LEADING OFF: Braves streaking, Harper hurting, Cole dominant

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

HOME OF THE BRAVES

Josh Donaldson and the Atlanta Braves have won nine in a row, their best string since 2014. The NL East leaders also have taken 13 straight at SunTrust Park.

Donaldson hit his 36th home run in a 5-4 win over Washington on Saturday night. He has 28 homers since June 11. The Nationals have lost four in a row and lead the NL wild-card race by two games over the Cubs.

Nationals ace Max Scherzer (9-5, 2.60 ERA) tries to end Atlanta’s streaks. He makes his fourth straight start since returning from back trouble – the three-time Cy Young Award winner has no decisions and a 4.66 ERA in his last four outings.

Mike Soroka (11-3, 2.53 ERA) pitches for the Braves.

HARPER HURTING

Phillies star Bryce Harper could return to the lineup if his right hand is feeling better. He was hit by a pitch from Steven Matz of the Mets on Friday night and sat out Saturday.

X-rays were negative and manager Gabe Kapler was confident there were no fractures in the hand. Kapler said the day off was a “precautionary measure.”

Harper is batting .254 with 30 homers, 100 RBIs and an .869 OPS, including 12 homers and a .965 OPS in 30 games since Aug. 1.

HOT AS COLE

Astros ace Gerrit Cole is 11-0 in his last 17 starts and leads the majors with 266 strikeouts. Overall, he’s 15-5 with a 2.81 ERA going into this outing at home for the AL West leaders against Seattle.

Felix Hernandez (1-5, 6.02 ERA) starts for the Mariners.

RAYS OF HOPE

Tampa Bay has won four in a row and continues to hold a narrow lead over Oakland and Cleveland in the race for the two AL wild-card spots.

Daniel Robertson drove in late runs with a double and single during a 5-3 win over Toronto on Saturday night.

“You’ve just got to be ready when you’re called upon, but that is a great feeling,” Robertson said. “Failing and then doing it, that’s pretty cool, too.”

The 25-year-old infielder has struggled through a season of slumps and injuries, in the majors and the minors, and began the day with a .203 batting average.

MARVELOUS MOLINA

Yadier Molina has a 14-game hitting streak, two short of the career best for Cardinals star catcher. He’ll next face Pirates right-hander James Marvel, who will be making his major league debut – the 25-year-old was 7-0 with a 2.67 ERA in 11 starts for Triple-A Indianapolis.

Jack Flaherty (9-7, 3.14) starts at PNC Park for NL Central-leading St. Louis. He’s coming off his best outing of the season, allowing one hit with eight strikeouts in eight innings of a 1-0 win against San Francisco.

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Atlanta Braves Josh Donaldson runs the bases after a home run against the Washington Nationals during the fourth inning of a baseball game Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Tami Chappell)
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