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|Anibal Sanchez abruptly ended Atlanta’s season-long losing streak.
Sanchez pitched effectively into the seventh and Freddie Freeman added three hits [url=http://www.chicagobearsteamonline.com/tarik-cohen-jersey]Tarik Cohen Jersey Youth[/url] , lifting the Atlanta Braves to a 5-1 win over the Milwaukee Brewers on Saturday.
”I know the potential for this team to be in the playoffs is really high,” Sanchez said. ”I’ve been in October games. I can bring a lot of things to October.”
Sanchez (4-2) retired 19 in a row at one point to help snap Atlanta’s season high four-game skid. The veteran right-hander exited with two outs in the seventh after being hit by a liner on his right side near his hip. A red welt was visible on his back, but he said afterward he was fine.
”He never throws a pitch I don’t think that he doesn’t know where he wants to put it,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said.
Sanchez struck out six in a row at one point. But after two easy outs in the seventh, his day ended quickly following a walk to Hernan Perez.
Perez stole second, and Brad Miller’s line drive deflected off Sanchez and out of shortstop Dansby Swanson’s reach to cut Atlanta’s lead to 2-1.
Sanchez didn’t appear too shaken up – smiling and getting high fives from the Braves dugout after exiting. Reliever Dan Winkler came in and recorded the final out of the inning.
Sanchez allowed one run off two hits and a walk. He finished with eight strikeouts.
”It’s fun to be able to play behind that,” Swanson said. ”He’s been tremendous.”
Brewers spot starter Aaron Wilkerson’s tough day actually started on Friday.
His original flight was delayed after getting called up from Triple-A Colorado Springs, so he instead traveled from Colorado Springs to Houston then Chicago. He arrived in Milwaukee at 3:30 a.m. on Saturday.
”And, they lost my bags on the way,” he said. ”It was kind of a rough one. But, it’s not an excuse for anything.”
Wilkerson (0-1) had taken the rotation turn of Brent Suter, who went on the 10-day disabled list with left forearm tightness on Friday.
Johan Camargo’s two-run single off Wilkerson gave Atlanta the lead in the first. Wilkerson allowed two runs off four hits and three walks in five innings. He struck out five.
Freeman and Nick Markakis added consecutive run-scoring triples in the eighth as Atlanta scored three times in the inning to put the game out of reach.
Freeman came into the game in a slump, batting .159 over his last 17 games before his three-hit performance.
”I’m starting to feel a little better [url=http://www.officialsharks.com/authentic-adidas-evander-kane-jersey]Evander Kane Sharks Jersey[/url] ,” Freeman said. ”I’m seeing pitches, not swinging at balls in the batter’s box. That helps.”
Sanchez benefited from a heads up defensive play from Markakis in right field in the first inning. With runners on first and second, Travis Shaw flared a ball that should’ve loaded the bases.
Instead, Jesus Aguilar, at first, didn’t read the play quickly enough and Markakis fired a strike to Swanson at second base for the first of Sanchez’s 19 straight outs.
”Travis hit a ball that Aggie just didn’t get a good read on,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. ”That was our opportunity against Sanchez, for sure.”
Braves: Rookie LF Ronald Acuna Jr. was out of the lineup after leaving with left groin tightness on Friday night.
Brewers: CF Lorenzo Cain (left groin strain) is close to returning from the 10-day disabled list and could be activated as soon as Sunday. … LF Ryan Braun was a late scratch in the starting lineup with tightness in his right side, but pinch hit in the ninth. … RHP Jorge Lopez was recalled for the fifth time this year to provide pitching depth. Infielder Nate Orf was optioned to Triple-A Colorado Springs.
Braves: LHP Sean Newcomb (8-3, 3.10 ERA) looks to bounce back Sunday after allowing five runs without getting out of the third inning in an 8-5 loss to the Yankees on Tuesday. RHP Junior Guerra (5-5, 2.87) goes for Milwaukee and is holding opponents to a .217 average in 16 starts this year.
The Celtics were loose, smiling and laughing. They weren’t straining to hear each other speak and there were no obnoxious Cleveland fans heckling them.
All was quiet as Boston worked out Sunday.
Practice isn’t an issue on the road in the postseason. Playing games is the problem.
Less than 24 hours after a 30-point bludgeoning at the hands of LeBron James and the Cavaliers in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals, the Celtics did some film study and critical evaluation.
They were hard on themselves.
”I thought it was embarrassing [url=http://www.dallascowboysteamonline.com/cole-beasley-jersey]Cole Beasley Jersey Elite[/url] ,” Celtics guard Jaylen Brown said of Boston’s 116-86 loss – and his own performance. ”I thought we came out, the way I played, the way I performed, how not aggressive I was in the first half, I look at that as fuel to come out in Game 4 and be excited about it and be ready to play and ready to fight.”
Brown scored just 10 points – 13 below his average after two games in the series – and was in almost immediate foul trouble as the Cavs dominated while pulling within 2-1 in the series.
Celtics coach Brad Stevens may change his lineup for Monday’s Game 4, perhaps returning to center Aron Baynes and bringing Marcus Morris off the bench. Stevens has to do something to free up Al Horford, who has been held in check by Cleveland’s Tristan Thompson the past two games.
By starting Baynes, Stevens could force Cavs coach Tyronn Lue to make a counter move and either put Kevin Love – or even James – on Horford.
Stevens wouldn’t tip his hand. Beyond any lineup tweaks, more concerning for him may be his team’s Jekyll-and-Hyde postseason play.
The Celtics have been sensational at home, going 9-0. But the road has been treacherous as Boston is 1-5 in trips to Milwaukee, Philadelphia and Cleveland, with the only win in overtime against the 76ers.
The Celtics have a case of homesickness. They aren’t playing with the same intensity or confidence as they do when they’re under those dangling NBA championship banners and retired jersey numbers atop TD Garden.
Boston had one of the league’s best road records during the regular season, going 28-13 – only Houston and Golden State were better. But with several young players [url=http://www.cardinalscheapstore.com/josh-rosen-jersey-cheap]Cheap Josh Rosen Jersey[/url] , including 20-year-old Jayson Tatum, the Celtics are learning that playing in front of hostile playoff crowds can be daunting.
”It’s very different,” said Horford, who took only four shots in Game 3. ”I think that at home, you have your home crowd behind you. You have a comfort level about you. And on the road, literally it’s just you against everybody else. It takes a while for you to get used to and understand how well you have to play on the road. You have to be able to do all the little things in order to have a chance.
”Last night we had a lot of breakdowns, so we didn’t even give ourselves a chance to win.”
The good thing for Boston is that it doesn’t have to win a road game to make the Finals.
Cleveland does, but James has been down this path before. He’s twice rallied teams from 2-0 deficits.
The Cavs seized control from the opening tip in Game 3, bursting to a 20-4 lead and then clamping down defensively on the Celtics, who didn’t get the open looks they enjoyed in Games 1 and 2.
James, in particular, played like a man not about to let the Celtics block his path to an eighth straight Finals.
While he was typically amazing on offense, handing out 12 assists including three that required multiple replays to appreciate their artistic beauty [url=http://www.redskinscheapstore.com/da_ron-payne-jersey-cheap]Cheap Da'Ron Payne Jersey[/url] , James was a defensive force as well.
”I thought last night was one of LeBron’s best games I’ve seen in a long time as far as helping, closing out to Jaylen Brown’s chest and making him put it on the floor,” Lue said. ”Closing out to Morris. Closing out to (Marcus) Smart. He did a really good job of just setting the tone of multiple effort and that was good for us.”
And for a change, James had plenty of offensive help as Cleveland had six players in double figures. Larry Nance Jr. and Jordan Clarkson had major contributions, giving the Cavs a taste of what could lie ahead.
The non-LeBrons, as they’ve been dubbed, came up big.
”We’re starting to figure out that LeBron doesn’t have to take 20-some shots to beat a great team by 30,” Nance said. ”The rest of us are very good basketball players in our own right and it’s nice to show that.”