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SPOTLIGHT
Royals end Braves' streak

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Royals end Braves' streak

Published on -4/18/2013, 10:44 AM

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By PAUL NEWBERRY

Associated Press

ATLANTA -- Jeff Francoeur always enjoys beating his first team.

This one was especially sweet.

Francoeur had an RBI single and Wade Davis made it stand up with five-hit ball through seven innings, leading the Kansas City Royals past the Braves 1-0 on Wednesday to stop Atlanta's 10-game winning streak.

Born and raised in the Atlanta area, Francoeur started his career with his hometown team before being traded in 2009. Now on his third team since his days with the Braves, he visited with dozens of family and friends during batting practice, then came through when it mattered in the fourth.

"It means a little bit more personally," Francoeur said. "You want to say you're focused all the time but there's definitely some extra motivation coming home here for me."

The Braves were seeking their first 13-1 start since 1994, but the powerful Atlanta offense finally was stifled, a day after homering five times.

Davis (2-0) didn't walk anyone and struck out seven, and the Braves couldn't get a runner past first base until Jason Heyward's two-out double in the sixth.

Their only serious scoring chance came in the seventh, when Juan Francisco was thrown out easily trying to score from first on a pop down the right-field line.

"My goal was to get ahead," Davis said. "They have a pretty good offense. I had to mix it up a lot and minimize mistakes."

The Braves were frustrated all day by home-plate umpire Doug Eddings, who called them out on seven of their 11 strikeouts. After taking strike three in the seventh, Dan Uggla walked all the way around the catcher to talk with Eddings face to face. Manager Fredi Gonzalez came a few steps out of the dugout, ready to run out in things got heated, but Uggla simply walked away after making his feelings known to Eddings.

"I've known Doug ever since I've been in the league," Uggla said. "He's a good umpire. But you don't always agree with the calls."

The Braves had the heart of the order up in the ninth, but Greg Holland -- who came in with an ERA of 12.00 -- struck out the side for his third save in four chances. Justin Upton went down swinging, Evan Gattis was called out on a breaking ball that appeared a little high, and Uggla ended the game by taking another borderline pitch high in the strike zone.

Uggla stood at the plate in disbelief, flipping his bat, his helmet and his batting gloves to the ground. Eddings simply walked off toward the tunnel.

Afterward, the Braves focused more on Davis' dominant performance than any disagreements with the ump.

RED SOX 6, INDIANS 3

CLEVELAND (AP) -- Converted closer Alfredo Aceves coasted through five innings, Mike Napoli and Daniel Nava drove in two runs apiece and the Red Sox, bonded by the tragedy in Boston, struck quickly against Justin Masterson and beat the Cleveland Indians 6-3 on Wednesday night for their fifth straight win.

Aceves (1-0), who began the season in Boston's bullpen, took a shutout into the sixth before giving up three runs. Andrew Bailey, filling for injured closer Joel Hanrahan, worked the ninth for his first save.

Napoli had an RBI single in the first when the Red Sox scored three off Masterson (3-1), who has already beaten two Cy Young Award winners this season and came in without allowing a run in 19 straight innings.

Nick Swisher and Jason Giambi homered for the Indians, who dropped their third in a row.

The Red Sox hung a gray "617 Boston Strong" jersey in their dugout, just as they did for Tuesday's emotional series opener -- one day after the deadly marathon bombings back home. The jersey has become a symbol of unity for the club, which will be back at Fenway Park on Friday to open a 10-game homestand.

Shane Victorino, Jacoby Ellsbury and Mike Carp had three hits apiece as the Red Sox built Aceves a 5-0 lead.

TIGERS 2, MARINERS 1

14 INNINGS

SEATTLE (AP) -- Detroit catcher Brayan Pena held onto Prince Fielder's relay throw and absorbed a collision with Justin Smoak at home plate for the final out, and the Tigers outlasted the Seattle Mariners in 14 innings.

Smoak singled with one out off Joaquin Benoit, and with two outs Dustin Ackley doubled into the right-field corner. Third base coach Jeff Datz didn't hesitate in waiving Smoak around with the potential tying run.

Torii Hunter started the relay from the outfield, and Fielder's throw was up the third base line a bit. Pena, however, caught it in plenty of time and held onto the ball as Smoak crashed into him.

Detroit took the lead in the top of the 14th when Pena's bases-loaded groundout scored pinch-runner Don Kelly. The conclusion came long after starters Felix Hernandez and Max Scherzer pitched gems in a game that included a whopping 40 strikeouts.

Drew Smyly (1-0) worked one inning for the win. Benoit earned his first save of the season.

According to the Mariners, it was the second time in major league history that both teams had more than 18 strikeouts. The only other time was June 16, 2001, when the Giants and Padres both struck out 20 times in a 15-inning game.

Detroit batters tied the team record for most strikeouts in a game with 21 -- five by Fielder, who was hitless in six at-bats.

Charlie Furbush (0-1) took the loss.

RAYS 6, ORIOLES 2

BALTIMORE (AP) -- Kelly Johnson and Shelley Duncan homered, James Loney had three RBIs and Tampa Bay beat Baltimore to snap a four-game skid.

Matt Moore (3-0) gave up two runs and five hits in 6.2 innings. Although his streak of scoreless starts ended at two, the left-hander has accounted for three of the Rays' five wins this season.

The six runs were the most the Rays scored in a game since a 6-0 win over Cleveland on April 6. Following that victory, Tampa Bay lost seven of eight before turning it around against the Orioles.

ATHLETICS 7, ASTROS 5

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Bartolo Colon pitched six crisp innings, Josh Reddick doubled in two runs during a six-run first and Oakland defeated Houston to complete another three-game sweep.

The Athletics swept a three-game series at Houston during the first week of the season.

Seth Smith had three hits for the A's, who improved to an AL-best 12-4. They sent 11 batters to the plate and chased Bud Norris (2-2) in the first inning, then won behind Colon (2-0) and three relievers.

Jose Altuve had three hits and Carlos Pena homered for the second straight day for Houston. Pinch-hitter Rick Ankiel also homered for the Astros.

Colon beat Houston for the second time this season. He has not walked a batter in 19 innings this year.

Grant Balfour got Altuve to ground into a game-ending double play for his third save.

WHITE SOX 7

BLUE JAYS 0

TORONTO (AP) -- Tyler Flowers hit a three-run homer and Jose Quintana pitched 6.2 sharp innings to lead Chicago over Toronto.

Alex Rios also homered against his former team to back Quintana (1-0), who held the Blue Jays to five hits with two walks while striking out seven in his third start of the season.

J.A. Happ (2-1) allowed six hits, including two homers, and five runs in 5 2-3 innings to end a string of four consecutive quality starts by the Blue Jays. Jose Bautista missed his third straight game with a sore back.

YANKEES 4

DIAMONDBACKS 3

NEW YORK (AP) -- Pinch-hitter Travis Hafner connected for a tiebreaking homer with two outs in the eighth inning to lead CC Sabathia and the Yankees past Arizona.

Brett Gardner had a tying, two-run single in the seventh for New York. Stymied by Wade Miley for six innings, the Yankees broke through and won for the seventh time in eight games.

Sabathia (3-1) gave up a two-run homer to Paul Goldschmidt in the first, then settled down for his third straight win after struggling on opening day. It was his second consecutive outing of eight innings.

Mariano Rivera pitched the ninth for his fourth save. Injured for most of last season, Rivera posted his first back-to-back saves since April 10-11, 2012.

Hafner sent the first pitch he saw from reliever David Hernandez (0-1) into the right-center stands for his fourth home run with his new team.

PIRATES 5, CARDINALS 0

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- A.J. Burnett took a no-hitter into the seventh inning nearly 12 years after throwing the only one of his career, pitching the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 5-0 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday night.

Burnett (1-2) lost his bid with two outs in the seventh on Carlos Beltran's double to right-center. That was the lone hit given up by the 36-year-old right-hander in seven dominant innings.

Burnett struck out eight. He got the 2,000th strikeout of his 15-year career when he caught Beltran looking in the second.

Mark Melancon, Tony Watson and Jason Grilli completed the one-hitter.

Burnett's no-hitter came on May 12, 2001, for the Florida Marlins in San Diego. That game was also notable for his nine walks. Burnett walked none against St. Louis.

Cardinals rookie Shelby Miller (2-1) pitched well despite taking his first loss in four career decisions.

PADRES 7, DODGERS 2

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Clayton Kershaw gave up his first three home runs of the season in a span of three innings and the San Diego Padres beat the Los Angeles Dodgers to finish a three-game sweep.

Everth Cabrera, Chris Denorfia and Kyle Blanks all connected off Kershaw (2-2), who entered with a 1.16 ERA in three starts. But the 2011 NL Cy Young Award winner left this one trailing 5-1 after throwing 109 pitches in 5.1 innings.

Boosted by the return of slugger Chase Headley from a broken thumb, the Padres pounded out 13 hits and beat one of baseball's best pitchers. After arriving with a 2-10 record, San Diego earned its first sweep at Dodger Stadium of three or more games since July 2006.

It was the first series between the NL West rivals since their wild brawl last week in San Diego.

Cabrera had three hits and scored twice as the Padres sent Los Angeles to its fourth straight defeat. Headley was back at third base and went 1 for 4 with a late RBI single.

Brad Brach (1-0) retired Skip Schumaker on a comebacker with the bases loaded in the fifth.

NATIONALS 6, MARLINS 1

MIAMI (AP) -- Ross Detwiler departed with a lead for the third start in a row and this time the bullpen held on as Bryce Harper and the Washington Nationals beat the Miami Marlins.

Harper, back in the Nationals' lineup after missing one game with the flu, hiked his average to .364 with four hits and improved to 9 for 20 against Ricky Nolasco (0-2). Harper hit two solo homers off Nolasco on opening day.

Detwiler (1-0) allowed one run in seven innings, which increased his ERA to 0.90. He left his first two starts with the Nationals ahead 5-1 and 4-1, but both times received no decision.

BREWERS 4, GIANTS 3

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Pinch-hitter Blake Lalli lifted a long single in the bottom of the ninth inning that sent the Milwaukee Brewers over the San Francisco Giants.

With the score tied, one out and the outfielders playing in, Lalli stepped to the plate for just the sixth time this season.

Lalli lofted a deep fly ball well over the head of left fielder Gregor Blanco for his first hit of 2013. Milwaukee extended its longest winning streak this year to three.

Brewers starter Kyle Lohse did not allow a hit through the first five innings as Milwaukee built a 3-0 lead.

Jim Henderson (2-0) pitched the ninth. Santiago Casilla (1-1) took the loss.

REDS 1, PHILLIES 0

REDS 11, PHILLIES 2

CINCINNATI (AP) -- Jay Bruce hit a pair of bases-loaded singles that sent the Cincinnati Reds to a couple of wins over Philadelphia.

First, the Reds finished their game suspended overnight by rain. Several hundred fans were in the stands to see Phillippe Aumont (1-2) pick the game up in the bottom of the ninth and give up Bruce's bases-loaded single only four batters later.

Aroldis Chapman (2-0) got the win without even warming up on Wednesday -- he'd retired the last three batters before the rain came the previous night.

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