”It’s time to go home right now Chaz Green Jersey ,” Albies said. ”It’s time to go deep. I went up there with one mentality, of hitting a home run.”
Albies hit a tiebreaking homer in the 11th inning off Dylan Floro and the Atlanta Braves snapped the Cincinnati Reds‘ seven-game winning streak with a 5-4 victory on Monday night.
Albies knocked Floro’s first pitch, a changeup, into the right-field seats. Albies doubled twice before hitting Atlanta’s fifth game-ending homer this season. He’s hitting .455 over his last seven games, and his 17 homers are tied for third-most in the NL.
”I’m just trying to hit the ball where it’s pitched,” he said. ”Put a good swing on it.”
Rain delayed the start of the game by 1 hour, 20 minutes, the 10th delay at SunTrust Park this season and the third in the last four games.
The NL East-leading Braves have won eight of 12. They improved to 2-7 in extra innings.
Luke Jackson (1-0), the seventh Atlanta pitcher, faced four batters in the 11th to earn the win. Floro (0-1) was the Reds’ sixth pitcher.
Braves reliever Lucas Sims blew a two-run lead in the sixth, allowing three straight singles, issuing a bases-loaded walk and giving up an RBI groundout to pinch-hitter Adam Duvall that made it 3-all.
Scott Schebler doubled to begin the seventh, advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt and made it 4-3 on Joey Votto’s RBI groundout. The Braves tied it at 4-all in the seventh on Santana’s RBI double.
Atlanta starter Mike Foltynewicz, reinstated from the disabled list with right triceps tightness, allowed one run Tyquan Lewis Jersey Elite , one hit and four walks in five innings. He struck out four while throwing 91 pitches.
Foltynewicz gave up his first hit to Schebler, whose 10th homer cut the lead to 2-1 in the fifth. Over his last eight starts, Foltynewicz has a 0.96 ERA.
”He had a really fresh arm and just pounded the zone on us and made us work,” Schebler said. ”We made him work as well. We weren’t going down easy. We were grinding out at-bats and made him get out of the game probably a lot quicker than he wanted to.”
Reds starter Tyler Mahle loaded the bases with no out in the fifth before a groundout put the Braves up 3-1. Mahle gave up hits, three runs and four walks with five strikeouts in five innings.
Cincinnati was coming off a four-game home sweep of the Chicago Cubs and had won 10 of 12, but the Reds are still stuck in last place in the NL Central, five games out of fourth place.
”Schebler gave us a chance a couple of times,” interim Reds manager Jim Riggleman said. ”Tough one to lose, but we did a lot of good things again, and if we play like that we’re going to win a lot of ballgames.”
Markakis, the NL hits leader, singled in the third to reach 100 hits. He leads the league in doubles and multi-hit games and ranks second to Cincinnati’s Scooter Gennett in batting average. Markakis went 2 for 4.
Reds: INF Nick Senzel, the No. 2 overall draft pick of 2016, had season-ending surgery to repair a torn tendon in his right index finger. He suffered the injury on Friday with Triple-A Louisville. In 44 games at Triple-A Louisville, Senzel hit .310 with six homers and 25 RBIs.
Braves: LF Ronald Acuna Jr. Jim McMahon Jersey , sidelined since May 28 with a left knee sprain and bruises to his knee and lower back, will move down in the batting order when he returns from a rehab assignment later this week. He batted in the No. 2 hole in 25 of his 29 games before getting hurt. Manager Brian Snitker likes how Inciarte and Albies are complementing each other in the top two spots.
Reds: RHP Matt Harvey (2-5, 5.66 ERA) will make his ninth start for Cincinnati since getting traded from the New York Mets on May 8. He is 2-3 with a 4.79 ERA with the Reds and is 3-7 with a 5.27 ERA in 12 career starts and one relief appearance against Atlanta.
Braves: RHP Anibal Sanchez (3-1, 2.55 ERA) will face the Reds for the first time since 2015. He is 2-1 with a 2.22 ERA in four starts this month.
No team in the NFL this season allowed fewer points or yards than the Minnesota Vikings, putting them in better position than any of their competitors to prove that old ”defense wins championships” adage to be true.
For the first time since the famed Purple People Eaters defensive line played in, and lost, four Super Bowls throughout the 1970s, the Vikings have a legitimate title contender with a dominant defense as the backbone.
”These last few weeks we’ve played really, really well. Defensively, we have a lot of good players. They understand this system and what their responsibility is, and they play very, very hard,” coach Mike Zimmer said. ”They’ve got this little edge on them right now that they don’t want to give an inch.”
Zimmer’s assessment came after the 23-10 victory over Chicago in the final regular-season game, in which the only Bears touchdown came on a trick punt return. Chicago ran 11 plays from the 10-yard line or closer in the fourth quarter and failed to cross the goal line.
The week before that, the Vikings defeated injury-depleted Green Bay 16-0 for their first shutout of the Packers in 46 years. In the game prior to that Youth Jason McCourty Jersey , they beat Cincinnati 34-7 with the only touchdown by the Bengals coming midway through the fourth quarter against Vikings backups on a 23-yard drive set up by an interception.
Tally that all up, and Minnesota’s starting defense has essentially surrendered a total of three points over the last three games. Even against three non-playoff teams, the average of 200 yards per contest yielded and the cumulative 6-for-40 third-down conversion allowance was quite a stamp to put on the 2017 performance.
”The thing about our defense is we’re very unselfish. At the end of the day, we understand that if we do what we need to do, do our jobs, do what the defense is called, nobody can stop us,” defensive end Brian Robison said. ”We just have to keep that mentality going forward.”
Robison is the longest-tenured player on the team, the only one remaining from 2009 when Brett Favre’s age-40 renaissance carried the Vikings to the NFC championship game. The defense was stout in that game at New Orleans, an overtime loss to the Saints, but that was Favre’s team. The 1998 and 2000 teams that also reached the NFC title game were about Randy Moss and Cris Carter and those record-setting passing attacks. Even the upstart 1987 squad that survived the strike and sneaked into the playoffs scored 80 points over the first two postseason games to reach the NFC championship.
The Vikings would not have finished 13-3 and earned a first-round bye without a productive offense. Case Keenum came out of backup-quarterback obscurity to finish seventh in the NFL with a 98.3 passer rating. Adam Thielen was named a second team All-Pro wide receiver. The Vikings finished seventh in the league in rushing. The identity and strength of this team, though, is unmistakably on the other side of the ball.
The Vikings were second in the league in both rushing and passing yards allowed, so there’s not one way to attack them that’s better than another. Defensive end Everson Griffen, linebacker Anthony Barr and cornerback Xavier Rhodes were all Pro Bowl picks. Safety Harrison Smith was widely considered one of the biggest snubs Nick Martin Jersey , having been given the highest performance grade for any player at any position in the NFL this season by the analytics website Pro Football Focus.
”I just think it’s the lack of egos. Everybody wants everybody else to succeed. Nobody cares to be the man,” Barr said. ”We all play together.”
Zimmer’s scheme is built up front around gap control to stop the run and a synchronized pass rush to pressure the quarterback, rather than giving Griffen or defensive end Danielle Hunter a free-range assignment to chase sacks. Barr and linebacker Eric Kendricks have the side-to-side quickness to be able to limit passing yardage to the running backs from and sprint through the ”A” gaps on either side of the center on a blitz. Rhodes and cornerback Trae Waynes are sound tacklers, usually effective in physical press coverage. Rhodes spent so much time locking up opposing star receivers that he didn’t see many passes come his way. Then there’s Smith, who can roam in zone coverage for an interception or a big hit, line up in the slot against a tight end or execute a blitz off the edge.
Disguise is a big part of the success, too, with Zimmer’s ability to call a game that keeps the other team uncomfortable about where the rush will come from or how the coverage will be mixed up.
”They’re fun to watch,” said Thielen, who has a field-level view when he’s on the sideline. ”The way they fly around. The way that they get to the ball when it seems the team has an easy first down and, boom, they’re right there closing the gap and stopping them short.”