LEADING OFF: Bumgarner at Brewers; Mets try for 4th straight
A look at what’s happening around the majors today:
Clayton Kershaw and the Los Angeles Dodgers will look to keep up their domination of the Atlanta in the second game of their weekend series at SunTrust Park.
The Dodgers won the series opener Thursday night, routing the Braves 8-2 behind seven dominant innings from Rich Hill and Manny Machado’s first homer with his new team.
Kershaw has never lost to the Braves, going 3-0 with a 1.47 ERA in nine career starts. The Dodgers haven’t lost a series to the Braves since 2015, winning 21 of the last 30 games between the teams.
Machado was acquired last week from Baltimore, bolstering a lineup that already led the National League in homers. He now had 25 homers on the season.
“Get it out of the way,” he said. “Get the first hit, the first home runs out of the way. Now it’s just concentrate on playing baseball and winning games.”
The Dodgers hold a 1 1/2-game lead in the NL West. The Braves slipped 2 1/2 games behind Philadelphia in the NL East.
San Francisco’s Madison Bumgarner (3-3, 3.19) pitches the second game of a four-game weekend set with Milwaukee. The left-hander is making his 10th start of the season, and the Giants are 4-1 in his home outings. The 2014 World Series MVP is coming off a career-high six walks last Saturday at Oakland, when he lasted only four-plus innings.
Two-time All-Star closer Joakim Soria is set to be with the Brewers, a day after they acquired him from the Chicago White Sox. Manager Craig Counsell said Soria won’t be his closer. The Brewers have Corey Knebel in that role.
The New York Mets will go for a rare four-game winning streak when they face Pittsburgh, while pitcher Jason Vargas will try to do something he hasn’t done since 2005: beat the Pirates.
Vargas was a 22-year-old rookie for the Florida Marlins when he came on in relief on July 27, 2005, and held the Pirates hitless over three innings for his first major league victory. It remains his only career triumph over Pittsburgh. Another 86 have followed, but only two have come this season for the Mets, who signed him to a two-year deal in February after he made the AL All-Star team for the first time at age 34 while pitching for Kansas City. Vargas is just 2-6 with an 8.60 ERA for New York and has spent a month recovering from a strained right calf that’s kept him out since June 20. He made two rehab starts for Class A Brooklyn, striking out 19 in 12 innings.
NEW BEHIND THE PLATE
World Series champion Houston could have a new catcher in the lineup for its series opener against rival Texas. The Astros acquired Martin Maldonado from the Los Angeles Angels on Thursday for left-hander Patrick Sandoval and $250,000 in international signing bonus pool allocation.
Maldonado’s contributions behind the plate helped the Angels’ starters post a 3.77 ERA, which ranked fifth in the AL. A Gold Glove winner last season, Maldonado is also hitting .223 with 32 RBIs in 78 games.
Houston’s Brian McCann hasn’t played since June 30 and is recovering from right knee surgery. Max Stassi has been starting at catcher for the Astros in most games this month.
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