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

BY THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

ATLANTA (AP) — 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 (AP) — 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.

Arizona’s Merrill Kelly (1-1) allowed three runs in six innings.

REDS 4, TIGERS 3, GAME 1

REDS 4, TIGERS 0, GAME 2

DETROIT (AP) — 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 twin bills 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. (AP) — 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.

CUBS 2, PIRATES 1, 11 INNINGS

CHICAGO (AP) — 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 (AP) — Hanser Alberto doubled in the tiebreaking run in the seventh inning, Renato Núñez and Pat Valaika homered, and Baltimore beat Tampa Bay to 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. (AP) — 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 (AP) — 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 (AP) — 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 (AP) — 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.

ATHLETICS 3, MARINERS 2

SEATTLE (AP) — 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.