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25.03.2019 06:37
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NEW YORK (AP) Three pitches in Prince Fielder Jersey , Ronald Acuna Jr. was off and running.Acuna led off with his first big league triple and reached three times, Johan Camargo hit a two-run double in a three-run third inning and the Atlanta Braves beat the New York Mets 4-2 Thursday night to extend their winning streak to four.Acuna grounded inside the third-base bag and down the line. When left fielder Michael Conforto struggled to find the ball quickly, Acuna sped to third in 11.15 seconds, according to MLB’s Statcast. Acuna slid in headfirst as his helmet came off.”I slowed down at first,” Acuna said through an interpreter. ”I think we were all thinking double, double when it came off the bat, and I don’t think we expected it to take the hop that it did. So, I kind of slowed up at first and kind of turned it up a little bit.”He scored when Ozzie Albies followed with a single. Acuna is hitting .357 (15 for 42) since being moved to the leadoff spot on July 20 and the Braves think the 20-year-old is even quicker than before since returning from a knee injury on June 28.”I just know that when he came back from the injury he’s running faster than he was prior,” manager Brian Snitker said. ”He’s got another gear. That speed’s a weapon for him.”Making his second big league start in center, Acuna threw out Wilmer Flores trying to stretch a single into a double in the sixth. Flores initially was called safe by second base umpire Gary Cederstrom, but the call was overturned in a video review and Acuna was credited with his first big league outfield assist.Mike Foltynewicz (8-7) won for the first time since July 11, allowing two runs and five hits in six innings. Three pitchers followed with one-hit relief as the Braves improved to 10-3 against the Mets this year.”Just how hard he swings at the ball , kind of reminds me of Bryce Harper a little bit,” Foltynewicz said of Acuna. ”Just very intimidating at the plate and when he puts the play, especially in the gaps, it’s awesome to watch him run.”New York dropped a season-low 18 games under .500 at 44-62. The Mets have lost 41 of their last 60 games overall and 23 of their last 32 home games.Jason Vargas (2-7) allowed four runs and six hits in five innings. He has not pitched past the fifth in any of his 11 starts.”He had to get a few more outs than he probably should have, but I thought his stuff was good, crisp, had some swings and miss,” Mets manager Mickey Callaway said. ”Kept the ball down for the most part. That’s your typical Vargas. Kept us in the game and did his job”.Todd Frazier returned from a ribcage injury and went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts in his first game since July 8. He was booed loudly when he hit an inning-ending popup in the sixth that stranded Conforto on third.Brandon Nimmo hit his career-high 14th homer leading off the bottom half of the first, and Freddie Freeman had a go-ahead single in the third as Atlanta took a 4-1 lead. Freeman is hitting .400 (20 for 50) against New York this season.Freeman’s single came after Acuna took second when the Mets could not execute a pickoff play.”I tried to rush a little bit,” Flores said. ”Just kind of got away a little bit.”Pinch-hitter Luis Guillorme singled in a run for the Mets in the fifth.Jesse Biddle pitched a perfect seventh, and Brad Brach struck out Conforto with a runner on second to end the eighth. A.J. Minter worked around a leadoff walk to Flores to remain perfect in seven save chances.FAMILIAR FACES: RHP Kevin Gausman was activated two days, after being acquired from Baltimore and had the locker next to former Orioles teammate Nick Markakis. He also was reunited with infielder Ryan Flaherty and Brad Brach Nolan Ryan Jersey , acquired from the Orioles on Sunday. Gausman is slated to make his Braves debut Saturday.TRAINER’S ROOMMets: OF Yoenis Cespedes had surgery to remove bone calcification in his right heel. He will have a second surgery on his left heel in two to three months. … LHP Steven Matz was diagnosed with a flexor-pronator strain in his left forearm and could be placed on the DL. The Mets said they will decide Friday, two days before Matz’s next turn. … INF Phillip Evans was placed on the DL with a broken tibia. He will be on crutches for at least three weeks and will not be able to resume baseball activities for a month. … RHP Bobby Wahl got two outs in the eighth in his Mets debut, his first big league appearance since May 23 last year with Oakland.UP NEXTRHP Anibal Sanchez (5-3, 3.00) is to start for the Braves on Friday, two days after a rainout caused his turn to be pushed back. He is 4-5 with a 4.34 ERA in 13 starts against the Mets. New York RHP Jacob deGrom (5-6, 1.82) is 5-4 with a 1.80 ERA in 15 starts against Atlanta.— The upcoming Major League Baseball free-agency season will be littered with big names, as Bryce Harper and Manny Machado headline the list of available players.While some teams will be able to afford the massive contracts of the top free agents, others will dig deeper to bring in underrated assets to fill voids on their respective rosters.Some of the underrated players turned in career seasons for playoff teams to make themselves more valuable on the free-agent market.While some free agents will opt to return to their current clubs, there will be a handful of underrated stars on the open market who could be steals for struggling franchises.Predictions for Underrated AssetsDJ LeMahieuDJ LeMahieu has spent the majority of his career in a Colorado Rockies uniform, but he might be moving on from the franchise in the offseason.LeMahieu is one of the few free agents who could leave the Rockies in the winter, and no contract talks have been held between the infielder and the organization, per Kyle Newmanof theDenver Post.Despite playing 128 games in the regular season , LeMahieu recorded his career high in home runs (15), tied his best career mark in doubles (32) and was four short of his top RBImark (66).Justin Edmonds/Getty ImagesThe Rockies could be fine with moving on from the 29-year-old because they have top prospect Brendan Rodgers.There's still a chance LeMahieu returns to Colorado, but that's likely dependent on what occurs with Nolan Arenado's contract situation, which might open the door for a trade and Rodgers to play third base.The Chicago Cubs, his first MLB team, are one of the logical options for LeMahieu to explore, as they'll try to upgrade the middle infield positions.The Los Angeles Dodgers might be a landing spot as well, but that's going to depend on who their NL West rivals bring back after their postseason run.Prediction:LeMahieu signs with the Cubs. Nathan EovaldiFor teams looking beneath the top tier of starting pitchers, Nathan Eovaldi could be an option to go after this winter.Eovaldi's postseason performance with the Boston Red Sox could boost his stock, and his seven-inning performance in Game 3 of the American League Division Series on Monday night might be the moneymaking outing he needed.Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty ImagesHowever, there are concerns surrounding the 28-year-old because he had Tommy John surgery in 2017 and went 6-7 in 22 regular-season starts for the Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays.The market for Eovaldi could develop further if he continues to shine in the postseason, and the Texas Rangers could be a potential suitor.Evan Grantof the Dallas Morning Newsnoted the Rangers have always liked the Texas native Cole Hamels Jersey , and with starting pitching being one of their needs, he could be a realistic fit.But until Texas hires a manager to replace Jeff Bannister, the team's free-agent expectations need to be tempered.A return to Boston could be in the cards for Eovaldi, especially if he performs well during a run to the World Series, but he wouldn't be a top option in the Red Sox rotation like he might be elsewhere.Prediction:Eovaldi inks a deal with Texas.Jed LowrieJed Lowrie was one of the most important pieces to the success of the Oakland Athletics in 2018, as he hit 23 home runs and drove in 99 runs, both of which were career highs.Lowrie has spent five of the last six seasons in Oakland, and after the numbers he put up in 2018, it would be wise for both parties to get a deal done, especially with the goodwill that remains between the player and franchise.In September, Lowrie expressed his interest to stay in Oakland during an interview with MLB Network Radio."They've expressed interest, but they haven't gone any further than that ," Lowrie said. "I'm just taking it as it comes and that's really all you can do as a player so we'll see. I can definitively say I really enjoy playing with these guys and I think I'm a good fit."The interest in bringing back Lowrie is mutual, as the Athletics explored a new deal with the infielder during the summer, as Fox's Ken Rosenthal reported.Unless a breakdown in talks occurs, Lowrie should remain in Oakland, but it wouldn't be a surprise to see interest from elsewhere after he produced a career season.Prediction:Lowrie stays in Oakland.Follow Joe on Twitter, JTansey90.

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