LEADING OFF: Dodgers-Braves, Giant debut, Houston hits skid

National Sports
Cody Bellinger

Los Angeles Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger watches the flight of a solo home run in the first inning of a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves, Friday, Aug. 16, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

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A look at what’s happening around the majors today:


The top two teams in the National League meet again when Cody Bellinger and the Dodgers visit Atlanta. Los Angeles starter Hyun-Jin Ryu (12-2) leads the majors with a 1.45 ERA. Mike Foltynewicz (4-5, 6.24 ERA) gets the ball for the Braves.

Bellinger hit his 41st home run Friday night, tied with Angels star Mike Trout for most in the majors, and the Dodgers won the series opener 8-3 while setting a big league record with 22 homers in a five-game span. The two-time defending NL champions also eliminated the Braves from the playoffs last year and swept them at home in May.

Atlanta outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr. leads the NL in stolen bases and needs one more to join Trout in 2012 as the only players with a 30-30 season before their 22nd birthday. Acuña has 35 home runs.


Top prospect Logan Webb makes his major league debut for the Giants against Arizona. The 22-year-old Webb has pitched at four minor league levels this season. He also was suspended for 80 games after testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug.

The teams combined for 12 home runs Friday night as San Francisco won 10-9 in 11 innings — only the second game in major league history to feature a dozen long balls. Arizona and Philadelphia bashed 13 on June 10 at Citizens Bank Park.

Mike Yastrzemski went deep three times for the Giants, including a tiebreaking shot in the 11th. It was his 70th big league game. His Hall of Fame grandfather, Carl Yastrzemski, had one three-homer performance in 3,308 career games — at Tiger Stadium on May 19, 1974.


Jose Altuve and the Astros look to snap a four-game losing streak as they play in Oakland again. Houston still has a 7½-game lead over the A’s, who have beaten the AL West leaders the past two nights to move within a half-game of Tampa Bay for the league’s second wild card.

Astros All-Star Gerrit Cole (right hamstring) could pitch in the upcoming Detroit series. Cole threw without pain Friday and will next throw a bullpen before a final decision is made. The right-hander was scratched before taking the mound in his previous scheduled start Tuesday at Chicago after feeling discomfort in his leg warming up.


Bryce Harper and the Phillies go for a season-best fifth straight victory against San Diego. The $330 million slugger has homered in three consecutive games, helping Philadelphia’s surge in the crowded NL wild-card chase. Since former manager Charlie Manuel took over as hitting coach Wednesday, the Phillies are batting .337 with 35 hits, eight doubles, seven homers and 25 RBIs. The move appears to be paying off in a big way for Harper, who is 6 for 12 with four homers and 10 RBIs in the last three games.


Nationals ace Max Scherzer (mild rhomboid strain), who has made just one start since the All-Star break, is set to throw another simulated game before the Nationals host Milwaukee in a matchup of NL playoff contenders. The three-time Cy Young Award winner is 9-5 with a 2.41 ERA.


It appears Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. is going to fall short in his push for NL Rookie of the Year. Tatis was placed on the 10-day injured list Friday with a back issue that “most likely” will end his season, according to manager Andy Green. The 20-year-old Tatis is batting .317 with 13 doubles, 22 homers and 53 RBIs in 84 games. Green said the injury was the result of “common usage” and will require rest to heal.

“It’s disappointing, obviously,” Green said. “We’re going to do what we can to take care of him, and we expect him to be a huge part of what we’re doing going forward. It’s been really tough for him the last couple of days to swallow. It’s a tough blow.”


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