 3-0 deficit and set up a chance for a four-game sweep on Thursday afternoon. Nationals reliever Jefry Rodriguez hit Hoskins with an up-and-in pitch in the top of the seventh. Hoskins motioned to the Phillies’ dugout, then looked at Rodriguez before going to first base.

Gregorius hit a 412-foot home run on the next pitch. Hoskins started yelling at Rodriguez before the ball cleared the fence, prompting Rodriguez to yell back.

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Philadelphia used four doubles to build a four-run fourth inning and take a 4-3 lead. 

Andrew Knapp, Travis Jankowski, Jean Segura, and Hoskins all doubled in the inning. Bryce Harper drove in a run with a single.

Hoskins hit a two-run homer in the fifth inning, his 24th of the season.

Luis García and Carter Kieboom hit back-to-back homers against Philadelphia starter Chase Anderson in the second, giving Washington an early three-run lead.

Victor Robles’ first career leadoff homer came on Anderson’s first pitch Wednesday night. The homer was just the second of the season for Robles, a one-time top prospect who struggled in 2020 and is doing so again this season.

The Nationals are using the rest of the season to assess prospects, and also giving the 24-year-old Robles an opportunity to bat leadoff after mostly hitting ninth in his short career.

Anderson pitched three innings, permitted three earned runs on three hits (all homers), walked one, and struck out one.

García also homered in the seventh for his first career multi-homer game.

Matt Moore (1-3) picked up the win in relief. Washington starter Paolo Espino (3-3) allowed six earned in his five innings.

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Rangers steal home in 4-1 win over Angels for 3 in a row

Dane Dunning won consecutive starts for the first time this campaign for Texas, and the Rangers took the lead for good with a double steal in a 4-1 triumph over the Los Angeles Angels on Monday night.

Brock Holt scored the tiebreaking run with a headfirst slide into home on the back-end of a double steal in the fifth inning, the second time this season the Rangers stole home. Holt later added a sacrifice fly.

Dunning (5-7) got Shohei Ohtani out for the third time, on a ground ball ending the top of the fifth. That was the last batter for Dunning, who struck out three, walked two and permitted one run on three hits.

Spencer Patton worked the ninth for his first big league save in three chances as the last-place Rangers won their third game in a row.

Angels right-hander Chris Rodriguez (2-1) struck out seven and walked two while allowing four runs (three earned) and four hits in his first big league start. He left after the first two batters in the seventh reached, and both scored.

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Rodriguez made 13 relief appearances earlier this season for the Angels before being sent to the minors June 21 to become a starter.

His first MLB start came a day after Reid Detmers, the only higher-rated pitching prospect in the Angels organization, made his.

Holt was in a 3-for-36 slide before his double in the fifth, and he went to third after Isiah Kiner-Falefa reached on a fielder’s choice that was the second out.

Kiner-Falefa drew a throw from catcher Max Stassi as he stole second, and Holt then took off and beat a one-hop throw back to the plate by shortstop José Iglesias for a 2-1 lead.

Curtis Terry, who had a double in the second for his first hit after going 0 for 20 since his big league debut July 23, added a a single in the seventh for his second hit to chase Rodriguez, and came home on Kiner-Falefa’s single after Holt’s sac fly.

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