MLB Wrap: Braves slug way to win over Reds

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MLB Wrap: Braves slug way to win over Reds

The Phillies were denied a series sweep against the Giants with Wednesday afternoon's 4-3 loss in 10 innings (see game recap).

Now for a look at the rest of the day's top action from around the majors:

Braves slug past Reds
CINCINNATI -- Dan Uggla hit a pair of solo homers and Juan Francisco added his first career grand slam as the Atlanta Braves recovered from a stunning last-swing loss by beating the Cincinnati Reds 7-2 Wednesday.

Atlanta took two of three, the first series the Reds lost at home this season.

Devin Mesoraco and Shin-Soo Choo hit two-out homers in the ninth for Cincinnati's 5-4 win on Tuesday. A day later, one of the NL's top power teams got the better of it.

Uggla had solo shots in the fourth and sixth off Mike Leake (2-2). Francisco's slam off J.J. Hoover highlighted a five-run eighth. The Braves got Francisco from the Reds last year for Hoover.

Mike Minor (4-2) allowed four hits in seven innings, including Zack Cozart's solo homer (see full recap).

-The Associated Press

Zimmermann quiets Detroit bats
Washington -- Bryce Harper hit a solo homer and drove in another run with a sacrifice fly, Jordan Zimmermann won his NL-leading sixth game and the Washington Nationals beat the Detroit Tigers 3-1 Wednesday night.

Denard Span added a triple and a single for Washington, which has won five of six.

Zimmermann (6-1), whose scoreless streak was snapped at 20 innings in the third, allowing a run on seven hits over seven innings. He fanned seven and lowered his ERA to 1.59 in winning his third straight start.

Rafael Soriano pitched a scoreless ninth for his 11th save.

Jhonny Peralta had two hits for the Tigers, who had won four straight and nine of 10.

Detroit's Anibal Sanchez (3-3) allowed three runs, two earned, on eight hits and struck out eight (see full recap).

-The Associated Press

Peavy, White Sox top Mets
NEW YORK -- Jake Peavy pitched three-hit ball in his return from a balky back, Alejandro De Aza had a leadoff homer and the Chicago White Sox beat the New York Mets 6-3 on Wednesday night to split their two-game interleague series.

Alex Rios homered among his three hits and knocked in two runs for the White Sox. Conor Gillaspie blooped a two-run double off Jeremy Hefner (0-4) as Chicago's struggling hitters finally found a few holes.

Rios also had an RBI double and Paul Konerko a run-scoring single to help the last-place White Sox take the finale of a 4-4 road trip.

Peavy (4-1) got some prime help on defense from shortstop Alexei Ramirez and center fielder Dewayne Wise (see full recap).

-The Associated Press

Padres blank Marlins
SAN DIEGO -- Jason Marquis outpitched Ricky Nolasco, Yonder Alonso had a sacrifice fly in the sixth inning and San Diego Padres beat the Miami Marlins 1-0 on Wednesday to complete a three-game sweep.

Marquis (4-2) allowed five hits, walked one and struck out three in eight innings, his longest stint since last Aug. 11th when he had a 5-0 shutout at Pittsburgh.

Huston Street pitched the ninth to pick up his eighth save in eight chances.

The Padres have won four straight and 11 of their last 14.

Nolasco (2-4) gave up one run and four hits, with one walk and a season-high nine strikeouts in seven innings. He had won his four previous decisions at San Diego, where he dropped to 4-2 with a 2.11 ERA in his career (see full recap).

-The Associated Press

Cuban ballplayers mourn loss of Jose Fernandez

Cuban ballplayers mourn loss of Jose Fernandez

CHICAGO — Chicago Cubs outfielder Jorge Soler played with Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez when the two were growing up in Cuba. They traveled together to Venezuela for a youth tournament.

Soler said Fernandez's ability was obvious, right from the start.

"Since he was a child, since we were kids, I knew he had something," Soler said through a translator. "He had a talent. It was very impressive."

Fernandez's death in a boating accident at the age of 24 cast a dark shadow over the major leagues on Sunday. Miami's home game against Atlanta was canceled, and several ballparks observed moments of silence. Wrigley Field's iconic hand-operated scoreboard displayed Fernandez's No. 16 in its pitching column next to Miami.

But the loss of Fernandez was felt most acutely in baseball's growing Cuban community.

"He was one of those guys that everybody loved," St. Louis Cardinals catcher Brayan Pena said. "He was one of those guys that everybody knew exactly what he meant to our community. For us, it's a big, big loss. It's one of those things where our thoughts and prayers are obviously with his family, the Marlins' organization and the fans. But it gets a little bit closer because he was part of our Cuban family."

There were 23 Cubans on opening-day major league rosters this year, an increase of five over last season and the most since the commissioner's office began releasing data in 1995. Many of the players share similar stories when it comes to their perilous journey from the communist country to the majors, and the difficulty of adjusting to life in the United States.

A native of Santa Clara, Cuba, Fernandez was unsuccessful in his first three attempts to defect, and spent several months in prison. At 15, Fernandez and his mother finally made it to Mexico, and were reunited in Florida with his father, who had escaped from Cuba two years earlier.

He was drafted by the Marlins in 2011, and quickly turned into one of the majors' top pitchers.

"How he was on the mound was a reflection of him," Oakland first baseman Yonder Alonso said. "A guy who had a lot of fun, was himself. A very talkative guy, he would come into the room and you'd know he was in the room. Never big-leagued anyone, very professional. No matter what, he would talk to you about hitting, because he thought he was the best hitter, and he (would) talk to you about pitching, because he thought he was the best pitcher."

Alonso said Fernandez's death was "a big-time shock." Yasiel Puig used torn pieces of white athletic tape to display Fernandez's jersey on the wall in the home dugout at Dodger Stadium. Cardinals rookie Aledmys Diaz, who had known Fernandez since they were little kids, declined an interview request through a team spokeswoman.

"We Cuban players know each other well and all of us have a great relationship," Pena said. "For us, it's devastating news when we woke up. We were sending text messages to each other and we were showing support. It's something that obviously nobody expects."

Fernandez, who became a U.S. citizen last year, also was beloved for his stature in the Cuban community in Miami.

"He was a great humanitarian," Cubs closer Aroldis Chapman said through a translator. "He gave a lot to the community and I think that's why he got a lot of respect from the community in terms of what a great person he was and always giving, in terms of always willing to help out in whatever way he can to try to better and progress within the community someone that perhaps wasn't as fortunate as he was."

The 28-year-old Chapman lives in the Miami-area in the offseason. He said he spent some time with Fernandez while he was home.

"He would come by my house. I would go by his," Chapman said. "We would have long conversations. We would talk a lot. We spent a lot of good amount of time together. It was very special for me."

Phillies' clubhouse reflects on life of Marlins' Jose Fernandez

Phillies' clubhouse reflects on life of Marlins' Jose Fernandez

NEW YORK — The clubhouse mood following the Phillies17-0 loss to the Mets Sunday was somber, in part because of the disastrous game that had just wrapped up, but also because of the tragic news of Marlins star pitcher Jose Fernandez’s death in a boating accident early Sunday morning.

“It was rough. People are devastated. I didn’t even know him and I was crushed,” Phillies starter Jake Thompson said. “I can only imagine how that clubhouse feels. That’s something that I wouldn’t wish upon my worst enemy, to deal with something of that magnitude.”

Both teams paused for a moment of silence before Sunday’s game and the Mets taped a jersey bearing Fernandez’s name and number onto their dugout wall.

“This morning, that was quite a surprise,” manager Pete Mackanin said of the atmosphere of the day. “I don’t think it affected the players once the game started. It was such bad news this morning that everybody was kind of melancholy.”

Fernandez had built a strong track record against the Phillies in his young career, amassing a 2.88 ERA in six starts.

“It’s kind of clich√© to say but you look at the start of his career and he could have been a Hall of Famer,” Thompson said.

Asked how he would remember facing Fernandez, Mackanin was succinct.

“He was a helluva pitcher,” he said.

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