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Freeman, Toussaint help Braves beat Cardinals 7-3

September 19, 2018

ATLANTA (AP) — Freddie Freeman hit a two-run homer and drove in three runs, Touki Toussaint pitched into the sixth inning and the NL East-leading Atlanta Braves snapped a four-game skid with a 7-3 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday.

Atlanta began the day with a 5 1/2-game lead over Philadelphia and opens a four-game home series against the Phillies on Thursday. The Braves need any combination of six victories or Philadelphia losses to win their first division title since 2013.

St. Louis began the day leading Colorado by 1 1/2 games for the second wild-card spot.

Closer A.J. Minter, working in a non-save situation in the ninth, walked two to load the bases, but he struck out Jose Martinez and got Paul DeJong to pop up.

Freeman’s 23rd homer, an opposite-field shot to left-center, put the Braves up 2-0 in the fourth against Jack Flaherty (8-8). Toussaint (2-1) allowed five hits and two runs in 5 2/3 innings.

RAYS 9, RANGERS 3

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Tommy Pham homered twice and extended his on-base streak to 21 games and late-surging Tampa Bay completed a three-game sweep of Texas.

The Rays have won 14 of 17 games in September. They have 11 remaining and entered the day 5 1/2 games behind Oakland for the American League’s second wild card.

Adrian Beltre hit his 13th homer for the last-place Rangers. It was the 475th of his career to match Stan Musial and Willie Stargell for 30th on the career lost. He’s 15th with 3,159 hits.

Ryan Yarbrough (15-5), the second of five Tampa Bay pitchers, went four innings for the win.

Jake Bauers had a two-run single and scored on Willy Adames’ single in the second off lefty Yohander Mendez (2-2) to put the Rays ahead to stay at 3-0. Pham hit his 18th homer leading off the third, and Matt Duffy’s two-run double in the fourth made it 8-1.

Pham went deep again in the eighth for his seventh career multihomer game. The homer was off 45-year-old Bartolo Colon, who was pitching in relief for the first time since his last start Sept. 5.

TWINS 8, TIGERS 2

DETROIT (AP) — Stephen Gonsalves threw six scoreless innings, and Minnesota pounded Detroit’s pitching.

Gabriel Moya started for Minnesota, but was replaced by Gonsalves in the second inning, marking the sixth time this season the Twins used an “opening pitcher.” Gonsalves (1-2) allowed one hit and a walk while striking out four.

Ehire Adrianza was 3 for 4 with three runs scored, Tyler Austin was 2 for 3 with two RBIs and two runs scored and Willians Astudillo was 2 for 4 with three RBIs for the Twins, who swept the three-game series against the Tigers. Spencer Turnbull (0-1) made his first major league start, allowing six runs and six hits and a walk in four innings.

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