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Another series Bengals Game Jerseys ,
another opponent sitting at the top of its division.

That’s the scenario for the St. Louis Cardinals this weekend as they welcome
the Atlanta Braves, who lead the National League East, for a three-game series
at Busch Stadium starting Friday.

And Atlanta (45-34) will be a stronger team offensively for the series.
Prized rookie outfielder Ronald Acuna will be activated off the 10-day disabled
list for Friday night’s game and should slot right into the lineup.

The 21-year-old Acuna, who missed a month with a right knee injury suffered
on May 27 in Boston, hit .265 with five homers and 13 RBIs in his first 117 big
league at-bats. Acuna recorded a solid .779 OPS, although his 10 walks and 37
strikeouts suggests he needs to gain a bit more control of the strike zone.

Acuna’s return at least tempers worries about the status of center fielder
Ender Inciarte, who left Wednesday’s 6-5 loss to Cincinnati when he felt
discomfort near his left oblique. Should Inciarte have to miss any time, Acuna
could bat near the top of the lineup.

The Braves missed a chance to extend their division lead during a six-game
homestand against two last-place teams. They lost two of three to Baltimore,
which has the worst record in baseball, and dropped two of three to Cincinnati,
which isn’t playing like a last-place team at the moment with nine wins in 10
games.

“We didn’t play up to our capabilities 100 percent,” Atlanta starting pitcher
Sean Newcomb said to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “You’re not going to
every day. I know we’re going to come back out at St. Louis and be pretty
strong, pitching and offensively.”

The Braves will have to be strong to deal with Cardinals right-hander Miles
Mikolas (8-2, 2.69 ERA), who has been one of baseball’s best free-agent finds
this year. Signed after three successful years in Japan, Mikolas has put
together an All-Star resume with St. Louis.

He is coming off a 3-2 win Saturday in Milwaukee, giving up only three hits
and two runs to the NL Central leaders in a 6 2/3-inning effort. Mikolas walked
two and fanned five, giving him 71 strikeouts and just 12 walks in 97
innings.

Mikolas has faced Atlanta just once in his career, throwing two shutout
innings in relief six years ago when he pitched for San Diego.

Julio Teheran (5-5, 4.52) will continue a season-long search for consistency
as he starts for the Braves. After tossing six no-hit innings on June 17 in a
win over San Diego, Teheran was belted around Saturday for seven runs on six
hits in 4 2/3 innings of a 7-5 loss to Baltimore.

The veteran right-hander has made five career starts against the Cardinals,
going 1-3 with a 3.86 earned run average. Two players who have hurt him are Matt
Carpenter, who is 6-for-12 with two homers Browns
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, and Marcell Ozuna, who is batting .405 with three
homers in 42 career at-bats against Teheran.

St. Louis (42-37) had a four-game winning streak snapped Wednesday with a 5-1
loss to Cleveland.

It was a much-needed win for the San Francisco Giants, but
it came at a great cost.

Pablo Sandoval’s tie-breaking two-run single in the 16th inning lifted the
Giants past the Miami Marlins 6-3 on Thursday, but the Giants also lost third
baseman Evan Longoria to a broken left hand after he was hit by a pitch.

”A great win, but a tough loss,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.

Longoria sustained a fracture to his fifth metacarpal, which could require
surgery. A decision is expected in the next couple of days.

”Obviously the goal is to decide something as soon as possible and then get
going in the right direction, whether that’s put a cast on it and just let it
sit or have some sort of surgery and go that route,” Longoria said.

Longoria initially stayed in the game to run after he was hit in the fourth
inning, but came out in between innings.

”It wasn’t my legs,” Longoria said. ”I just hate coming out of the game right
away. I’ve always thought it looked bad. I knew right away that it didn’t feel
right, but I just figured I could run and in the meanwhile let (Alen Hanson) get
loose and come into the game.”

Longoria is hitting .246 with 10 home runs and 34 RBIs in 67 games.

”It’s a tough loss,” Sandoval said. ”I don’t know how many days he’s going to
be out, but we’re going to miss the guy. He’s a great hitter, great defensive
player, and a great teammate. I hope he recovers well and comes back to help us
get to the postseason.”

Andrew McCutchen hit a two-run homer to continue his torrid month and Mac
Williamson also homered for the Giants, who salvaged the final game of a
four-game series and beat the Marlins for only the second time in the last 10
meetings.

”It was a great win to head home on after a tough series,” Bochy said. ”I’m
looking forward to getting out of Miami, trust me.”

Giants’ starter Dereck Rodriguez pitched 6 2-3 innings, allowing two runs
with his father and former Marlins’ World Series championship catcher Pudge
Rodriguez sitting behind home plate. Ty Blach (4-5) also pitched 6 2-3 innings
for the Giants without allowing a run. He gave up seven hits, walked two, and
struck out three.

”Two quality starts in one game. I’ll take it,” Rodriguez said.

Sam Dyson came on for Blach to get the final out with two runners on for his
first save of the season.

McCutchen started the 16th with a single Cowboys Game Jerseys ,
Brandon Crawford walked and Alen Hanson singled to load the bases of Elieser
Hernandez (0-4). Sandoval’s single to center made it 5-3, and Gorkys Hernandez
added a sacrifice fly later in the inning. The runs were the first for the
Giants since the second.

”I just tried to calm down – everyone was tired – and tried not to do too
much,” Sandoval said.

Miami had two runners on in the bottom of the 16th for Bryan Holaday, who
flew out to end the game.

”Epic game,” Bochy said.

It was the longest game of the season for the Giants and the second-longest
for the Marlins, who went 17 innings in a 2-1 win over the Chicago Cubs on March
30.

Both teams had opportunities in extra innings after the Marlins tied the game
in the bottom of the ninth off Hunter Strickland on a sacrifice fly by Lewis
Brinson. Second baseman Joe Panik was unable to hold onto a pop up near the foul
line, allowing the lead-off runner to reach.

It was the eighth time in the series the Marlins came back to tie the
game.

”It was one of those series where you kind of play back and forth,” Marlins
manager Don Mattingly said. ”Close games. Good for a lot of situations.”

The Giants looked to take the lead in the 11th on a double by Hanson, but
Crawford was thrown out at the plate.

Miami threatened in the 13th when Bochy ordered an intentional walk to
Starlin Castro load the bases with two outs and Hernandez due to bat because the
Marlins were out of position players. Hernandez bounced out to Blach.

”With Castro up there, that was an easy one,” Bochy said. ”I wasn’t going to
let him beat us there. We were in a pretty good situation there.”

The Marlins had another opportunity in the 15th with runners on the corners
and one out, but Justin Bour grounded into a double play. Bour slammed his
helmet to the ground in disgust.

”I saw it off the bat and I thought we might have a chance,” Blach said.

McCutchen hit a two-run homer in the first inning for the second straight
game. Five of his eight home runs have been this month. He went 3 for 7 to raise
his batting average to .339 (19 for 56) in June, historically the best month of
his career. He has 11 multi-hit performances in his last 18 games.

Williamson’s fourth home run of the season gave the Giants a 3-0 lead against
Dan Straily in the second inning.

JT Riddle’s solo shot, his third, cut the deficit to 3-1 in the fifth.

Holaday’s two-out base hit to left pulled Miami within 3-2 in the seventh,
ending Rodriguez’s outing.

”It’s really good to see everyone in this room just continues to keep working
toward every single at-bat, getting a hit, getting a hit, just no one giving
into anything, everyone scratching and clawing through every single pitch,”
Straily said.

Rodriguez scattered seven hits and struck out four in his third start.

SMITH EXPECTED TO GO ON BEREAVEMENT LIST

Miami’s Caleb Smith was not with the club due to a funeral and is expected to
go on the bereavement list. Mattingly said Smith will make his next scheduled
s

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