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LEADING OFF: Braves' Riley homers in debut, Bell streaking
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LEADING OFF: Braves' Riley homers in debut, Bell streaking

LEADING OFF: Braves' Riley homers in debut, Bell streaking
Photo Credit: Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP
Atlanta Braves outfielder Austin Riley gets high fives in the dugout hitting a solo home run during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals, Wednesday, May 15, 2019, in Atlanta. (Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)

LEADING OFF: Braves' Riley homers in debut, Bell streaking

A look at what's happening around the majors today:

SMASHING START

Atlanta prospect Austin Riley was quite a hit in his big league debut, connecting for a home run in his second at-bat. The 22-year-old Riley tagged Michael Wacha in a win over St. Louis.

Riley was promoted from Triple-A, where he was leading the International League with 15 homers and 39 RBIs. Normally a third baseman, he started in left field Wednesday night and figures to see time there for a while.

His homer came in front of his parents and a group of 40 family and friends who quickly made the drive from his native Mississippi to SunTrust Park.

Riley and the Braves wrap up the series against Cardinals star Adam Wainwright.

RING, RING

Josh Bell brings his one-man power show to the West Coast when the Pittsburgh Pirates open a series in San Diego. Riding a career-best 15-game hitting streak, the switch-hitting first baseman is batting .333 with 12 homers, 14 doubles and 39 RBIs in a bounce-back season.

Nobody else on the Pirates has more than four of their 35 home runs. Last year, Bell batted .261 with 12 homers and 62 RBIs in 148 games.

NOW HITTING ... AND PITCHING

Shohei Ohtani and his two-way skills have some company in the Angels' clubhouse. Called up from the minors, Jared Walsh hit three singles in his major league debut Wednesday while playing first base at Minnesota. Walsh, who like Ohtani is a pitcher and a hitter, was a 39th-round draft pick in 2015. He batted .302 with 10 homers and 26 RBIs in 37 games for Triple-A Salt Lake and allowed two runs in five innings as a left-handed reliever.

AILING

Tigers star Miguel Cabrera could return to the lineup when Oakland begins a series at Comerica Park. He didn't play Wednesday night against Houston because of a sore knee, missing a chance to hit against former teammate Justin Verlander.

"I'm pretty sure he was chomping at the bit to get a piece of Verlander," Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Sometimes that's not always a good antidote for soreness."

The 36-year-old Cabrera is hitting .282 with one home runs and 15 RBIs in 40 games.

WINLESS IN WASHINGTON

Aníbal Sánchez (0-6, 5.27 ERA) is still looking for his first win with the Nationals after signing a $19 million, two-year contract as a free agent last offseason.

The 35-year-old right-hander starts the rubber match of a three-game series against the NL East rival Mets. The only starting pitcher in Nationals history (2005-present) to open a season 0-7 was Jason Marquis in 2010. Zack Wheeler (3-2, 4.35) is on the mound for New York. He is 4-9 with a 5.01 ERA in 15 career starts against Washington.

___

For more AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://apnews.com/AP_Sports

Read More

Georgia Sports News

  • The No. 14-ranked Georgia softball team hopes to heat up along with the weather in Minneapolis in NCAA regional action on Monday. The Bulldogs (41-18) are scheduled to resume play at 10 a.m. Monday batting in the top of the fifth inning with runners on first and second and one out leading Drake   4-2 in an elimination game. The game was suspended on Saturday night and rain on Sunday pushed back the resumption of play to Monday. If Georgia holds on to beat Drake (43-15), it advances to play host Minnesota at noon. The NCAA tournament No. 7-seed Golden Gophers beat the Bulldogs last Friday by a 2-1 count in eight innings, rallying from 1-0 down in the bottom of the seventh inning. RELATED: Minnesota cools off Georgia in extra innings The Bulldogs would have to beat the Golden Gophers twice on Monday to advance to Super Regional play, where they’d travel to play LSU. All 13 SEC softball teams made the NCAA tournament (Vanderbilt does not have a team). Six of those league teams have advanced to NCAA Super Regional play. Georgia is in the only regional where all four teams had 40 regular-season wins, and the Bulldogs have also been battling the elements. UGA opened the tournament last Thursday beating Drake 6-4 on Ciara Bryan’s walk-off home run. WATCH: Ciara Bryan lifts Georgia with a blast over the fence! Temperatures dropped int0 the 40s when UGA played Minnesota last Friday, adding to the Golden Gophers home field advantage. Temperatures on Monday are expected to rise from the 30s into the 60s.       The post Georgia softball aims to heat up in Minnesota, survive for Super Regionals appeared first on DawgNation.
  • Kentucky is taking aim at Georgia football this season with hopes of ending a streak of futility, according to a recent Lexington Herald Leader story. The Bulldogs have dominated the SEC East Division the past two seasons. None of the East teams have managed to stay within single digits on the scoreboard by the conclusion of games against UGA in 2017 or 2018. RELATED: Georgia’s march to SEC Championship Game goes through Kentucky The Wildcats, as noted by Lexington Herald Leader reporter Mark Story, have a nine-game losing streak to Georgia, which he refers to as UK’s ‘bogeyman’ Kentucky has recently broken notable losing streaks to Steve Spurrier-coached teams (17 games, 2010), Tennessee (26 games, 2011) and last season in Dan Mullen’s first season coaching Florida, the Gators (31 games). Last year’s Kentucky team was confident it would end the streak against Georgia. UK was practically celebrating before playing UGA, taking out an ad in Times Square while rejecting the underdog role. RELATED: Confident Kentucky ready for UGA challenge at Kroger Field “The days of us being an underdog team are over,” UK tailback Benny Snell had said in the days leading up to the game. Georgia, of course, won the game and the Wildcats’ reality has set in this offseason. Story writes: “Of all the good works Stoops has done at UK, the Kentucky head man is 0-6 against the Bulldogs. Other than a 27-24 loss to Georgia in Lexington in 2016 during Kirby Smart’s first season after replacing Mark Richt  as Bulldogs coach, none of the games have been close. Under Stoops, UK’s other five losing margins against Georgia have been 42, 32, 24, 29 and 17 points.” Of course, this is why reports that Smart had offered Eddie Gran the offensive coordinator position once Jim Chaney left for Tennessee this offseason were suspect. After all, Kentucky’s offense ranked 103rd in the nation in total offense — well behind Georgia (18th). DawgNation learned that while a position on the staff was discussed, it was not to become the offensive coordinator, and no job was offered. RELATED: UGA did not offer Gran coordinator or position coach duties Meanwhile, it only made sense Gran would leverage his interview with Smart for a pay raise at Kentucky. If his athletic director and fan base believed Smart would hire him to be Georgia’s OC, all the better for him. But Smart had worked hard to keep James Coley in the fold as assistant offensive coordinator the season before, paying him $850,000. RELATED: James Coley puts his spin on Georgia football offense Coley was quickly elevated to offensive coordinator the same week Chaney left for the Vols, getting a $100,000 salary bump to $950,000. Georgia plays host to Kentucky in Sanford Stadium on Oct. 19 this season. The Bulldogs bring a four-game win streak against South Carolina into this season, and a three-game win streak against Missouri.       The post Georgia football called ‘bogeyman,’ giving SEC East opponent case of the blues appeared first on DawgNation.
  • Tom Barlow scored his first MLS goal to help the short-handed New York Red Bulls beat Atlanta United 1-0 on Sunday night and snap Atlanta's MLS-record streak of five consecutive shutouts. Atlanta United (6-4-2), which had 66.9% possession and outshot the Red Bulls 12-6, conceded its first goal since a 2-1 loss to FC Dallas on April 20. New York (5-5-2) played a man down after Tim Parker was shown a red card for denial of a goal-scoring opportunity by Josef Martinez in the 35th minute and was without Bradley-Wright Phillips and Aaron Long. Wright-Phillips, the Red Bulls' goals leader in each of the last five seasons, missed his fifth consecutive game with groin injury and Long, the reigning MLS Defender of the Year, missed his second straight with a hamstring injury. Daniel Royer, on the right side, played a long arcing ball to the far post where Barlow, who made his second career appearance when he came on in the 55th minute, side-netted a rolling header to make it 1-0 in the 65th minute. Luis Robles had two saves in his second clean sheet of the season for the Red Bulls. His 65 career shutouts are eighth most in MLS history. New York has won four of its last five games. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
  • The Georgia’s women tennis team fell barely short in its bid to win a national championship. The Bulldogs advanced all the way the NCAA finals, but they were swept 4-0 by Stanford, the defending national champions. UGA finishes the year with a 28-2 record, with the other loss being to South Carolina during the regular season. Ironically, the Bulldogs defeated Stanford 4-3 this past February. Georgia and Stanford has now met four times to play for the NCAA championship, with each team winning twice. With no seniors on the roster, UGA will be heavily favored to return to the finals. The post UGA women’s tennis falls just short in bid to win national championship appeared first on DawgNation.