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Wright helps Braves blank Mets 4-0 for 5th straight win

By The Associated Press

ATLANTA — Kyle Wright and the Atlanta bullpen combined on a 10-hit shutout and the Braves won their fifth in a row, beating the Mets 4-0 Sunday and blanking a New York lineup that found out late that slugger Yoenis Céspedes had opted out of playing any more this season.

The Mets released a statement from general manager Brodie Van Wagenen in the early innings that Céspedes wasn’t at the ballpark and the team hadn’t been able to contact him.

After the game, Van Wagenen said: “He’s decided to opt out of the remainder of the season for COVID-related reasons.”

A two-time All-Star, the 34-year-old Céspedes returned to the lineup this season for the first time since July 20, 2018, after a series of injuries.

The Braves sent New York to its fifth straight loss.

Wright worked around five hits and four walks in 3 1/3 innings. Relievers Tyler Matzek (1-0), A.J. Minter, Shane Greene and Mark Melancon combined for 5 2/3 scoreless innings.

New York’s David Peterson (1-1) went six innings, striking out eight.

Dodgers 3, Diamondbacks 0

PHOENIX — Clayton Kershaw threw 5 2/3 sharp innings in his season debut for Los Angeles, and NL MVP Cody Bellinger hit his first home run of the season.

Mookie Betts homered and doubled before leaving early because of a finger injury on his left hand. The Dodgers won three times in the four-game series, and have taken five of six overall.

Kershaw (1-0) gave up three hits. The three-time Cy Young Award winner was supposed to make his ninth opening day start on July 23, but was scratched hours before the game because of a back injury.

Kenley Jansen got three outs for his second save.

Reds 4, Tigers 3, Game 1

Reds 4, Tigers 0, Game 2

DETROIT — Trevor Bauer struck out seven in a two-hitter, giving the Reds a sweep of Major League Baseball’s first seven-inning doubleheader.

Shogo Akiyama hit an RBI single in the top of the seventh that sent the Reds to the victory in the opener.

MLB recently decided to use doubleheaders of seven-inning games, which have been commonplace in the minor leagues and colleges, to help teams alleviate an expected crush of twinbills caused by weather and coronavirus-related postponements.

Bauer (1-0) threw 111 pitches. Detroit starter Daniel Norris (0-1) allowed two runs and four hits in 1 2/3 innings.

Nick Castellanos homered twice and drove in three runs for Cincinnati in the opener against his former team. But his three-base error in right field with the bases loaded in the sixth allowed Detroit to tie the game.

Reliever Tyler Alexander had kept the Tigers in it by striking out the first nine batters he faced, tying the American League record for consecutive strikeouts. His streak ended in the top of the sixth, one short of Tom Seaver’s major league record, when he hit Mike Moustakas with a 1-2 pitch. Moustakas left the game with a forearm injury.

Raisel Iglesias (1-1) got the win in the opener. Joe Jimenez (0-1) was charged with the loss.

Astros 6, Angels 5, 11 Innings

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Alex Bregman hit an RBI single in the 11th inning, helping Houston rally for the win.

Bregman also homered, and Josh Reddick delivered the tying RBI single in the ninth as the Astros took two of three at Angel Stadium. Blake Taylor (1-0) retired Brian Goodwin on a soft fly to center with the bases loaded to end it.

Albert Pujols hit a grand slam for the Angels, who got another rocky start from Shohei Ohtani in his first home mound appearance since June 2018. Jacob Barnes (0-2) got the loss.

Athletics 3, Mariners 2

SEATTLE — Ramon Laureano broke out of a slump with a three-run homer, and Chris Bassitt became the first Oakland starter to earn a victory this season.

Laureano’s two-out drive in the fifth snapped a string of 23 1/3 innings by Mariners starters without allowing an earned run and helped the A’s win their second game in a row after a three-game losing streak.

Bassitt (1-0) struck out seven while working 5 2/3 innings of one-run ball. Liam Hendriks got three outs for his third save.

Seattle’s Kendall Graveman (0-2) was charged with two runs and three hits in 4 2/3 innings.

Cubs 2, Pirates 1, 11 Innings

CHICAGO — Javier Báez singled through a drawn-in infield in the 11th inning, scoring David Bote from third base and giving the Cubs the win.

Bote, who made the last out in the 10th, started the inning on second base as mandated by Major League Baseball’s extra-inning rule for the pandemic-shortened season. He advanced to third on a deep fly to right by Anthony Rizzo and jogged home on Baez’s first career game-ending hit against Cody Ponce (0-1).

Jeremy Jeffress (1-0) worked a scoreless 11th for the win.

The game was delayed 64 minutes by rain before the bottom of the ninth.

Chicago has won 10 straight games against Pittsburgh at Wrigley Field.

Orioles 5, Rays 1

BALTIMORE — Hanser Alberto doubled in the tiebreaking run in the seventh inning, Renato Núñez and Pat Valaika homered, and Baltimore beat Tampa Bayto complete a three-game sweep.

After the final out, the Orioles celebrated (with proper social distancing) their first series sweep since Aug. 27-29, 2018, against Toronto, and first against Tampa Bay since 2016.

Brandon Lowe homered for the Rays, who have dropped five straight to fall two games under .500 (4-6) for the first time since June 28, 2018 (39-41). Jalen Beeks (0-1) was charged with the loss.

Evan Phillips (1-0) pitched the seventh to earn his first major league win, and Cole Sulser picked up his third save as part of a Baltimore bullpen that held the Rays hitless over four innings.

White Sox 9, Royals 2

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — White Sox prospect Nick Madrigal had the first four hits of his promising big league career, including two during a seven-run seventh inning, and Chicago finished a three-game sweep.

Yasmani Grandal added three RBIs for the White Sox in support of right-hander Dylan Cease (1-1), who gave up a homer to Alex Gordon in the third inning but otherwise steered clear of trouble.

Scott Barlow (1-1) took the loss for the Royals on a second straight terrible outing by their bullpen.

Twins 3, Indians 1

MINNEAPOLIS — Mitch Garver hit his first home run of the season and Minnesota used its bullpen to string together a two-hitter, taking the four-game series from its primary division competitor.

Max Kepler doubled and scored in each of his first two at-bats, and Jorge Polanco and Nelson Cruz drove him in with singles in the first and third. Garver, who had a career-high 31 homers in 2019, went deep in the second as the Twins built a 3-0 lead against Aaron Civale (1-1).

The defending AL Central champions allowed four runs in the four-game set against the Indians, winning three of them to raise their record to 7-2.

Devin Smeltzer (1-0) worked 2 2/3 innings for the win.

Rockies 9, Padres 6

DENVER — Antonio Senzatela pitched six innings of one-run ball for Colorado, and designated hitter Matt Kemp homered for a second straight game.

The Rockies moved to 6-2, which is tied for the team’s second-best start in franchise history. They began 7-1 in 1995.

A comfortable eight-run lead nearly evaporated for Colorado. The Padres scored four in the eighth and another in the ninth to make it 9-6. With two outs and a runner on second, the Rockies called in Jairo Diaz, who got Manny Machado to fly out on the first pitch for his first save of the season.

Senzatela (2-0) struck out six to help the Rockies take two of three from the Padres.

San Diego’s Zach Davies (1-1) allowed three runs over five innings.

Rangers 9, Giants 5

SAN FRANCISCO — Joey Gallo hit a three-run homer in the seventh inning, helping the Rangers avoid a three-game sweep.

Shin-Soo Choo also went deep for Texas. Scott Heineman had a pair of hits, including a two-run double, and Jeff Mathis added an RBI single.

Evan Longoria and Chadwick Tromp homered for San Francisco. Tromp’s was the first of his career, Hunter Pence tripled to snap a season-opening 0-for-23 funk.

Jonathan Hernandez (2-0) pitched two scoreless innings for the win. Andrew Triggs (0-1) got the loss, walking three consecutive batters on 14 pitches to open the seventh.

Angels recover after giving up late lead, beat Astros in 10

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Matt Thaiss scored on Michael Hermosillo’s bases-loaded sacrifice fly in the 10th inning, and the Los Angeles Angels snapped their three-game skid with a 5-4 victory over the Houston Astros on Saturday night.

Jason Castro delivered a tying RBI double in the ninth for the Angels, who improved the majors’ worst record to 3-6 despite blowing a two-run lead in the ninth.

David Fletcher hit a leadoff single in the 10th off Nivaldo Rodriguez (0-1), sending Thaiss to third. After the Astros walked Anthony Rendon to load the bases, Thaiss scored on Josh Reddick’s inaccurate throw from medium right field.

Angels reliever Noé Ramirez got two outs in the 10th, and Ryan Buchter (2-0) struck out Abraham Toro with the bases loaded in a rare bright moment for the Halos’ struggling relievers.

Orioles 5, Rays 4, 11 Innings

BALTIMORE — Pinch-hitter Pat Valaika singled in the winning run in the 11th inning, and Baltimore handed Tampa Bay its fourth straight loss.

Newcomer Brian Holaday scored the deciding run after making a sensational diving catch in the top of the 11th to start an inning-ending double play. Holaday was added to the roster to replace Richard Bleier, who was traded after midnight on Saturday.

Holaday advanced from second to third on a sacrifice bunt off Oliver Drake (0-2), and with two outs came home on Valaika’s opposite-field liner to right off Chaz Roe.

Travis Lakins (1-0) pitched the 11th to earn his first major league win.

Yankees 5, Red Sox 2

NEW YORK — Gio Urshela hit his first big league grand slam, Aaron Judge homered for a career-high fourth straight game and New York won its fifth straight.

Nick Nelson (1-0) pitched three hitless innings to win his major league debut. At 6-1, the Yankees are off to their best start since 2003.

Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka made his season debut after recovering from a concussion sustained when he was hit in the head by Giancarlo Stanton’s line drive during practice on July 4. Tanaka lasted just 2 2/3 innings and 51 pitches, tiring in his second time through the order.

David Hale finished the six-hitter for his third career save, his first this year.

Judge homered in the first inning off Zack Godley (0-1), a 455-foot drive to left-center. Urshela hit his second homer of the season an inning later for a 5-0 lead.

Twins 3, Indians 0

MINNEAPOLIS — Miguel Sanó homered twice and Kenta Maeda pitched six scoreless innings in his home debut for Minnesota.

Eddie Rosario added a solo homer for the Twins, who got another strong start from a veteran newcomer to its starting rotation. Maeda (2-0) retired 13 of the first 14 batters he faced and didn’t allow a hit until Bradley Zimmer beat out a weak ground ball to second base in the fifth inning.

Carlos Carrasco (1-1) gave up six hits in six innings for Cleveland and was done in by three solo home runs from the Twins.

Maeda, acquired in an offseason trade from the Dodgers, was one of three key additions to strengthen Minnesota’s rotation along with Rich Hill and Homer Bailey.

Braves 7, Mets 1

ATLANTA — Ronald Acuña Jr. shook off a slow start by driving in two runs with two hits, including his first homer, and Atlanta won its fourth straight.

The Mets have lost four straight, including the first two games of the four-game series between the NL East rivals.

Marcell Ozuna hit a two-run homer, his third, off Michael Wacha (1-1) in the first inning.

Acuña led off the game with his 18th strikeout, the most in the majors, before emerging from his funk. He doubled in a run in the second for his first RBI as the Braves stretched the lead to 5-0. Acuña lined his first homer into the left-field seats in the sixth off right-hander Franklyn Kilome.

Josh Tomlin (1-0) pitched 2 1/3 perfect innings with three strikeouts for the win.

White Sox 11, Royals 5

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Gio Gonzalez made his first start for the hot-hitting Chicago White Sox more than 16 years after they drafted him, and the veteran responded by holding the Kansas City Royals scoreless into the fourth inning.

Eloy Jimenez hit a three-run homer and finished with a career-high four hits, and rookie Luis Robert had four hits while finishing a triple shy of the cycle, leading a White Sox barrage of 21 hits in all. Leury Garcia also pounded out four hits, Yoan Moncada added three and Yasmani Grandal had a pair of hits while driving in two runs.

That was plenty of support for Gonzalez, who scattered five hits and three walks while striking out six in 3 2/3 innings. Matt Foster (1-0), one of six White Sox relievers, got the win.

Much of Chicago’s damage came off spot starter Ronald Bolanos (0-2), who allowed five runs in 1 2/3 innings.

Whit Merrifield hit a two-run homer for the Royals. .

Rockies 6, Padres 1

DENVER — Kyle Freeland pitched six innings of two-hit ball and was backed by the superb defense of Trevor Story and Nolan Arenado as Colorado beat San Diego.

Freeland (2-0) allowed a two-out single to Tommy Pham in the first and then retired 13 in a row before Francisco Mejia’s double in the sixth. The left-hander struck out four and walked one in throwing an economical 83 pitches.

Story contributed at the plate as well with a solo shot in the fourth. It was his second straight game with a homer. Matt Kemp hit a solo homer in the third for the Rockies.

Padres lefty Joey Lucchesi (0-1) had a forgettable outing in going 1 2/3 innings and giving up three runs.

Trent Grisham homered to center in the eighth off Rockies reliever Yency Almonte.

Dodgers 11, Diamondbacks 2

PHOENIX — Chris Taylor hit a three-run homer, A.J. Pollock and Edwin Ríos added two-run shots and Los Angeles rolled past Arizona.

The bottom of the Dodgers’ order showed big power in the fourth inning when Ríos — who was hitting seventh — smashed a two-run homer over the 413-foot sign in center field. Two batters later, Matt Beaty ripped another homer that barely stayed fair down the right-field line.

D-backs starter Luke Weaver (0-2) took the loss after giving up six runs in four-plus innings.

The Dodgers broke the game open with a five-run fifth when the first six batters reached base on Weaver and reliever Yoan López. Justin Turner hit a two-run triple and Pollock added a two-run homer as Los Angeles pushed its lead to 8-2. Taylor’s three-run homer in the eighth made it 11-2.

Dodgers starter Julio Urías (1-0) gave up two runs over six innings while striking out five.

Cubs 4, Pirates 3

CHICAGO — Tyler Chatwood matched a career high with 11 strikeouts in another terrific performance, and Chicago used the long ball to beat Pittsburgh.

Javier Báez, Kyle Schwarber and Ian Happ hit home runs as Chicago won for the fifth time in six games. The Cubs have homered in each of their first eight games for the first time since 1958. Schwarber’s two-run shot in the eighth made it 4-0.

Chatwood (2-0) departed after Pittsburgh loaded the bases with two out in the seventh. Jeremy Jeffress came in and retired Phillip Evans on a grounder to third.

The Pirates got three in the ninth on Colin Moran’s two-run homer off Kyle Ryan and Gregory Polanco’s run-scoring groundout. But Rowan Wick got pinch hitter José Osuna to bounce into a fielder’s choice for his third career save.

The Pirates finished with six hits in their fourth loss in five games. Pittsburgh also lost Mitch Keller (1-1) in the third inning because of left side discomfort.

Athletics 3, Mariners 2,

10 Innings

SEATTLE (AP) — Pinch-hitter Robbie Grossman lined an RBI double to score Tony Kemp in the top of the 10th inning to lift Oakland.

The A’s snapped a three-game losing streak, escaping a major jam in the bottom of the ninth inning before Grossman came through in the 10th. Hitting for Ryan Murphy, Grossman lined a pitch from Dan Altavilla (1-1) into the right-center field gap to easily score Kemp.

Liam Hendriks pitched the 10th for his second save of the season.

Oakland’s Joakim Soria (1-0) escaped a jam in the ninth after Seattle loaded the bases with one out. Soria struck out Jose Marmolejos and Shed Long Jr. to send the game to extra innings, leaving pinch-runner Dee Gordon stranded at third base.

Oakland trailed 2-0 until Chad Pinder’s two-out, two-run home run in the seventh inning off Seattle reliever Nick Margevicius.

Giants 7, Rangers 3

SAN FRANCISCO — Donovan Solano hit a two-run single for an early lead and San Francisco overcame an injury to starting pitcher Drew Smyly.

Smyly experienced discomfort in his left index finger while pitching to Rob Refsnyder leading off the fifth. The lefty was pulled and Caleb Baragar (2-0) later recorded the final out in the inning.

Todd Frazier hit a two-run single in the first for Texas and Evan Longoria’s two-run double tied it in the bottom half. Solano’s single made it 4-2 in the third.

Mike Yastrzemski drew a bases-loaded walk — one of his four free passes — In the sixth to give the Giants insurance and Solano singled in another run in the eighth.

Jordan Lyles (0-1) walked five and allowed four runs on three hits in four innings making his first start of the year for Texas.

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