Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Braves get back on track

AARON HARANG allowed four hits in seven innings, and the Atlanta Braves used early offense against Bartolo Colon to beat the New York Mets, 3-1, last night and avert a four-game sweep.

The visiting Braves snapped a four-game losing streak and ended the Mets' season-best, four-game winning run. New York hasn't swept a four-game set from Atlanta since July 1989.

Harang (9-6) won his fourth straight start and fifth game in six outings, topping the Mets for the second time this season in three appearances - allowing a total of two runs. He struck out two and walked four.

Craig Kimbrel worked out of an eighth-inning jam and got four outs for his 28th save in 32 opportunities. Andrelton Simmons, Freddie Freeman and Ramiro Pena all had two hits.

Colon (8-8) hung around for eight innings. He allowed three runs and 10 hits with no walks and seven strikeouts. The 41-year-old righthander lost his third consecutive start.

Colon gave up two runs in the first and one in the third, yielding nine hits in the first four innings - at least two in each frame - and didn't retire Atlanta in order until the fifth. He did it again in the sixth, and his run of 10 straight outs was broken up by B.J. Upton's seventh-inning single.

The Mets cut the lead to 3-1 in the third on David Wright's RBI single and threatened for more in the fifth when they loaded the bases with two outs. But Harang induced Travis d'Arnaud, moved up to fifth in the order for the first time this season, to fly out after a visit from pitching coach Roger McDowell.

While New York leads the major leagues with 62 runs in the first inning, Colon has struggled early in games. He has given up 18 runs in the first inning of his 18 starts, and opponents are batting .349 (29 for 83).

Colon struck out Upton looking in the first, but Simmons rolled a single past the outstretched glove of second baseman Daniel Murphy and scored on Freeman's ringing double to right. Justin Upton struck out looking before Jason Heyward blooped a single to left that scored Freeman to make it 2-0.

The rally ended when Tommy La Stella took the third called third strike of the inning.

The Braves threatened again in the second, putting runners on first and second on back-to-back hits by Christian Bethancourt and Pena. Harang struck out attempting to bunt, and Bethancourt was caught trying to get to third after a long rundown to complete the double play. The missed bunt was only the second failed swing by the Braves in Colon's first 31 pitches.

After two singles to open the Braves third, Atlanta made it 3-0 on Justin Upton's doubleplay grounder that scored Simmons.


In NL games

* At Cincinnati, Luis Valbuena hit a tiebreaking, two-run triple in the 12th inning and the Chicago Cubs avoided a rare five-game sweep in with a 6-4 win.

* At St. Louis, Edinson Volquez (8-6) tossed a complete game six-hitter to win his fourth straight start and the Pittsburgh Pirates downed the Cardinals, 9-1.


In AL games

* At Cleveland, Roberto Perez hit a two-run homer in his major league debut, Carlos Santana also connected and the Indians scored nine runs in their last two innings for a 9-3 victory over the New York Yankees.

Asdrubal Cabrera's three-run triple and Michael Brantley's sacrifice fly highlighted a four-run seventh that erased a 3-0 deficit. Brantley, a first-time All-Star this season, added an RBI single in a five-run eighth, when Perez and Santana homered.

In Yankees news, Masahiro Tanaka has a partially torn ligament in his right elbow, and the team hopes the rookie sensation will be able to pitch again this season. General manager Brian Cashman said last night that Tanaka could return in 6 weeks, but didn't rule out the possibility of Tommy John surgery if the righthander doesn't respond to a rehab program.

* At Arlington, the Angels battered Rangers starter Colby Lewis (6-6) and Mike Trout hit a three-run homer on the way to a 15-6 Los Angeles win over Texas.

* At Kansas City, the Detroit Tigers pounded 19 hits, including a two-run double by Miguel Cabrera, on the way to a 16-4 win over the Royals.

* At Boston, Mike Carp's pinch-hit single in the 10th inning gave the Red Sox a 4-3 win for their second straight walkoff victory over the Chicago White Sox.


In interleague

* At San Francisco, All-Star Scott Kazmir (11-3) struck out nine in seven scoreless innings to help the Oakland Athletics win the annual Bay Bridge series by beating the Giants, 6-1. Josh Donaldson hit a two-run homer and Stephen Vogt drove in three runs for the A's, who won three of four in the two-city series.

* At Baltimore, Steve Pearce homered and scored twice to help Wei-Yin Chen (9-3) earn his ninth victory, and the Orioles beat the Washington Nationals, 4-3, for their eighth win in 10 games.

Adam Jones and Nelson Cruz both drove in a run for the Orioles, who built a 4-0 lead in the third inning and held on. Baltimore took two of three from the Nationals.


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