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Another series Sven Baertschi Jersey , another opponent sitting at the top of its division.
That’s the scenario for the St. Louis Cardinals this weekend as they welcome the Atlanta Braves, who lead the National League East, for a three-game series at Busch Stadium starting Friday.
And Atlanta (45-34) will be a stronger team offensively for the series. Prized rookie outfielder Ronald Acuna will be activated off the 10-day disabled list for Friday night’s game and should slot right into the lineup.
The 21-year-old Acuna, who missed a month with a right knee injury suffered on May 27 in Boston, hit .265 with five homers and 13 RBIs in his first 117 big league at-bats. Acuna recorded a solid .779 OPS, although his 10 walks and 37 strikeouts suggests he needs to gain a bit more control of the strike zone.
Acuna’s return at least tempers worries about the status of center fielder Ender Inciarte, who left Wednesday’s 6-5 loss to Cincinnati when he felt discomfort near his left oblique. Should Inciarte have to miss any time, Acuna could bat near the top of the lineup.
The Braves missed a chance to extend their division lead during a six-game homestand against two last-place teams. They lost two of three to Baltimore, which has the worst record in baseball, and dropped two of three to Cincinnati, which isn’t playing like a last-place team at the moment with nine wins in 10 games.
“We didn’t play up to our capabilities 100 percent,” Atlanta starting pitcher Sean Newcomb said to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “You’re not going to every day. I know we’re going to come back out at St. Louis and be pretty strong, pitching and offensively.”
The Braves will have to be strong to deal with Cardinals right-hander Miles Mikolas (8-2 Alex Tuch Jersey Kids , 2.69 ERA), who has been one of baseball’s best free-agent finds this year. Signed after three successful years in Japan, Mikolas has put together an All-Star resume with St. Louis.
He is coming off a 3-2 win Saturday in Milwaukee, giving up only three hits and two runs to the NL Central leaders in a 6 2/3-inning effort. Mikolas walked two and fanned five, giving him 71 strikeouts and just 12 walks in 97 innings.
Mikolas has faced Atlanta just once in his career, throwing two shutout innings in relief six years ago when he pitched for San Diego.
Julio Teheran (5-5, 4.52) will continue a season-long search for consistency as he starts for the Braves. After tossing six no-hit innings on June 17 in a win over San Diego, Teheran was belted around Saturday for seven runs on six hits in 4 2/3 innings of a 7-5 loss to Baltimore.
The veteran right-hander has made five career starts against the Cardinals, going 1-3 with a 3.86 earned run average. Two players who have hurt him are Matt Carpenter, who is 6-for-12 with two homers, and Marcell Ozuna, who is batting .405 with three homers in 42 career at-bats against Teheran.
St. Louis (42-37) had a four-game winning streak snapped Wednesday with a 5-1 loss to Cleveland.
Whenever the Cubs come to town, their fans fill the stands at Great American Ball Park and their offense usually carries the day. Not so for the last two.
Eugenio Suarez hit a go-ahead homer off Jose Quintana in the fifth inning http://www.officialknightsproshop.com/a … unt-jersey , and the Cincinnati Reds held on for their fifth straight victory Friday night, 6-3 over the Cubs .
The Reds have won the first two games in the four-game set, a recent rarity in the rivalry. It’s only the second time in the last two years that they’ve won back-to-back games in a series against Chicago. The Cubs are 43-21 against the Reds over the last four seasons.
Cincinnati’s winning streak is one shy of its season high. The Reds are last in the NL Central at 30-45.
”We’re playing really good baseball right now,” Suarez said . ”When you play like that, good things can happen.”
Suarez’s two-run shot in the fifth inning off Quintana (6-6) gave him a team-high 16 homers and put the Reds ahead 4-3. Billy Hamilton and Joey Votto also singled home runs off Quintana, who had allowed only six earned runs in his last four starts combined.
Quintana hung a changeup on his second pitch to Suarez, who has four homers in his last six games.
”I just missed my spot – a bad pitch,” Quintana said through a translator. ”A bad time to have that happen.”
Suarez also singled twice and extended his hitting streak to a career-high 12 games, the longest by a Reds third baseman since Todd Frazier hit in 14 straight in 2014.
Javier Baez drove in a run with a bunt single off Luis Castillo (5-8), and Kyle Schwarber followed with a two-run homer, his third in four games. Castillo went 5 2/3 innings for his first victory since May 24, ending a streak of four straight losses.
Raisel Iglesias retired the side in the ninth for his 12th save in 14 chances.
”That was one of our cleaner ballgames of the season,” interim manager Jim Riggleman said. ”We played a good ballgame – offensively Authentic Evander Kane Jersey , defensively, ran the bases well, timely hitting.”
Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo went a combined 0 for 8 with three strikeouts as Chicago’s offense struggled again, managing only four hits.
”We’ve played maybe two of our least-impressive games in a month,” manager Joe Maddon said. ”It’s just not been us playing our typical game.”
Left-handed reliever Brian Duensing was activated off the bereavement list before the game. He had been gone for four days to attend his grandfather’s funeral. The Cubs optioned right-hander Justin Hancock to Triple-A Iowa.
Cubs reliever Justin Wilson made a diving grab of Jesse Winker’s bunt in the seventh, landing on his chest while stretching for the ball. He was shaken up for a moment but stayed in the game.
Each of Schwarber’s last three hits has been a home run. Schwarber grew up in nearby Middletown and attended Reds games at Great American. He’s batted .318 in 30 career games against the Reds with nine homers and 25 RBIs.
TOP PICK, FIRST PITCH
Bengals center Billy Price threw a ceremonial pitch pregame, bouncing it to the plate. Price was the Bengals’ top pick in the draft.
Cubs: Yu Darvish could begin a rehab assignment next week. He threw 50 pitches in a simulated game without problem on Wednesday. Darvish has been sidelined since May 23 because of tendinitis in his right triceps.
Reds: Homer Bailey will make a rehab start for Triple-A Louisville on Saturday, throwing between 75 and 90 pitches. Bailey has been sidelined since June 2 with a sore right knee. He’s 1-7 with a 6.68 ERA.
Cubs: Luke Farrell (2-2) will make his first start of the season after a dozen relief appearances.
Reds: Anthony DeSclafani makes his fourth start. He was sidelined for the first two months with a strained oblique suffered during spring training. DeSclafani is 2-1 with a 4.60 ERA.