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el of frustration and I dont think that is un

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el of frustration and I dont think that is un

Postby kaisy on Tue Sep 17, 2013 2:05 am

SEATTLE -- The Atlanta Braves first took down the pitcher with the best earned-run average in baseball over the past two months, then rallied to beat one of the top rookies in either league. And for a capper: the Braves knocked around reigning AL Cy Young Award winner Felix Hernandez. Talk about an impressive three-game sweep. "You never thought you would sweep a series against those guys," Atlanta rookie Freddie Freeman said. "We battled against those pitchers and came out on top." Freeman got to Hernandez for three hits and two RBIs, and the Braves beat Seattle 5-3 on Wednesday for their third consecutive victory against one of the Mariners best starting pitchers. The Braves won for the eighth time in 10 games and picked up their 25th road victory of the season. They handed losses to Hernandez, rookie star Michael Pineda and Ottawa native Erik Bedard during their rare trip to Seattle. Freeman played a key role in the opener with a tiebreaking homer off Bedard and again came through against Hernandez (8-7). He started a two-out rally in the fourth inning, punching a single into left and scoring on Brooks Conrads grounder back up the middle. Freeman then capped the Braves three-run fifth with a two-run single to right. "Its a challenge and I like challenges," Freeman said about facing pitchers like Hernandez. "I dont know if my concentration level goes up or what but its fun. Its a challenge for me and thats what you live for." Derek Lowe (4-6) pitched six crisp innings for Atlanta, yielding one run and four hits to earn his first win since May 6 at Philadelphia. The right-hander was 0-3 with a 5.29 ERA in his previous nine starts. Eric OFlaherty followed Lowe with a perfect seventh, including Ichiro Suzuki swinging meekly at a third strike. Jonny Venters gave up a two-run homer to prized rookie Dustin Ackley with two outs in the eighth -- the first extra-base hit by a lefty against Venters this season. Manager Fredi Gonzalez said the Braves will watch closely the amount of work Venters is getting, concerned about fatigue. Venters made his 46th appearance on Wednesday. "I feel fine. Its just a rough stretch," Venters said. "Im not making pitches and theyre making me pay for it." Craig Kimbrel then finished for his 23rd save in 28 chances, including all three games in the sweep. Seattle (39-42) got an uneven performance from Hernandez and lost for the seventh time in nine games to fall three under .500 for the first time since May 21. The right-hander was knocked around for 10 hits, the fourth time in his last five starts hes allowed eight or more hits. Hernandez was cruising early, retiring 11 of the first 12 batters -- including six strikeouts. But the Braves eventually got it going at the plate. Freeman, Dan Uggla and Conrad had consecutive singles -- none sharply hit, but all well placed -- to give the Braves a 1-0 lead. Then Hernandez lost control in the fifth, throwing a pair of wild pitches that allowed Nate McLouth to score following a leadoff walk. Jordan Schafer singled and Jason Heyward also walked in the inning ahead of Freemans two-run single. The Braves added another run in the seventh when Brian McCann continued his hot hitting with an RBI single. Surprisingly, Hernandez remained in the game until he walked McLouth with two out in the eighth on his 127th pitch -- his second-highest total of the season. Each of the 10 hits he allowed were singles. "A lot of the ground balls were up the middle," Hernandez said. "Im not mad about the game. I made good pitches." Seattles scuffling offence also continued to struggle. Lowe had allowed 13 earned runs in his previous three starts but the Mariners only got to him for Josh Bards RBI single in the fifth. Lowe knew he had to be on his game with Hernandez on the other side. "I could not let the game get out of hand," Lowe said. "The early innings were important for me to keep it close." Seattle manager Eric Wedge was ejected by home plate umpire Paul Emmel in the second inning after he became upset when Jack Cust was called out on a low third strike. It was his second ejection of the season. NOTES: Bard was selected from triple-A Tacoma early Wednesday when C Chris Gimenez was placed on the 15-day disabled list. Seattle also selected C Jose Yepez from Tacoma and placed LHP Bedard on the DL with a sprained left knee. Bedard lost Monday nights series opener against the Braves. ... Lowe had been receiving the second-lowest run support in the National League before Wednesday. ... Atlantas Alex Gonzalez snapped an 0-for-19 skid with a single in the seventh inning. Brandon Marshall Jersey . Harden scored 17 of his 30 points in the fourth quarter, and the Rockets rallied to win their fifth straight, 87-84 over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday night. Hardens drive to the basket gave Houston (16-12) an 85-84 lead with 39 seconds left. Brandon Marshall Youth Jersey . After winning 23 straight at Joe Louis Arena, the Red Wings have now lost two in a row there. The latest setback was a 4-3 defeat to the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday night. . Torontos goal is to put some big bodies in front of the six-foot-three Boston goalie who stopped 45 shots in the Bruins 5-2 playoff win Monday night. Brandon Marshall Elite Jersey . One day after being released by the Winnipeg Blue Blue Bombers, Jeffers-Harris has been added to the practice roster of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and will be at practice on Friday, two days ahead of the Eastern Final between the two teams. Brandon Marshall Black Jersey . Hudson (2-0) allowed one run, walked none and struck out three in improving his lifetime record against Washington to 15-5. Not only did the right-hander outpitch Strasburg, but he also got two singles off Washingtons hard-throwing ace.TORONTO -- Toronto Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos didnt hesitate when asked what his teams biggest need is heading into the off-season. He said that improving the teams starting rotation is a top priority for the 2013 campaign. "Thats definitely going to be an area -- a major area -- of our concentration in the off-season," Anthopoulos said before the Blue Jays closed out their disappointing regular season with a 2-1 win over the Minnesota Twins. Brandon Morrow (10-7), one of the few bright lights in the rotation, turned in an excellent performance Wednesday, striking out a season-high 11 while allowing only three hits over eight innings. "It always feels good to pitch a game like that," Morrow said. "To have it be the last and end it on a high note, get a win, we all go home happy." Brandon Lyon worked the ninth inning for his first save and infielder Omar Vizquel -- playing in his last game before retirement -- had a single to pass Mel Ott for 40th on the all-time hits list with 2,877. The Blue Jays finished fourth in the American League East with a 73-89 record, while the Twins finished last in the A.L. Central at 66-96. Toronto closed the season with a three-game sweep, while Minnesota ended 2012 on a five-game skid. There was little energy at Rogers Centre for a game between two teams with little to play for. However, the crowd came alive whenever Vizquel stepped up to the plate. He received a nice ovation in the third inning and waved to the 19,769 fans in attendance to acknowledge their support. Vizquel also made a nifty over-the-shoulder catch in the seventh inning and singled in the bottom half of the frame. Manager John Farrell pulled him with two outs in the ninth inning so that he could take one final turn in the spotlight. The crowd gave him a standing ovation. "It came out perfect," Vizquel said of his final day in the major leagues. "We won the game, I got a hit, I made a play and were all going home happy." Canadian left-hander Scott Diamond (12-9) retired the first eight Toronto batters in order before Anthony Gose sent a shot to the gap in right-centre field for a standup triple in the third inning. Rajai Davis singled to drive Gose in with the games first run. The speedy Davis stole second base without a throw and later came home on a single by Adeiny Hechavarria. Morrow also started strong by striking out five of the first six batters he faced but the Twins cut the lead in half with a run in the fourth. Adam Lind nearly answered in the bottom half of the inning with a shot to deep left that hit the top of the wall and stayed in the field of play, forcing him to settle for a long single.dddddddddddd Minnesota put two runners in scoring position in the sixth but Morrow got Matt Carson on a strikeout to end the threat. Diamond, a native of Guelph, Ont., allowed five hits and two earned runs over five innings. Before the game, Anthopoulos held a 30-minute season-ending media availability with reporters. He touched on a variety of topics but one of the main talking points was the struggling pitching staff. Torontos starters were hampered by injuries and underwhelming performances this year. Morrow, Kyle Drabek, Drew Hutchinson, Sergio Santos and Luis Perez all missed large chunks of the season. Ace Ricky Romero had a terrible second half and Henderson Alvarez was inconsistent. In addition, several key position players -- Jose Bautista, Brett Lawrie of Langley, B.C., and J.P. Arencibia to name a few -- also had significant injury problems. Early-season optimism started to fade in late June as the Blue Jays fell into the division basement, where they would spend most of the rest of the season. "Theres certainly a high level of frustration and I dont think that is unique to any year when youre not in the five teams that advance," Farrell said before the game. "When you dont play after the final day of the regular season, there is always going to be frustration in that. "Going forward there are additions and upgrades that are clear and we have to do the best job that we can to address those." There were some positives to the campaign as well. Youngsters like Hechavarria and Gose showed flashes of their potential, Edwin Encarnacion had a breakout year with 42 homers and 110 RBIs and Casey Janssen was impressive after being given the closers duties. But there will be significant pressure on Anthopoulos in the off-season to add some pieces to a team that hasnt been to the playoffs since 1993. Notes: The game took two hours 21 minutes to play. ... Toronto outhit Minnesota 6-4. ... The Blue Jays regular-season attendance numbers were up by over 15 per cent from last year. The final total was 2,099,663. It was the largest increase the club has seen since the first season at Rogers Centre (then SkyDome) in 1989. ... The Blue Jays finished 41-40 at home. It was the eighth straight season they have had a winning record at Rogers Centre. ' ' '
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