Asked how the Atlanta Braves have surprised many experts by establishing a three-game lead in the National League East at the season’s halfway point Womens Henrik Zetterberg Jersey , catcher Kurt Suzuki didn’t hesitate.
“This team has no fear,” he said Saturday night after an 11-4 victory in St. Louis. “We have a lot of young guys but we also have some veterans. We approach every game the same way.”
Atlanta’s consistency has been too much for the Cardinals this weekend. Behind solid starting pitching and an explosive offense, the Braves (47-34) have outscored St. Louis 16-5 in winning the series’ first two games. They go for a sweep on Sunday at Busch Stadium.
Right-hander Mike Foltynewicz (5-4, 2.14 ERA) will try to match what Julio Teheran and Max Fried have done in the series. Neither allowed a run in a combined 12 2/3 innings, with Fried enjoying the best outing of his short big league career Saturday night.
The former first-round pick of the San Diego Padres allowed only four hits and three walks in 6 2/3 innings, recording 11 strikeouts against the whiff-prone Cardinals. The hard-throwing Foltynewicz made his return from the 10-day disabled list Monday night, allowing one hit and one run in five innings while walking four and fanning four against Cincinnati in a no-decision.
“The arm was just kind of heavy,” he said to mlb.com. “You can’t really practice these situations when you’re out there with your adrenaline running, but just a couple of times I just couldn’t really extend too far. But adrenaline pushed me through.”
Foltynewicz has faced St. Louis three times in his career, going 1-2 with a 9.95 ERA and yielding a whopping 22 hits over 12 2/3 innings.
In an attempt to avoid a fourth straight loss, the Cardinals (42-39) will turn to former Atlanta prospect John Gant (2-2, 3.48). Gant, replacing the disabled Michael Wacha in the rotation Gabriel Landeskog Jersey Kids , pitched the best game of his career Monday night, limiting Cleveland to an infield single by Yan Gomes over seven innings in a 5-0 victory.
Gant walked five and fanned four, but his off-speed pitches kept the Indians off-balance all game and enabled him to post his first win as a starter.
“We’re lucky the third base bag got in the way of Gomes’ (grounder) or we wouldn’t have had anything,” Cleveland manager Terry Francona said to mlb.com of Gant’s performance.
Before plating four runs in the ninth inning Saturday night, St. Louis managed two runs in its previous 26 innings. Its offense has been primarily singles and homers, as it’s on pace for the fewest doubles and triples in the majors.
Help may be on the way when the Cardinals start a nine-game road trip Monday night against Arizona. Shortstop Paul DeJong may be activated off the disabled list after a weekend rehab stint for Triple-A Memphis.
That could result in the move of first baseman Jose Martinez, who’s on a 100-RBI pace but has been poor afield, to his natural outfield position. In fact, Martinez played the last three innings Saturday night in right field.
“Jose Martinez has earned a spot in the lineup every day, so we have to figure out a spot to play him,” general manager Michael Girsch said to mlb.com.
In the midst of a difficult season, the Kansas City Royals got a needed spark Friday night from one of their newest additions.
Rookie Rosell Herrera kept the game scoreless with a home-run robbery in the eighth inning and hit an RBI triple in the ninth, and struggling Kansas City beat the Houston Astros 1-0.
Herrera helped the Royals end a nine-game skid by bringing back Alex Bregman’s would-be homer. The right fielder reached over the short outfield wall to snag the first out in the eighth.
”He’s athletic Jakob Silfverberg Jersey , he’s fast,” manager Ned Yost said. ”He seems to swing the bat OK from both sides. It’s only been a week. There’s a lot to like looking at him on a short look.”
Adalberto Mondesi singled off Ken Giles (0-2) to start the ninth, stole second and took third on a flyout by Whit Merrifield. Herrera then sent a ball to center field to score Mondesi.
Herrera also had a double and is batting .278 in five games since being cut by Cincinnati and acquired by the Royals.
”That was very fun, not only for me but for my teammates because we played really good defense today … and that’s why we made the right play at the right time and won the game,” Herrera said.
Danny Duffy pitched six innings of two-hit ball for the Royals, and the bullpen didn’t allow another knock. Justin Grimm (1-2) pitched a scoreless eighth and Tim Hill threw a perfect ninth for his first save.
When asked about his work Friday night, Duffy briefly discussed his outing before raving about Herrera.
”Rosie he’s a stud, man,” he said. ”I’m a big fan of that kid. If he keeps playing as hard as he does, he’s always going to have a spot in the big leagues. We love that here. I’m really happy for him. He had a fantastic game.”
Houston was shut out for the first time since May 11. They still had several opportunities to score because of seven walks but went 0 for 9 with runners in scoring position.
”It’s unusual because we’ve been pretty good swinging the bat lately,” manager A.J. Hinch said. ”It seemed like every opportunity ended in a double play tonight.”
Houston starter Dallas Keuchel pitched six strong innings. He allowed six hits and struck out six, while Duffy fanned seven after being tagged for seven runs in six innings of a loss to the Astros on Saturday.
The Royals had just wrapped an 0-8 homestand and had lost 15 of 16.
Kevin McCarthy took over for Duffy in the seventh and issued consecutive walks to Evan Gattis and Marwin Gonzalez. Pinch-hitter Tony Kemp then grounded into a force out that left Gattis out at third. But the Astros loaded the bases when pinch-hitter Tyler White reached on a fielder’s choice.
Houston came away empty-handed when George Springer grounded into a double play.
Salvador Perez doubled with one out in the eighth and Houston intentionally walked Alex Gordon before Alcides Escobar drew a walk to load the bases. The game remained scoreless when Hector Rondon struck out Paulo Orlando to end the inning.
Astros: Hinch said RHP Joe Smith (right elbow inflammation) is improving but still has several steps to go through before he’s ready to come off the disabled list.
Escobar started in center field, snapping a streak of 407 straight starts at shortstop dating to Sept. 26 Authentic Saquon Barkley Jersey , 2015. That streak was the longest in Royals history and the longest active streak in the majors. It’s the first time he’s played a position other than shortstop since he joined the Royals in 2011 and the sixth time in his career he’s played in the outfield, after appearing in five games there for the Brewers in 2010.
The Royals started Mondesi at shortstop instead. They have said Escobar will also see time at second and third base this season.
”I just think that the time was right,” Yost said. ”He knows that his next career move is probably going to be a utility-type player … and he’s anxious to start showing people that he can handle it.”
Escobar, who entered the game 2 for 28, had two hits including a double.
”I thought (Escobar) looked good in center. He hits good as a center fielder,” Yost said with a laugh.
Houston’s Lance McCullers Jr. (8-3, 3.77 ERA) looks for his third straight win when as he opposes Ian Kennedy (1-7, 5.31) Saturday night. Kennedy hasn’t won in 13 starts, going 0-7 with a 6.12 ERA since his only win of the season on April 7.
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