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Acu a homers, shines defensively, Braves beat Mets 5-3
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Acu a homers, shines defensively, Braves beat Mets 5-3

Acu a homers, shines defensively, Braves beat Mets 5-3
Photo Credit: Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Atlanta Braves' Ronald Acuna Jr. leads off first base during the first inning of the team's baseball game against the New York Mets on Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019, in Atlanta. (Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)

Atlanta Braves catcher Brian McCann tags out New York Mets' Todd Frazier at the plate on a throw from Ronald Acuna Jr. during the sixth inning of a baseball game Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019, in Atlanta. (Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)

Atlanta Braves second baseman Ozzie Albies (1) hauls in a fly ball from New York Mets third baseman J.D. Davis (28) in the third inning of a baseball game Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Atlanta Braves third baseman Josh Donaldson (20) drives in a run with a base hit in the first inning of a baseball game against the New York Mets Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Max Fried (54) works against the New York Mets in the first inning of a baseball game Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

New York Mets starting pitcher Zack Wheeler (45) works in the first inning of a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

A fan has Atlanta Braves mascot Blooper's likeness painted on his face before a baseball game between the New York Mets and the Atlanta Braves Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

New York Mets starting pitcher Zack Wheeler (45) wipes his face between batters in the first inning of a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Acu a homers, shines defensively, Braves beat Mets 5-3

ATLANTA (AP) - Ronald Acu a Jr. heard chants of "MVP! MVP! MVP!" as he trotted off the field in the sixth inning, tipping his cap to the crowd when he reached the dugout.

Maybe the Atlanta fans are on to something.

It was another dazzling all-around night for the 21-year-old phenom, who scored his 100th run after smashing one off the wall, hit another one into the seats, and showed off his dazzling arm with a bullet of a throw to the plate.

Acuna's heroics carried Max Fried to his fifth straight win, leading the Braves past the New York Mets 5-3 on a sweltering Tuesday night.

"It's kind of normal for me now," Fried said. "He's a tremendous player and he plays hard every night."

With Atlanta under a heat alert and the temperature at 94 degrees for the first pitch, the Braves cooled down a New York team that had won 15 of its last 17 games to surge into playoff contention.

Acu a sparked a two-run first against Zack Wheeler by leading off with a long single off the wall in right-center, coming around to score his 100th run of the season on Josh Donaldson's single. In the fourth, the youngster lined a 409-foot drive into the left-field seats for his 34th homer.

He wasn't done, either. Acu a ended the sixth by scooping up a single to left by Juan Lagares and rifling a one-hop throw to the plate to get Todd Frazier trying to score from second.

"His arm is a weapon," manager Brian Snitker said.

The Mets have lost two in a row for the first time since July 18-19 at San Francisco.

Wheeler (9-7) took the blame. The suburban Atlanta native was pounded for 12 hits and all five Atlanta runs before he was lifted after the fifth.

"I just didn't have it," Wheeler said. "It stinks. We're on this run and I really didn't give us a chance. This one's on me."

Fried (14-4) went six strong innings, surrendering his lone run in the second after plunking Wheeler with a two-out, two-strike pitch. Jeff McNeil followed with a run-scoring single.

That was it for the Mets against Fried, who threw exactly 100 pitches, surrendering six hits and three walks.

The Braves' shaky bullpen, coming off a grim weekend in Miami, protected the lead even though Shane Greene was charged with two more runs while retiring just one hitter in the eighth. The former Detroit closer has a 14.55 ERA since coming to Atlanta in a trade-deadline deal.

Luke Jackson worked a perfect seventh and Mark Melancon, another trade-deadline acquisition, went 1-2-3 in the ninth for his first save with the Braves and second of the season.

"It was cool," said Melancon, who was coming off an awful outing against the Marlins. "I had goosebumps coming out of the bullpen."

Atlanta maintained a six-game lead over Washington in the NL East, while the Mets dropped nine games back.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Mets: A tough night got even worse for New York in the ninth inning. Hustling down the line on an infield grounder, All-Star second baseman Jeff McNeil pulled up with a left hamstring injury just as he reached the bag. McNeil slammed down his helmet in obvious frustration and trudged slowly off the field accompanied by a trainer. "I didn't feel it pop," McNeil said. "Just a little snag. Nothing crazy." One of the NL's top hitters with a .332 average, McNeil will undergo an MRI on Wednesday to determine the seriousness of the injury. "Hopefully it's not too bad," he said. "Maybe it's just a cramp."

Braves: Rookie slugger Austin Riley will not need surgery on his injured right knee and expects to return to the Braves' lineup in about two weeks. The outfielder went on the 10-day injured list Aug. 5 after spraining his knee during a workout. ... The outlook is not as promising for Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson, who continues to rehab a bruised right foot that already has kept him out far longer than expected. He went on the IL retroactive to July 24 and still is not sure when he'll be able to return.

ROSTER MOVES

New York recalled RHP Drew Gagnon from Triple-A Syracuse for this third stint with the team this season.

Gagnon is 3-1 with a 7.65 ERA in the big leagues. The Mets returned RHP Chris Mazza (0-1, 5.19 ERA in four games) to Syracuse.

The Braves also made a roster move before the game. OF Rafael Ortega was called up from Triple-A Gwinnett, where he was hitting .285 with 21 homers.

To make room for Ortega, the Braves optioned RHP Patrick Weigel to Gwinnett. He has been with Atlanta for eight days over two brief stints, but has yet to make his major league debut.

UP NEXT

Steven Matz (7-7, 4.49) will take the mound for New York in the second game of the series, facing Atlanta's Dallas Keuchel (3-5, 4.83) in a matchup of left-handers. Matz is coming off a strong outing against the Marlins, surrendering two runs over 6 2/3 innings in a 7-2 victory. Keuchel was roughed up by Miami in his last start, giving up eight runs, 10 hits and three homers in 3 2/3 innings.

___

Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963 His work can be found at https://apnews.com

___

More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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Georgia Sports News

  • NEW YORK (AP) - Just about every newcomer to the Atlanta Braves has made an immediate impact lately. Francisco Cervelli fit right in Saturday night. The newly signed catcher had three hits and three RBIs in his Atlanta debut, and the Braves beat the New York Mets 9-5 for their seventh straight victory. 'He was excited about getting here - and it showed,' Braves manager Brian Snitker said. Ronald Acu a Jr. hit a tiebreaking single in the eighth inning, and recent addition Billy Hamilton dashed home with another run on the play thanks to a mental lapse by Mets left fielder J.D. Davis. Freddie Freeman launched his career-high 35th home run in the ninth. Freeman, who began the day leading the majors in RBIs, increased his season total to 105. Along with Cervelli and Hamilton, substitute shortstop Adeiny Hechavarr a was picked up off the scrap heap (from the Mets) not long ago. That trio and three key relievers acquired at the July 31 trade deadline have given the Braves a huge boost over the past two nights and beyond. 'All the new guys were - golly!' Snitker said. Ozzie Albies and Josh Donaldson also went deep for the NL East leaders, each connecting on a solo shot in the third off starter Zack Wheeler. Atlanta improved to 10-5 this year against the Mets, who remained two games behind the Chicago Cubs for the second NL wild card. Rookie slugger Pete Alonso matched a Mets record with his 41st home run, a three-run shot that put New York ahead 5-4 in the fifth after trailing 4-0. But third baseman Todd Frazier was unable to snag Cervelli's hard one-hopper in the sixth, a two-base error that led to Cervelli scoring the tying run on Rafael Ortega's single. After recovering from yet another concussion, Cervelli played his first major league game since May 25. The veteran backstop stroked a two-run double on the second pitch he saw for a 2-0 lead in the second. 'I was playing like a little kid,' Cervelli said. 'That's all that matters, man. From now on, just enjoy every game, every opportunity, and do what I have to do.' He singled his next time up and added an RBI double to deep center in the ninth. 'Hasn't played in three months, comes out and gets three knocks. Just makes it look that easy,' Hamilton said. From his knees, Cervelli also threw out Amed Rosario trying to steal second in a tie game in the seventh. 'After he got that hit in the second inning I just said, 'Well, just get a new guy every single day,'' Freeman said, adding that the recent additions are energizing the entire clubhouse. 'It's been pretty amazing.' Cervelli, released Thursday by Pittsburgh, signed with the Braves earlier Saturday to help fill in with Brian McCann on the injured list. Josh Tomlin (2-1) tossed two scoreless innings for the win. Ortega sparked Atlanta's two-out rally in the eighth with a single against Brad Brach (4-4) that went off the glove of a leaping Jeff McNeil at second base. The speedy Hamilton followed with a pinch-hit single and scored from third when Davis held the ball after Acu a's single and then lobbed it back to the infield, drawing boos from the crowd of 38,300. 'This is definitely fun. I keep getting a chance to play and I keep having fun with it,' said Hamilton, who hit a go-ahead single in the 14th inning of Friday night's victory for his first hit with Atlanta. Davis called it a 'helpless' feeling.' 'That's my fault. I should be throwing into (Rosario at shortstop) right away instead of picking up the runner at first,' Davis said. Atlanta starter Max Fried, handed a 4-0 lead and looking for his 15th win, allowed five runs and seven hits in five innings. Wilson Ramos extended his hitting streak to 18 games for the Mets, the longest active streak in the majors. KID DYNAMITE Alonso had the souvenir ball in a plastic case after becoming the first rookie to tie his team's home run record since Hall of Famer and former Mets broadcaster Ralph Kiner did it for the Pirates with 23 in 1946, according to STATS. Todd Hundley (1996) and Carlos Beltran (2006) also hit 41 home runs in a season for the Mets. 'It's surreal,' Alonso said. 'That moment was really special. I couldn't have dreamed it up any better.' The slugger also has 100 RBIs, making him the first Mets player to reach the plateau since David Wright had 103 in 2010. 'Really cool,' Alonso said. SPOTLESS Atlanta's bullpen has fired 24 consecutive scoreless innings. The relievers are 5-0 with three saves and a 0.34 ERA during the winning streak. TRAINER'S ROOM Braves: Dansby Swanson (bruised right foot) was scheduled to play shortstop in his third rehab game at Class A Rome. ... LF-3B Austin Riley (right knee sprain) was set to play left field for the first time on his rehab assignment at Rome. Mets: McNeil, the NL batting leader, was reinstated from the injured list after missing 10 days with a strained left hamstring. With the score tied, he delivered a pinch-hit double on the first pitch he saw leading off the seventh but was thrown out trying to advance to third on a grounder to shortstop. McNeil remained in the game and singled in the ninth. ... Mets reliever Edwin D az, who gave up Freeman's homer, exited with tightness in his back and neck area. He said he doesn't think it's serious. ... Backup catcher Tom s Nido was placed on the seven-day injured list with a concussion and the club selected the contract of veteran catcher Ren Rivera from Triple-A Syracuse. Reserve outfielder Aaron Altherr was designated for assignment. ... OF Brandon Nimmo (neck) had a day off on his rehab assignment at Syracuse. UP NEXT LHP Dallas Keuchel (4-5, 4.14 ERA) tries to pitch Atlanta to a three-game sweep Sunday afternoon. LHP Steven Matz (8-7, 4.18) goes for the Mets. ___ More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
  • Feleipe Franks threw a costly interception just after the Gators stopped Miami on defense. The camera immediately cut to Steve Spurrier. The former Florida coach was less than impressed by what the Florida quarterback did on first down no less. Steve Spurrier watching Feleipe Franks play Quarterback pic.twitter.com/VsR8B6yKPx Big Cat (@BarstoolBigCat) August 25, 2019 The interception was Franks' second of the game. He also had a fumble in the redzone earlier in the game as well. Franks did score three touchdowns, including a go-ahead rushing touchdown in the fourth quarter to give the Gators the lead. But this has not been a great night for the Florida quarterback. Franks has also been seen chirping with fans on the sideline during the game. It has been an incredibly sloppy game from both Florida and Miami. The Florida defense has bailed out the Gators offense, as Florida has sacked Miami quarterback Jarren Williams 9 times. The Gators and Bulldogs meet on Nov. 2 in Jacksonville, Fla. If the Franks plays like he did against the Hurricanes, Georgia should be celebrating a third-straight win over the Gators. The post LOOK: Steve Spurrier has priceless reaction to Feleipe Franks interception appeared first on DawgNation.
  • Florida played poorly in the first half of its season-opener against Miami. The Gators trailed 13-7, giving a touchdown just before halftime. Florida also fumbled the ball twice, including once in the red zone. Georgia fans loved watching the Gators struggle in the first half, as Florida is seen as the top threat to the Bulldogs in the SEC East. The post Georgia football fans laughing at Florida's poor first half appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ORLANDO, Fla. Florida has not yet received a ruling on the eligibility of former Georgia football outside linebacker Brenton Cox. Gators athletic director Scott Stricklin told DawgNation that Florida is still waiting for more information on the appeal that has been filed for Cox to have immediate eligibility. White Cox won't dress or play against Miami in the Gators' 7 p.m. Saturday opener against Miami, he has worked hard to impress his new teammates in Gainesvillefrom all indications. A recent social media post provided evidence of Cox's positive mindset. All these shots I'm takin, they must not know I'm Bulletproof #Themanforever pic.twitter.com/t7gfnJhI70 Brenton Cox Jr. (@Brenton_cox) August 12, 2019 Cox's transfer from Georgia was a whirlwind. The former 5-star recruit from Stockbridge, Ga., was signing autographs at UGA's Fan Day on Aug. 3, reportedly parted from the team on Aug. 4, announced his transfer on Aug. 5 and was signing autographs at Florida Fan Day on Aug. 10. RELATED: Brenton Cox enters transfer portal Georgia coach Kirby Smart seemed to take the Cox transfer in stride when asked about it on Aug. 10, Smart's first media availability after the transfer took place. ' Concerns? I don't know about that,' Smart said. 'Brenton chose to withdraw from the University of Georgia, going into the portal. He's now at another SEC institution so we wish him nothing but the best and we appreciate his contributions while he was here.' The 6-foot-4, 245-pound Cox had 20 tackles and a sack last season, appearing in 13 of the Bulldogs' 14 games. Cox had a career-high six tackles in the 28-21 Sugar Bowl loss to Texas, making his only career start in place of injured All-SEC linebacker D'Andre Walker. It was a tough season for Cox, who struggled with containment responsibilities, most notably after Walker was injured in the SEC Championship Game before Alabama's comeback. Things grew more challenging for Cox in the spring, when he was arrested on April 2 for misdemeanor marijuana possession. RELATED: Brenton Cox speaks out after marijuana arrest Georgia coach Kirby Smart disciplined Cox and Robert Beal who was also arrested on misdemeanor possession in part by making them run steps during a scrimmage. RELATED: Details emerge on misdemeanor arrest of Brenton Cox The Bulldogs have not had any off-field incidents reported since. For Cox, it may prove to be as simple as needing a fresh start. Cox has impressed his new teammates in Florida's fall camp. 'Elusive guy, great off the ball,' tailback Lamical Perine told Florida's Rivals.com site, Gators Territory. 'He's just a guy we glad to have, and he came from Georgia, so I'm pretty sure they kind of salty about that. Hey, we'll take him. He's a great guy.' Receiver Trevon Grimes was even more impressed. 'He's phenomenal; he's good, he's fast, he's quick,' Grimes said. 'He actually has some move that I've never seen before a spin move, like reversal, crazy. 'He's just gonna help our O-line get better.' No doubt, that's the sort of performance Cox's high school resume has suggested. A 2018 Under Armour All-American, Cox was named to the 2017 All-State Class 5A First Team defense by the AJC and the Associated Press. Cox was an ESPN.com five-star prospect, #11 in the ESPN 300, #8 overall prospect in the Southeast, #5 ranked DE nationally, #3 overall prospect in Georgia. RELATED: Breaking down the 8 Georgia football offseason transfers The post Former Georgia football linebacker Brenton Cox won't dress for Florida-Miami game appeared first on DawgNation.
  • NEW YORK (AP) - Francisco Cervelli caught on with a playoff contender, just as he hoped. The first-place Atlanta Braves signed Cervelli to a one-year contract Saturday and immediately plugged the veteran catcher into the starting lineup against the New York Mets. After recovering from his latest concussion, it was his first game in the majors since May 25. 'The only way he's going to get to know these guys is to catch 'em,' Braves manager Brian Snitker said. About two hours before the game, Cervelli said he was still waiting for his catching equipment to arrive at Citi Field. But on the second pitch he saw in his first at-bat, he laced a two-run double into the left field corner for a 2-0 lead. He added a sharp single his next time up. Cervelli, who has a long history of concussions, was granted his release Thursday by the last-place Pittsburgh Pirates after telling them he wanted to hook on with a big league team that had playing time to offer and a chance to reach the postseason. He gives the NL East leaders a proven replacement for injured catcher Brian McCann, sidelined earlier in the week by a sprained left knee. 'It's amazing,' Cervelli said. 'My only mission here is win. I'm wired that way.' Atlanta will pay Cervelli $110,403, a prorated portion of the $555,000 major league minimum. That is offset against his $11.5 million salary in the final season of the $31 million, three-year contract with Pittsburgh that he was released from. The 33-year-old Cervelli joined the Braves at Citi Field and batted seventh against Mets right-hander Zack Wheeler. Snitker said Cervelli will split playing time with Tyler Flowers behind the plate and likely remain with the club when McCann returns because by then rosters will have expanded in September. 'He's got skills. He's a good little catcher,' Snitker said. 'While Mac's out, he's going to be nice little pairing with Tyler.' Cervelli dealt with multiple concussions this season and batted .193 with one home run and five RBIs in 34 games for the Pirates. He recently completed a minor league rehab assignment that began Aug. 11 at Double-A Altoona in the Pittsburgh organization. He played one game there and then caught six games at Triple-A Indianapolis. 'I'm not a little kid anymore, so I kind of know exactly what I need and how many games,' Cervelli said. 'I've been working so hard besides the game for a long time to get back at my best.' Cervelli acknowledged that two months ago, he was a little jittery about catching again after his most recent concussion in May. A report suggested he didn't plan to go back behind the plate, but Cervelli insisted he didn't say that - someone else did. After working out in the infield, he moved back to catcher in the minors. He said he was bored at other positions and threw away his infield glove. 'I'm not a baseball player. I'm a catcher,' he said. 'I've been doing it for 17 years and that's all I'm going to do. And, I like to be behind the plate. It sounds crazy, but I like to get hit and do my thing. So, I'm here now.' He said he quietly underwent a new therapy with a new doctor and is feeling good. 'I put everything I had,' said Cervelli, the Pirates' opening day catcher each of the past five years. Cervelli began the night a .269 career hitter with 36 home runs and 261 RBIs in 700 major league games. His .362 on-base percentage in 450 games with Pittsburgh was second among big league catchers during that span to San Francisco's Buster Posey (.368). To make roster room for Cervelli, the Braves optioned catcher Alex Jackson to Triple-A Gwinnett and transferred left-hander Grant Dayton to the 60-day injured list. Cervelli, from Venezuela, spent the first seven years of his career with the New York Yankees and played in 42 games for the 2009 World Series champions. 'I feel like a lucky man,' he said. 'Just the fact that I went to Triple-A and played baseball. It doesn't matter what it is. I played there like a kid again, and now I feel more grateful just to get picked up by a team who is in first place and they like to win. That's the whole idea.' ___ AP Baseball Writer Ronald Blum contributed to this report. ___ More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports