A look at what’s happening around the majors Thursday:
Suspensions could be on deck after Wednesday night’s melee between the Braves and Marlins. Ronald Acuna’s chance to extend his home run streak was put on hold when Miami pitcher Jose Urena hit the rookie slugger in the left elbow with his first pitch, a 97 mph fastball that left Acuna in obvious pain. The benches and bullpens for both teams emptied twice. Urena and Atlanta manager Brian Snitker were ejected, and Snitker had angry words for the pitcher. The 20-year-old Acuna exited in the second inning – the Braves said X-rays were negative and results of further tests would be announced Thursday. Atlanta won 5-2 to complete a four-game sweep.
Marcell Ozuna and the Cardinals try to extend their season-best winning streak to nine games when they go for a four-game sweep of fading Washington. St. Louis, which is 18-9 since the All-Star break, hopes to have Matt Carpenter back in the lineup. On a major tear at the plate, Carpenter was removed from Wednesday night’s game as a precaution after being hit on the hand by a pitch in the seventh inning. X-rays were negative, and Carpenter doesn’t expect to miss any time. “The pain and swelling started to go down a bit,” he said. “I definitely dodged a bullet there.” Before leaving, Carpenter extended his on-base streak to 33 games. He has 17 homers and 30 RBIs during the run.
TRYING TO FIND IT
Struggling lefty Jon Lester and the first-place Cubs visit Pittsburgh in the opener of a four-game series between NL Central rivals. Lester (12-5, 3.89 ERA) is 0-3 with a 10.32 ERA in five starts since the All-Star break. Ivan Nova (7-6, 4.42) gets the ball for the Pirates.
LET’S PLAY FIVE
Philadelphia hosts the New York Mets in an odd five-game series that begins with a single-admission doubleheader and ends with a “home” game about 180 miles northeast of Citizens Bank Park. The doubleheader Thursday includes the makeup of a May 12 rainout. Aaron Nola (13-3, 2.28 ERA) starts the opener for the Phillies, who trail first-place Atlanta by two games in the NL East. Steven Matz is set to come off the disabled list for New York. Zach Eflin opposes Mets rookie Corey Oswalt in the nightcap. The teams then have a 6:05 p.m. start time Friday because of a postgame concert. They play a late-afternoon game Saturday before traveling to Williamsport, Pennsylvania, for Sunday’s Little League Classic.
IF YOU CAN MAKE IT THERE …
Tampa Bay has lost 12 consecutive series at Yankee Stadium dating to September 2014, but Blake Snell and the Rays can end that dubious streak in the finale of a three-game set. Snell (13-5, 2.18 ERA) makes his second start after a stint on the disabled list because of left shoulder fatigue. He faced Toronto in his previous outing and was perfect through five innings before being pulled. Masahiro Tanaka (9-3, 4.08) pitches for New York.
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