MLB Wrap: Braves' win streak reaches seven

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MLB Wrap: Braves' win streak reaches seven

ATLANTA -- Justin Upton drove in five runs with two homers, Julio Teheran matched his career high with 11 strikeouts, and the Atlanta Braves beat the Colorado Rockies 11-2 on Thursday night for their seventh straight win.

Jason Heyward added a two-run homer and Chris Johnson had three hits as the Braves completed a four-game sweep of the Rockies. The Braves outscored the Rockies 31-5 in the last three games of the series.

Atlanta's 7-0 homestand also included three wins over St. Louis.

The Rockies were without outfielders Michael Cuddyer and Carlos Gonzalez. The middle of their lineup took another hit when Troy Tulowitzki was ejected in the second inning.

The NL East-leading Braves stretched their lead over Washington to 11 games.

Teheran (8-5) struck out the side in the third and fifth innings. He lasted only five innings, allowing one run and five hits and two walks, in his third straight start of allowing no more than one run (see full recap).

Indians win eighth straight
CLEVELAND -- Justin Masterson was quick to pass along credit for Cleveland's eighth straight victory to the guy he provided him all the support he needed in a 6-1 decision over the Chicago White Sox on Thursday.

"The story's about Ryan Raburn doing his thing," Masterson said. "That was pretty cool to see."

Raburn homered twice and drove in four runs as the Indians, who have won 13 of 17, completed a four-game sweep of the reeling White Sox.

Raburn, who has played a major role off manager Terry Francona's bench, hit a two-run homer in the third, had an RBI single in the fifth and belted a leadoff home run in the seventh. He has 13 homers and 37 RBIs in 173 at-bats while playing mostly against left-handed starters.

"I prepare myself the same way every day whether I'm playing or not," Raburn said. "This is one of those years where everything is going right for me. I'm trying to hold on to it and ride it as long as I can." (see full recap).

Harvey, Mets shut out by Marlins
MIAMI -- Tom Koehler focused on the opposing hitters, rather than the other team's pitcher. No matter that it was NL All-Star starter Matt Harvey.

Koehler threw six effective innings and the Miami Marlins stalled Harvey once again, beating the New York Mets 3-0 Thursday.

"The key is really not to think about it too much," Koehler said. "I was facing the Mets. You put up zeros against anybody who's pitching, your team tends to be in pretty good shape."

Logan Morrison's two-out single broke a scoreless tie in the sixth. Donovan Solano added a two-run single later in the inning.

"He's got good stuff. Right now he's one of the best pitchers in baseball and so I think the whole team feels good because he lost today," Solano said.

Harvey (8-3) allowed three runs and five hits in 5 2-3 innings. He struck out eight (see full recap).

Norris picks up first win as an Oriole
BALTIMORE -- One day after being acquired from the Houston Astros, Bud Norris dominated his former teammates over six innings in his Orioles debut, and Baltimore got a home run from Chris Davis in a 6-3 victory Thursday night.

The only runs Norris (7-9) allowed were on solo homers by Brett Wallace and Mark Krauss. The right-hander gave up four hits, walked two, and his season-high eight strikeouts included three by cleanup hitter Chris Carter.

Davis hit his major league-leading 39th home run off Travis Blackley in the seventh, a solo shot that gave him 100 RBIs for the season. He is the 39th player in club history to reach the 100 RBI mark and the first since Nick Markakis in 2009.

Norris spent his entire big league career with Houston until Wednesday, when he was dealt to the Orioles for outfielder L.J. Hoes and a minor league prospect.

Because the Astros scratched Norris from his scheduled start against Baltimore on Tuesday, he was well rested before heading to the mound (see full recap).

Vince Velasquez feels the heat in Phillies' Sunday loss to Pirates

Vince Velasquez feels the heat in Phillies' Sunday loss to Pirates

BOX SCORE

PITTSBURGH --- Vince Velasquez wasn’t able to stand the heat Sunday afternoon.

The game-time temperature was 89 degrees with humidity to match at PNC Park. The Phillies' right-hander admitted he didn’t handle the weather well.

"You're going to go through various conditions, and it's something that you've got to really take into consideration -- to really lock in, stay hydrated because it can mentally drain you,” Velasquez said. “It kind of took a toll on me but I have to make the best of what I've got.”

Velasquez wound up pitching six innings in the blistering heat but did not factor in the decision as the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Phillies 5-4 on pinch-hitter Adam Frazier’s leadoff home run in the seventh inning, his first in the major leagues, off fellow rookie Edubray Ramos (see Instant Replay).

Velasquez had his worst of his five starts since coming off the disabled list June 26, allowing four runs and seven hits while walking four and striking out five. He threw 107 pitches, 64 for strikes.

In his first four outings after begin activated, he was 3-0 with a 1.88 ERA to raise his record to 8-2.

“Just looking at his body language, he showed that he was struggling to find the strike zone,” Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. “He didn't have his best location. He did a good job; he just made a couple bad pitches when they scored the two runs. Obviously, he wasn't at his best, but he kept us in the game.”

While that kind of outing can breed confidence in a 24-year-old pitcher, Velasquez took no consolation in it. He was bothered about not being able to hold a 4-2 lead in the bottom of the sixth inning, giving up a tying two-run home run to Matt Joyce.

“I knew it was my last inning when I went out there and I have to be able to close it out there,” Velasquez said. “I’m disappointed in that. I need to be better in that situation.”

Joyce’s blast came on pitch after Starling Marte doubled on an 0-2 pitch. That, too, annoyed Velasquez.

“That's just a matter of finishing at-bats,” Velasquez said. “You've got to lock in on 0-2 counts when you're ahead. You've got to finish the at-bat. Knowing that that was my last inning, that's where you have to bear down and give it all you've got.”

Ramos then gave up the game-winning homer to Frazier an inning later, the first long ball given up by the 23-year-old right-hander in 14 career outings. The Phillies wound up losing two of three games in the series and are 3-7 since the All-Star break to drop to 10 games under .500 at 45-55 through 100 games.

“It’s a game we should have won but I put us in position to lose it,” Velasquez said.

Report: Phillies preparing for possible Jeremy Hellickson trade to Marlins

Report: Phillies preparing for possible Jeremy Hellickson trade to Marlins

Jeremy Hellickson may be staying in the NL East past the trade deadline. 

Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reported that the Phillies are scouting the Marlins' minor league teams in advance of a possible Hellickson deal. 

This comes on the heels of a report from a radio host in Miami that Marlins starter Wei-Yin Chen may need Tommy John surgery. Chen left with an elbow sprain during Wednesday's loss to the Phillies and was placed on the disabled list. Ironically, Chen was starting against Hellickson, who will face Jarred Cosart in place of Chen on Monday.

Hellickson's value rebounded significantly this season after struggling in Arizona and Tampa Bay the last few seasons. After dealing with a shoulder injury, Hellickson pitched to ERAs above 4.50 in each season from 2013-15, leading to the Diamondbacks trading him to the Phillies for limited value. 

However, in 20 starts, Hellickson, who will be a free agent after the year, has anchored the Phillies' rotation, bringing a 3.84 ERA over 119 ⅔ innings into Monday's scheduled start. He also has a nearly career-best strikeout rate and has regained his signature command that made him a strong performer with the Rays.

The Phillies are aided this trade deadline by a lack of starting pitching options available on the market. With many teams in contention looking for an additional starter, Hellickson is an attractive piece who could help a team in a pennant race.

Best of MLB: Padres score 4 off Papelbon in 9th, take series from Nationals

Best of MLB: Padres score 4 off Papelbon in 9th, take series from Nationals

WASHINGTON -- The San Diego Padres' three-city road trip didn't begin well. Earning their first series victory against the Washington Nationals since 2011 is helping to turn it around.

Alex Dickerson and Ryan Schimpf hit back-to-back homers off Shawn Kelley in the eighth inning and the Padres added four runs off Jonathan Papelbon in the ninth to beat the Nationals 10-6 on Sunday.

"We've been on the road for a little bit, and it's definitely good to come here against a team like this and get two wins out of it," said Schimpf, whose team suffered a four-game sweep in St. Louis before winning two of three in Washington.

Ryan Buchter (2-0) pitched a scoreless eighth to earn the victory.

With the game tied at 6, Wil Myers drew a one-out walk off Papelbon and moved to second on a wild pitch before Yangervis Solarte's RBI single. The Padres added two more singles to load the bases, setting up Alexei Ramirez's three-run double (see full recap).

Matz earns 1st win since May as Mets beat Marlins
MIAMI -- Helped by a couple of small victories against Giancarlo Stanton, Steven Matz earned a big win for the New York Mets.

Matz pitched six innings Sunday for his first win since May, twice escaping trouble by getting Stanton to ground out with a runner in scoring position, and the Mets took the rubber game of their series against Miami, 3-0.

"It was good to go out there and put up zeroes and get a win," Matz said.

The Mets won two of three games in the series and returned home trailing second-place Miami by half a game in the NL East.

"This was crunch time for us," manager Terry Collins said. "We couldn't lose any more ground. This was a good series for us to win."

Matz (8-6) allowed four hits, walked two and struck out six. Pitching despite a bone spur in his elbow, he had been 0-5 in his past nine starts with an ERA of 4.73 (see full recap).

Reimold's HR helps Orioles beat Indians 5-3 for 3-game sweep
BALTIMORE -- This is how good things are going for the Orioles at home this season: After blowing a late-inning lead, Baltimore launched the game-winning uprising with a third strike.

Pinch-hitter Nolan Reimold hit a decisive two-out homer in the ninth inning after Pedro Alvarez reached on a strikeout, and the Orioles beat the Cleveland Indians 5-3 Sunday for a three-game sweep.

Cody Allen (2-4) began the ninth by striking out Alvarez, but the ball eluded catcher Roberto Perez. After fielding the bouncing ball off the backstop, Perez hit Alvarez in the helmet with the throw for an error.

"As long as I have been playing baseball the rule is you run down the baseline," Alvarez said. "I saw the ball get away from him and I just ran down to first base."

A sacrifice bunt and a strikeout followed before Reimold lined a 2-0 pitch into the left-field seats (see full recap).

DeShields homers as Rangers top Royals
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Delino DeShields is known for his speed, stealing 101 bases in 2012 in the minors, not for his power.

DeShields homered in the seventh inning to break a tie and the Texas Rangers defeated the Kansas City Royals 2-1 on Sunday.

DeShields, who was recalled Thursday from Triple-A Round Rock, walked and doubled before leading off the seventh with his third home run. DeShields hit a 2-1 pitch from Luke Hochevar out to left.

"It so happened that today I was the guy that got us the go-ahead run," DeShields said. "I was just trying to hit the ball hard. I wasn't looking for anything specific. I wanted to get on base. Before I had gotten on base in every at-bat.

"With the game tied and if I get myself in scoring position, there's a good chance for me to touch home plate. I got into it pretty good and got it over the fence, but the main focus was just putting the barrel on the ball and try to get on base."

The loss dropped the Royals to 48-49, the first time the World Series champions have been below .500 since May 15 when they were 18-19. The Royals have lost 13 of 19 games in July (see full recap).