Brewers hang on for 5-4 win over Braves

Atlanta Braves’ Josh Donaldson is congratulated after hitting a two-run home run during the eighth inning of a baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers Wednesday, July 17, 2019, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

By TOM KERTSCHER

MILWAUKEE (AP) — After Christian Yelich helped give the Milwaukee Brewers a big early lead, Josh Hader preserved the win that nearly got away.

Hader struck out Ozzie Albies with two outs and the tying run on third in the ninth inning to save the 5-4 win over the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday.

“They put a nice comeback on him, had some good at-bats against him, but he finished it,” manager Craig Counsell said of Hader.

Yelich’s solo homer in the sixth inning was his 34th and tied the Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger for the major league lead. It was Yelich’s third home run in four games.

Trailing 5-0, the Braves rallied with two runs in the eighth on Josh Donaldson’s two-run homer and two runs in the ninth on his two-run single.

Pinch-hitters Charlie Culberson and Johan Camargo led off the ninth with singles. With two outs, Freddie Freeman struck out on a pitch in the dirt, but reached first base after the ball got away from Manny Pina and Pina committed an error with his throw to first.

Donaldson hit a two-run single to make it 5-4 before Hader struck out Albies and earned his 21st save.

The Brewers jumped out to an early lead on Piña’s two-run homer in the second inning. Yelich made it 3-0 in the sixth before Keston Hiura and Piña added RBI hits later in the inning to make it 5-0.

Milwaukee starter Chase Anderson (5-2) gave up only one hit, a double to Brian McCann in the second inning, in 5 2/3 innings. He walked three and struck out three.

“He’s a decent player,” Anderson said of Yelich, joking. “When he goes into slumps, his slumps are hitting singles instead of homers or triples or doubles. So, to have a guy that’s on your team to impact the game on a daily basis the way he does, it’s huge.”

Dallas Keuchel allowed five runs, four earned, in 5 2/3 innings. After giving up the home run to Piña, Keuchel (3-3) retired 11 of the next 13 batters. But the Brewers got to him in the sixth, pushing the lead to 5-0 before he was pulled.

“I was kind of teetering on the edge there for a while and was fortunate to get to the sixth,” Keuchel said. “I felt like I didn’t have too good of command of my fastball. I was behind on a lot of guys after the third and just couldn’t corral it together there in the sixth. I just kind of ran out of gas and turned a close game into an extended vacation.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Brewers: LHP Gio Gonzalez (arm fatigue), after two rehab starts, will start for Milwaukee on Saturday against the Diamondbacks in Arizona, Counsell said. RHP Adrian Houser moves to the bullpen. … RHP Jimmy Nelson (elbow) will begin a rehab assignment at Class A Wisconsin on Sunday, Counsell said.

GETTING ON, STEALING BASE

Atlanta’s Ronald Acuña Jr. reached base on a walk in the third inning, extending his career-best on-base streak to 23 consecutive games, the longest current streak in the majors. He then stole his 17th base of the season, after a review overturned an out call, exceeding his total of 16 in 2018.

‘SEINFELD’ REFERENCE

Counsell joked that Gonzalez, who had had some travel problems, will double as the team’s assistant traveling secretary. “In addition to starting games for us, he will take on George Costanza’s role,” Counsell said.

KID CAN HIT

Hiura, the Brewers rookie, batted 8-for-11 in the series, including hitting two doubles on Wednesday.

UP NEXT

Braves: RHP Julio Teheran (5-6, 3.71 ERA) will start at home against the Nationals’ Stephen Strasburg (11-4, 3.46 ERA).

Brewers: Zach Davies (7-2, 2.89 ERA) faces the Diamondbacks’ Merrill Kelly (7-9, 3.93 ERA) in Arizona.

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More AP baseball coverage: HERE and TWITTER.

Freeman, Fried power scorching hot Braves past Brewers, 4-2

Atlanta Braves’ Freddie Freeman is congratulated by Ronald Acuna Jr. (13) and Freddie Freeman (5) after hitting a three-run home run during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers Monday, July 15, 2019, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

MILWAUKEE (AP) — One pitch was all Freddie Freeman needed to power the Atlanta Braves to their fifth straight victory.

The left-handed slugger sent an offering from Milwaukee Brewers starter Adrian Houser deep to center field to bring home three of the Braves’ four runs in a 4-2 win Monday night.

“We’ve been clicking for two months now,” Freeman said. “None of this surprises anyone in this clubhouse. We are playing really good baseball.”

The homer marked Freeman’s 25th of the season and helped the first-place Braves improve to a season-best 21 games over .500.

Freeman is the fastest player in Braves franchise history to reach 25 homers since Andruw Jones in 2005. Freeman reached the mark in 95 games. It took Jones 78 games.

Max Fried (10-4) pitched five scoreless innings to secure the win. The left-hander surrendered three hits and struck out five in just 78 pitches. Braves manager Brian Snitker said he pulled Fried early after a blister had formed on his left index finger.

“I thought it was smart not trying to pitch through it,” Snitker said. “It was pretty significant. If he hadn’t have said anything and kept pitching, it probably would have torn open.”

Fried is now 2-0 with 11 shutout innings pitched against Milwaukee this year.

Freeman’s home run put Atlanta on the board first in the fourth. The blast scored Ronald Acuna Jr. and Darby Swanson who each reached on a base hit.

The Braves improved to a major-league best 40-17 since Snitker moved Acuna Jr. to the top of the order on May 10.

Houser (2-4) fell to 0-4 as a starter this season after allowing four earned runs on eight hits in six innings.

Milwaukee, which stranded seven baserunners, has now dropped five of their last six and eight of their last 10 games.

“We just gotta make more plays,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “That’s what it comes down to. Whether it be better at-bats and stuff or just making a play defensively (or) making a big pitch when it counts. … We gotta find a way to make plays. That’s how we kind of break through this. Just make more plays. That’s the only way to do it.”

Ryan Braun hit his 13th home run of the season in the sixth and Keston Hiura brought home the Brewers’ other run on a deep drive to center that fell just beyond the outstretched glove of Acuna Jr. The RBI triple pulled Milwaukee to within 3-2.

Austin Riley singled on a fly ball off Braun’s glove in the seventh. The base hit scored Ozzie Albies.

Christian Yelich had two hits on the night and added a stolen base, his 22nd of the season.

Luke Jackson pitched the ninth to earn his 17th save of the season.

GIO TAKES THE MOUND

Brewers left-hander Gio Gonzalez pitched 4 2/3 innings, allowed one run on five hits and struck out four in a rehab start Monday for the Triple-A San Antonio Missions. Gonzalez also surrendered a home run in the start against Nashville. Gonzalez threw 68 pitches, 44 for strikes. The two-time All-Star hasn’t pitched for the Brewers since being placed on injured list June 1 with left arm fatigue.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Braves: RHP Jacob Webb (right elbow impingement) was placed on the 10-day injured list, retroactive to Saturday.

Brewers: RHP Corbin Burnes (right shoulder irritation) was placed on the 10-day injured list. Burnes (1-5), who suffered his fifth loss of the season Sunday after allowing four earned runs on four hits while facing just four batters, said his shoulder was bothering him for four or five days but Sunday was the first day he felt it while on the mound. Counsell said he doesn’t believe Burnes’ injury is serious but said he’ll shut him down for what he doubts will be a long time.

UP NEXT

Brewers right-hander Brandon Woodruff (10-3, 3.67 ERA) will face right-hander Bryse Wilson (1-0, 6.14 ERA) on Tuesday in the second game of the three-game series. Woodruff lost his last start July 4 in Cincinnati after allowing just one earned run in six innings of work. Wilson will be recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett. Tuesday is expected to be a spot start for Wilson.

Keith Jenkins can be reached at https://twitter.com/MrKeithJenkins

More AP MLB: HERE and TWITTER.

Braves interested in Madison Bumgarner leading up to trade deadline

Will the San Francisco Giants trade starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner? If so, can the Braves put together a trade package that gets the ace to Atlanta ready to go for a playoff push? (AP Photo | Scot Tucker)

By Matt Weitz – 680 The Fan
ATLANTA – As the trade deadline approaches, the Braves are eyeing San Francisco Giants pitching ace Madison Bumgarner to add to their rotation.

Though Bumgarner is not what he used to be, he has something most pitchers on the Braves staff lack, postseason experience.  Bumgarner won three World Series titles with the Giants.  Currently the Giants are in last place in the NL West.

Bumgarner recently returned from an AC joint sprain.  Though he will need some time to recover to his best form, Madison can take some of the leadership burden off of Dallas Keuchel.  This will allow them to both lead the Braves’ young and talented pitching rotation.

There is one downside of going after Madison Bumgarner however.  If he is injured again, it could be a waste of resources for the Braves.  The Braves are also looking for great pitchers such as Trevor Bauer of the Indians and Zach Wheeler of the Mets.

The message is clear, the Braves need to find a great starting pitcher on a struggling team and acquire their services before the trade deadline.  The trade deadline is July 31st.

Donaldson homers, scores go-ahead run in Braves’ 7-5 win

Atlanta Braves’ Tyler Flowers watches his two-run double during the 10th inning of the team’s baseball game against the San Diego Padres, Saturday, July 13, 2019, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

Associated Press

SAN DIEGO — Josh Donaldson and the Atlanta Braves have opened the second half at full speed.

Donaldson hit a two-run homer in the first inning and then scored the go-ahead run on Ozzie Albies‘ single with one out in the 10th, and the Braves held on for a 7-5 victory over the San Diego Padres on Saturday night.

The game was full of big plays, particularly in the late innings for the Braves, who won for the fifth time in six games.

Sean Newcomb (3-1) struck out rookie Fernando Tatis Jr. to end the ninth with two runners on. Nick Markakis made a nice catch against the right-field wall of Frankie Mejia’s fly ball with two runners on in the 10th.

Manager Brian Snitker said the win ranks “Right up there. Especially here. That was an exciting game. A very exciting game. It was a big win for us.”

By taking the first two games of the three-game set, the Braves won a series in San Diego for the first time since 2011.

“It’s definitely one of those momentum games you take going into the second half,” Newcomb said. “Coming out winning two games and winning one like that definitely gives us a boost.”

Donaldson, who scored three runs, started the winning rally when he drew a leadoff walk against Luis Perdomo (1-2). He advanced on Markakis’ groundout and scored when Albies singled to right. Tyler Flowers added a two-run double.

Donaldson hit a two-run homer in the first and has three homers and six RBI in the two games here. Ronald Acuna Jr. homered for the second straight night.

Donaldson “plays with emotion,” Snitker said. “That was a big walk. He’s had some really, really good at-bats. He’s an emotional guy and wants to win really bad. He plays with a lot of emotion and that’s good. He fits right in here.”

Luke Jackson struggled to get his 16th save. He allowed Manny Machado‘s second homer of the game with one out in the 10th and loaded the bases with two outs before striking out Perdomo on a full-count pitch to end it.

With two runners on, Markakis made a nice catch of Francisco Mejia‘s drive to the right-field wall.

“I thought it was out when he hit it,” Snitker said.

Machado hit his 22nd homer in the first and his 23rd in the 10th. Mejia also homered.

“Offensively, he’s a hardened soul,” manager Andy Green said about Machado.

The Padres “gave ourselves a chance there at the end, finally put some good at-bats together consecutively late in the game,” Green said. “Just not enough solid hard contact.

“I think you just look at the story of the game for us from a pitching perspective. Leadoff walks in innings crushes us. It crushes every team. Those are things we can’t do if we’re going to be a good baseball team. We did that three times today and it cost us.”

Padres All-Star Kirby Yates blew the save when he allowed Austin Riley‘s sacrifice fly for a 4-all tie in the eighth. Yates came on after Gerardo Reyes issued a leadoff walk to Donaldson, who advanced on Markakis’ single and Albies’ grounder before scoring on the sac fly.

Yates was trying for his first six-out save.

San Diego went ahead 4-3 with two outs in the seventh when Manuel Margot stole home after Tatis broke for second and drew a throw to first from left-hander A.J. Minter. First baseman Freddie Freeman‘s throw home was high and Margot slid in to score, but was stepped on by catcher Tyler Flowers. Margot stayed in the game. Tatis had been intentionally walked.

After Mejia homered leading off the fifth to tie it at 2, the Padres went ahead without the benefit of another hit. Margot followed with a walk and advanced to third when Flowers had a passed ball and threw wildly for an error while trying to get Margot at second. Julio Teheran hit Greg Garcia with a pitch and then allowed a sacrifice fly by rookie pinch-hitter Josh Naylor.

Acuna tied it with a two-run shot off Craig Stammen with two outs in the seventh, his 23rd.

Donaldson gave the Braves a 2-0 lead with his shot to right-center off left-hander Joey Lucchesi that was estimated at 400 feet. It was his 21st.

Machado hit a line shot to left estimated at 413 feet with two outs in the bottom of the inning.

Lucchesi allowed two runs and three hits in five innings, struck out four and walked two.

Teheran allowed three runs, two earned, and three hits in six innings while striking out six and walking one.

QBS IN THE HOUSE

Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints and Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks were at the game. Brees and his family have an offseason home in the San Diego area.

UP NEXT

Braves: Rookie RHP Mike Soroka (9-1, 2.42) is scheduled to start Sunday’s series finale. He pitched six strong innings to beat the Padres 3-1 on April 29 at Atlanta.

Padres: Rookie RHP Cal Quantrill (2-2, 4.83) will face the Braves for the second time. He made his MLB debut May 1 at Atlanta, throwing 5 2/3 innings of two-run ball but losing 5-1.

More AP MLB: HERE and TWITTER.

Donaldson, Acuna Jr. homer in Braves’ 5-3 win vs Padres

Atlanta Braves’ Ronald Acuna Jr. reacts after hitting a home run during the fifth inning of the team’s baseball game against the San Diego Padres, Friday, July 12, 2019, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

By BERNIE WILSON
SAN DIEGO (AP) — Josh Donaldson and Dallas Keuchel provide a 1-2 veteran punch on an Atlanta Braves team that’s otherwise loaded with young stars.

Donaldson homered twice and drove in four runs, Ronald Acuna Jr. had a 455-foot shot and Keuchel pitched seven strong innings to lead the NL East-leading Braves to a 5-3 victory against the San Diego Padres on Friday night.

Keuchel (3-2) held San Diego to one run and six hits, struck out five and walked four in his fifth start since signing as a free agent on June 7. He also started the Braves’ final game before the All-Star break, pitching 7 1/3 strong innings in a win against Miami.

“It’s just the consistency, reliability,” manager Brian Snitker said. “He’s one of those guys when he toes rubber, you feel like you’re going to win the game. Never any panic, he kind of stays in the moment, goes pitch-to-pitch, hitter-to-hitter, and it’s pretty good.

“It’s awesome for me. For me, it’s the first time I’ve had one of those,” Snitker said. “We’ve had really good starts, really good pitchers, but he’s got a track record. Everybody else is developing their track record.”

Keuchel only mistake was allowing a homer to Manny Machado leading off the sixth, his 21st. Luke Jackson allowed a run in the ninth en route to his 15th save.

Keuchel has gone at least seven innings in each of his last three starts.

“It shows my stamina is there, so that’s really the main key,” Keuchel said. “Even going up to hit a couple times a game, really takes a lot out of you, even though I struck out twice with some heaters. Just little things in the course of the game that I wasn’t used to, I didn’t know what to expect, coming over to the National League again, but I feel like I’m there. I’d like to push into the eighth or ninth innings one of these next couple of outings. Obviously I’ve got to do well enough to get there, but I’d like to finish a game here pretty soon.”

Padres manager Andy Green said Keuchel did a good job of “avoiding barrels and keeping the ball out of the air. We hit some balls hard throughout the day. I think we scorched some double-play balls today. .. We just didn’t come through with that big hit at any point.”

Donaldson hit his 19th and 20th homers. It was his 18th career multihomer game and second this season.

Donaldson and Acuna hit impressive home runs off Dinelson Lamet (0-2), who was pitching at home for the first time since the 2017 season. He missed all of 2018 after undergoing Tommy John surgery and returned on July 4, when he pitched well in a loss at the Los Angeles Dodgers.

After Dansby Swanson doubled and Freddie Freeman walked with one out in the first, Donaldson drove a pitch 400 feet to right-center.

Acuna, the NL Rookie of the Year in 2018, led off the fifth with an impressive shot to left-center, his 22nd.

Donaldson connected again off reliever Matt Strahm with two outs in the eighth.

“We’ve seen him earlier. When he gets hot, he’s that kind of guy who can carry you,” Snitker said.

Donaldson was the AL MVP with Toronto in 2015, the same year Keuchel won the AL Cy Young Award with Houston.

“It’s nice. I feel we played a really good game overall,” Donaldson said. “Keuchel set the tone, did a great job. I was fortunate enough to put a couple good swings on some pitches and put them out of the park.”

Lamet allowed four runs and five hits in five innings, struck out seven and walked two.

“I felt good overall despite how the game turned out,” he said through a translator. “That’s what gives me some sort of hope, some confidence knowing it’s two starts back and the more hitters I’m seeing, the more comfortable I’m going to get.

“I’m trying to execute pitches and when I don’t execute pitches and they make contact on the ones that I miss on, that’s what makes me mad.”

UMPIRE INJURED

Home plate umpire Dana DeMuth left the game after being hit on the left arm by a foul ball by Freddie Freeman in the first inning. After an 11-minute delay, Angel Hernandez moved from first base to behind the plate and the game continued with a three-man crew.

DEBUT

Padres reliever Andres Munoz made his MLB debut with an impressive scoreless sixth in which he was above 100 mph with several pitches, including one clocked at 101.9 mph. He walked Nick Markakis before getting Austin Riley to ground into a double play and then struck out Brian McCann.

UP NEXT

Braves: RHP Julio Teheran (5-6, 3.75) is scheduled to start

Padres: LHP Joey Lucchesi (7-4, 3.94) is scheduled to make his 18th start.

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Atlanta visits San Diego, aims to build on Keuchel’s solid performance

FILE – Dallas Keuchel prepares to throw a pitch in an early appearance as an Atlanta Brave. (Photo – AP FILE)

By The Associated Press

Atlanta Braves (54-37, first in the NL East) vs. San Diego Padres (45-45, third in the NL West)

San Diego; Friday, 10 p.m. EDT

PITCHING PROBABLES: Braves: Dallas Keuchel (2-2, 3.60 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 12 strikeouts) Padres: Dinelson Lamet (0-1, 5.40 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 7 strikeouts)

BOTTOM LINE: Atlanta heads into the matchup after a dominant performance by Dallas Keuchel. Keuchel threw 7 1/3 innings, surrendering two runs on five hits with four strikeouts against Miami.

The Padres are 23-24 in home games. San Diego has slugged .430 this season. Fernando Tatis Jr. leads the club with a .620 slugging percentage, including 28 extra-base hits and 14 home runs.

The Braves are 26-18 on the road. Atlanta’s team on-base percentage of .333 is sixth in the majors. Freddie Freeman leads the team with an OBP of .387.

TOP PERFORMERS: Eric Hosmer leads the Padres with 100 hits and is batting .287. Tatis Jr. is 13-for-40 with a double, a triple, five home runs and eight RBIs over the last 10 games for San Diego.

Freeman leads the Braves with 23 home runs and has 68 RBIs. Ozzie Albies is 12-for-32 with five doubles, two home runs and seven RBIs over the last 10 games for Atlanta.

LAST 10 GAMES: Padres: 5-5, .230 batting average, 4.35 ERA, outscored by eight runs

Braves: 6-4, .265 batting average, 3.89 ERA, outscored opponents by 12 runs

Padres Injuries: Adam Warren: 10-day IL (forearm), Robert Stock: 10-day IL (bicep), Garrett Richards: 60-day IL (elbow), Jacob Nix: 60-day IL (elbow), Aaron Loup: 60-day IL (elbow), Brett Kennedy: 60-day IL (shoulder), Jose Castillo: 60-day IL (hip), Travis Jankowski: 60-day IL (foot), Franchy Cordero: 60-day IL (quad).

Braves Injuries: Anthony Swarzak: 10-day IL (shoulder), Darren O’Day: 60-day IL (forearm), Kevin Gausman: 10-day IL (foot), Ender Inciarte: 10-day IL (lumbar strain).

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The Associated Press created this story using technology provided by Data Skrive and data from Sportradar.

Culberson’s ‘clutch’ throw saves Braves’ 4-3 win over Miami

Atlanta Braves catcher Brian McCann pulls back from the tag as Miami Marlins catcher Jorge Alfaro, left, is out sliding home during the ninth inning of a baseball game Sunday, July 7, 2019, in Atlanta. The Braves won 4-3. (AP Photo/John Amis)

By CHARLES ODUM

ATLANTA (AP) — Charlie Culberson has only a lukewarm acceptance of his “Charlie Clutch” nickname.

Culberson only made the moniker more difficult to shed with his game-saving throw to the plate in the ninth inning against Miami.

Josh Donaldson capped his strong first-half finish by hitting a two-run homer and Culberson’s defensive play helped the Atlanta Braves escaped a bases-loaded jam in the ninth to beat the Miami Marlins 4-3 on Sunday.

With no outs and the bases loaded, Culberson caught Neil Walker’s fly ball in left field and threw out Jorge Alfaro at the plate .

“I got chill bumps,” Culberson said of hearing the fans’ reaction to the plate.

Culberson has hit .323 as a pinch-hitter this season and has hit eight pinch-hit homers since the start of 2018, tied for the most in the majors, to earn the “clutch” nickname.

“I like it,” Culberson said. “I just hope people don’t hold me to it every single day.”

The Braves are 10-2 against the Marlins this season and 24-7 the past two seasons.

Atlanta led 4-0 before Garrett Cooper hit a three-run homer off Chad Sobotka in the eighth.

Miami then loaded the bases with no outs in the ninth. Alfaro led off the inning with an infield hit off Braves closer Luke Jackson. Alfaro was called out at first base before the ruling was overturned after a review. Harold Ramirez singled up the middle before Yadiel Rivera popped up a bunt that landed behind Jackson for an infield hit, loading the bases.

Atlanta Braves left fielder Charlie Culberson comes off the field to applause of fans after a baseball game against the Miami Marlins, Sunday, July 7, 2019, in Atlanta. Culberson threw out Miami Marlins Jorge Alfaro at home plate for a double play after catching a Neil Walker lined fly in centerfield in the ninth inning of a game which the Braves won 4-3. (AP Photo/John Amis)

Culberson, a late-inning defensive replacement, caught Walker’s fly ball while running toward center field. His momentum caused him to fall after making the throw.

After making the tag, Braves catcher Brian McCann pumped his fist and pointed to Culberson.

The out call at the plate was upheld after a review. Marlins manager Don Mattingly said he wanted a review because he thought McCann was blocking the plate.

“I don’t know where the rule went or maybe I don’t understand it because when we looked at the replay McCann is standing on home plate and then he goes directly to taking home plate completely away with nowhere to slide,” Mattingly said, adding ”… in that scenario Jorge should have cleaned his clock.”

The replay showed McCann had his right foot in front of the plate and his left foot on the middle of the plate as he caught Culberson’s throw.

Jackson walked Curtis Granderson, again loading the bases, before ending the game on Miguel Rojas’ fly ball to center field. Jackson earned his 14th save.

Donaldson applauded Culberson’s catch and throw and McCann’s tag.

“He made a great throw,” Donaldson said. “Great tag. Great all around. Great execution.”

Freddie Freeman’s bloop single off Trevor Richards in the third drove in Ronald Acuña Jr. for a 1-0 lead. Donaldson then hit a high fastball over the right-center field wall for his 200th career homer, his 18th this season.

Donaldson has hit 10 homers since June 11. He helped the Braves hit a franchise-record 143 homers before the All-Star break.

Dallas Keuchel (2-2) allowed two runs in 7 1/3 innings. The left-hander was lifted after walking pinch-hitter Brian Anderson and giving up a single to Rojas with one out in the eighth. Sobotka struck out César Puello before giving up Cooper’s three-run homer.

Richards (3-10) allowed four runs and six hits and five walks, matching his season high, in five innings.

Nick Markakis had three hits, including a run-scoring single in the fifth. Acuña had a career-high three walks.

The start of the game was delayed 26 minutes by rain.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Marlins: Anderson (elbow contusion) may be cleared for a return to the lineup following the All-Star break after being limited to pinch-hitting in the three-game series. He has missed five straight starts.

Braves: SS Dansby Swanson (sore left quadriceps) was 0 for 5 after missing the first two games of the series.

HOMERS FOR ALL

Donaldson is one of five Atlanta players with more than 15 homers. Ozzie Albies finished the first half with 14 homers, one shy of making the Braves the first team in major league history to have six players hit 15 homers before the All-Star break. Freeman (23), Acuña (21), Swanson (17) and Austin Riley (16) have more than 15. Acuña will participate in Monday’s All-Star Home Run Derby.

SERIES WIN

The Braves are 10-2 in decisive games of three-game series this season, including five straight wins, and 7-0 in those decisive games at home. The Braves are 8-0-1 in their past nine series.

UP NEXT

Marlins: Mattingly has not announced his rotation for a three-game home series against the New York Mets following the All-Star break, beginning on Friday.

Braves: Keuchel, RHP Julio Teheran (5-6, 3.75) and RHP Mike Soroka (9-1, 2.42) will be Atlanta’s starters for their three-game series at San Diego, beginning on Friday.

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More AP MLB: HERE and TWITTER.

Swanson, Albies helps Braves rally to beat Phillies 12-6

Atlanta Braves third baseman Josh Donaldson (20) follows through on a home run in front of Philadelphia Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto (10) during the fourth inning of a baseball game Thursday, July 4, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

ATLANTA (AP) — Home runs have created separation between two contenders in the NL East.

The Braves keep hitting homers and stretching their division lead. The Phillies keep giving up long balls — and this time it cost them a spot in the standings.

Dansby Swanson hit two homers and drove in five runs, and Atlanta rallied from a first-inning, four-run deficit to beat Philadelphia 12-6 on Thursday night.

Ozzie Albies gave Atlanta the lead with a three-run homer in the third.

The Braves hit five homers overall, giving them a combined eight in winning the final two games of the three-game series.

Swanson said the early 4-0 deficit meant “nothing.”

“It doesn’t change anything,” Swanson said. “It’s not how we look at the game. We just continue to go out and play our game.”

The Phillies, who finished May with a three-game lead in the NL East, dropped to third place in the division, behind Atlanta and Washington.

“We don’t have our heads down or anything,” said Zach Eflin, who lasted only three innings, giving up seven runs, six earned. “We know how good we can be.”

The Phillies scored four runs on six hits in the first inning off All-Star Mike Soroka, but the Braves charged back against Eflin. Soroka didn’t allow another run while Eflin allowed two runs in the first, two in the second and three in the third.

Soroka earned praise after regrouping from the long first inning. “That might have been your best outing of the year,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said he told Soroka when he walked to the mound in the fifth to take the rookie out of the game.

Phillies pitchers have given up 150 home runs, the most in the NL. The Braves have hit 140 homers to rank third in the NL. Atlanta took advantage of Philadelphia’s weakness to quickly overcome the four-run deficit against Eflin (7-8).

“This level of play, we can’t keep it going,” said Phillies manager Gabe Kapler. “We’ve got to do a better job than this and the first thing we’ve got to get a handle on is keeping the ball in the ballpark.”

Atlanta Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson (7) rounds third base after hitting a home run in the first inning of the team’s baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies on Thursday, July 4, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Swanson started the comeback with a homer to center with one out in the first , and Nick Markakis added a run-scoring double. Swanson’s double in the second drove in Ronald Acuña Jr. for the tying run before Albies’ go-ahead, three-run shot in the third.

Freddie Freeman and Josh Donaldson hit back-to-back homers off Édgar García in the fourth, giving Atlanta a 9-4 lead. After Philadelphia cut Atlanta’s lead to 9-6, Swanson hit a three-run homer off Austin Davis in the eighth. Davis was recalled from Triple-A Lehigh Valley earlier in the day.

Philadelphia’s Sean Rodríguez hit a pinch-hit homer off Grant Dayton in the sixth.

Soroka, 21, was pulled one out before he could qualify for his 10th win. The rookie allowed four runs and nine hits with two walks in 4 2/3 innings. He will take a 2.41 ERA into the All-Star Game.

A.J. Minter (3-4) pitched a perfect seventh to earn the victory.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Phillies: RHP Juan Nicasio was placed on the 10-day injured list with a strained left groin. The injury was announced after Nicasio gave up three runs while recording only one out in Wednesday night’s 9-2 loss. Kapler said the strain is “pretty mild.” … Kapler said Wednesday’s exam on RHP Seranthony Domínguez (right elbow) “went really well.”

BE BACK SOON

Because the Braves won’t need a fifth starter until after the All-Star break, RHP Bryse Wilson was optioned to Triple-A Gwinnett. Wilson, who allowed two runs in six innings in Wednesday night’s win, is scheduled to be recalled to face Milwaukee on July 16. Dayton was recalled from Gwinnett.

LONG BALL

The Braves’ 140 homers are tied for the franchise record before the All-Star Game. The 2003 Braves also hit 140 homers before the break.

INFIELD POWER GAME

Every Braves infielder hit a homer in the same game for the first time in Atlanta franchise history, according to research provided to the Braves by STATS LLC. The last time every Braves infielder hit a homer in a game was Sept. 19, 1961, when the franchise was based in Milwaukee. First baseman Joe Adcock, second baseman Frank Bolling, third baseman Eddie Mathews and shortstop Roy McMillan hit homers.

UP NEXT

Phillies: RHP Vince Velasquez (2-5, 4.73) will face RHP Jacob deGrom when Philadelphia opens a series at the New York Mets on Friday night.

Braves: Atlanta continues its string of nine consecutive games against NL East opponents when it opens a three-game series against Miami with RHP Julio Teheran (5-6, 3.99) facing RHP Jordan Yamamoto (3-0, 2.35).

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Donaldson leads HR parade as Braves beat Pivetta, Phillies

Atlanta Braves’ Josh Donaldson (20) follows through on a three-run home run as Philadelphia Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto (10) looks on in the fourth Inning of a baseball game Wednesday, July 3, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

By CHARLES ODUM

ATLANTA (AP) — The Atlanta Braves may have found new help for their starting rotation, just in time to possibly influence their trade deadline plans.

Rookie Bryse Wilson allowed only two runs in six innings, Josh Donaldson and Austin Riley hit three-run homers off Nick Pivetta and the Braves solidified their NL East lead by beating the Philadelphia Phillies 9-2 on Wednesday night.

Donaldson’s homer gave Atlanta a 3-0 lead in the fourth. Following Riley’s blast, Matt Joyce added a pinch-hit, two-run homer off Juan Nicasio in Atlanta’s six-run sixth.

Atlanta leads second-place Philadelphia by 5 ½ games after splitting the first two games of the series.

Wilson (1-0) gave the depleted rotation a boost in only his fourth career start, including three this season.

The rotation has lost Mike Foltynewicz, a 2018 All-Star who was sent to Triple-A Gwinnett on June 22, and Kevin Gausman, who was placed on the injured list on June 11 with plantar fasciitis in his right foot. Wilson, who opened the season in Atlanta before being sent back to the minors, was needed even following the recent addition of Dallas Keuchel.

Wilson’s outing could impact the team’s trade outlook. There has been much speculation the Braves could attempt to add another veteran starting pitching before the July 31 trade deadline. Now Wilson showed he may be an option to remain in Atlanta.

“That was a really encouraging, positive outing right there,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said.

Wilson, who gave up four earned runs in a loss at Chicago on Thursday, relied heavily on his fastball against the Phillies.

“To get the results I was looking for was really nice,” Wilson said, adding that beating the division-rival Phillies “just makes it that much more special.”

Bryce Harper hit a line-drive homer to left field in the sixth. It was his 200th career homer and 1,000th career hit. According to the Phillies, it marked the first time in major league history a player reached milestones in hits and homers on the same swing.

Harper, aware of the significance of the homer, signaled for the ball as he ran around the bases. He had his wish granted by a fan who threw the ball back onto the field.

“I got lucky I got some nice fans out there to throw it back to me,” Harper said, adding he enjoyed the double milestone on one homer.

Wilson, 21, faded in the sixth, when he allowed Harper’s 16th homer, Rhys Hoskins’ double to left field and J.T. Realmuto’s run-scoring single to left. Realmuto was thrown out at second to end the inning after Hoskins scored to cut Atlanta’s lead to 3-2.

The Braves pulled away with six runs on seven hits in the bottom of the sixth. Pivetta (4-3) allowed six runs, five earned, in 5 2/3 innings.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Phillies: RHP David Robertson, trying to return from right elbow soreness, threw 19 pitches in the bullpen. He hasn’t pitched since April 14. Robertson threw his fastball “with more conviction” according to manager Gabe Kapler. … RHP Jerad Eickhoff (right biceps tendinitis) will play catch on Friday. … Nicasio suffered a mild left groin strain while giving up three runs and recording only one out. He will be evaluated Thursday.

HIGHLIGHT CATCHES

Scott Kingery made two highlight-worthy catches in center field. He raced in to catch a sinking liner hit by Nick Markakis in the sixth and made a diving snag of Donaldson’s fly ball in the right-center gap in the seventh. Atlanta’s Ronald Acuña Jr. also made a diving catch of Jean Segura’s drive to the right-center gap in the eighth.

DON’T LOOK NOW

The Phillies are only one-half game ahead of third-place Washington in the division. Harper, the former Nationals star, isn’t surprised his old team is moving up. “I think we all knew that was going to happen,” he said.

SELLOUT

The sellout of 40,147 set a Wednesday record for SunTrust Park. All five games against the Phillies have been sellouts.

UP NEXT

Phillies: RHP Zach Eflin (7-7, 3.34 ERA) is 2-0 with a 1.57 ERA in three career starts against the Braves. He has not faced Atlanta this season.

Braves: All-Star RHP Mike Soroka (9-1, 2.13) will be the second straight rookie to face the Phillies as the three-game series ends.

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Nola, Bruce power Phillies past Braves

Atlanta Braves pitcher Dallas Keuchel delivers to a Philadelphia Phillies batter during the first inning of a baseball game Tuesday, July 2, 2019, in Atlanta. (Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)

By GEORGE HENRY

ATLANTA (AP) — Aaron Nola wanted to make up for his most recent start against the Braves, a no-decision last month in which he gave up five runs in 4 1/3 innings.

This time, Nola had full command of his fastball, and the deep Atlanta lineup couldn’t solve him.

“That’s a big win tonight for us, especially over here against these guys,” Nola said. “They’ve been playing really good this past month to month and a half. Winning the first game of a series is always big.”

Nola pitched eight innings, Jay Bruce hit a two-run double and the Philadelphia Phillies spoiled Dallas Keuchel’s home debut with Atlanta, beating the Braves 2-0 on Tuesday night.

Nola (7-2) allowed four hits, struck out eight and walked three in his second consecutive scoreless outing. He threw a career-high 117 pitches before Héctor Neris finished for his 17th save in 19 chances, striking out the side.

The second-place Phillies, winners of six of eight, trimmed the Braves’ NL East lead to 4½ games in front of the seventh sellout at SunTrust Park this season. Atlanta, shut out for just the second time this season, dropped two in a row for the first time since June 5-6, a span of 24 games.

It marked the sixth time this year that the Braves, whose 56 homers in June set a franchise high for a calendar month, were held to four or fewer hits.

″(Nola) didn’t throw many heaters and when he did throw one it was perfectly placed in a spot where he was setting up his off-speed,” Braves All-Star first baseman Freddie Freeman said. “Sometimes good pitchers shut down good offenses.”

Philadelphia went ahead to stay in the fourth. With two out and runners on first and second, Bruce doubled to right to give him 22 RBIs in 23 games with the Phillies.

Keuchel (1-2) allowed five hits in seven innings in his third start with the Braves.

“One pitch got me tonight, but I was able to get through seven,” Keuchel said. “Seven’s really the benchmark for me. I don’t really feel whole unless it’s seven-plus, so that’s what I strive for every time out.”

But it wasn’t good enough against Nola, who has been dominant of late.

The ace right-hander, who was still hitting 95 mph on the radar gun in the eighth, has a 0.39 ERA over his last three starts. He is 9-3 with a 2.26 ERA in 15 career starts versus Atlanta.

“He proved that he could go deeper into the game,” Philadelphia manager Gabe Kapler said. “He proved that his body was bouncing back for him, that he could handle the volume and that he was staying in his delivery. He ended it just the way an ace does.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Phillies: C J.T. Realmuto went 1 for 3 and scored on Bruce’s double after he tested his left hamstring by running the bases before the game. He left Sunday’s win at Miami in the sixth inning.

Braves: RHP Anthony Swarzak, on the 10-day injured list with shoulder inflammation, underwent an MRI that showed no structural damage. Manager Brian Snitker said Swarzak appears on schedule to return July 12 when Atlanta begins a three-game series at San Diego. … CF Ender Inciarte has started a rehab assignment and will need a couple weeks before he’s ready to return from a lumbar strain.

MOURNING

Kapler is grieving the loss of Los Angeles Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs, who died Monday at 27. Kapler and Skaggs, both California natives, were part of a group of players who worked out at Pepperdine University in the winters of 2007 and ’08.

“Tyler Skaggs was a friend of mine, somebody I worked out with for several offseasons,” Kapler said. “It is a really sad time for baseball. We lost someone who’s honest, open, caring, humble and hard-working. He was all those things. Our thoughts and condolences go out to him and the Angels family. It’s a big loss.”

UP NEXT

Phillies: RHP Nick Pivetta (4-2, 5.63 ERA) has a 6.35 ERA in two starts against Atlanta this year.

Braves: RHP Bryse Wilson (0-0, 8.31 ERA) gave up four runs and five hits and walked four in 3 1/3 innings against the Chicago Cubs last week.

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