MLB recap: Braves are the best in baseball

The Atlanta Braves have the best record in baseball, Cespedes is hurt, snow in Minnesota Photo: Dan Uggla throws to first/AP Evan Vucci

LOS ANGELES, April 14, 2013 — The Braves are proving to be the team to beat in the National League. A lot happened this weekend from shutouts to rain delays to injuries to snow storms. Here is what the weekend looked like in baseball.

The Atlanta Braves swept the Washington Nationals in a three game series in the nation’s capital. The Braves are clearly playing like the best team in baseball right now. The Nationals’ bullpen blew the lead on Friday. Saturday was a good pitcher’s duel between Stephen Strasburg and Tim Hudson. Sunday was a blowout, 9-0, as Gio Gonzalez gave up seven runs in five innings for the Nationals.

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The Cincinnati Reds were also involved in a sweep over the weekend, but were on the wrong end, losing to the Pittsburgh Pirates. Pittsburgh has now won five out of their last six games after being swept by the Dodgers. The Reds, on the other hand, have lost five games in a row. Cincinnati took a six run lead into the seventh inning on Sunday, but the Pirates scored four in the seventh and six runs in the eighth.

The Anaheim Angels lost to Houston on Friday, 5-0, but took the next two games in the series. More importantly for Anaheim, Josh Hamilton hit his first homerun on Saturday, then went 3 for 4 on Sunday with his second homerun of the season. He may be breaking out of his early season slump.

Yoenis Cespedes is injured after attempted slide/AP Ben Margot

The Oakland A’s had a bad weekend. Not only did they lose two out of three to Detroit, but they also lost Yoenis Cespedes to injury. Cespedes sprained a muscle in his hand while attempting to slide and will miss two weeks. The good news is that Oakland fans will get a chance to see what outfield prospect Michael Taylor can do. Torii Hunter continues to swing a hot bat, as he went 5 for 12 over the weekend with a homerun, a triple, a double, and three runs scored.

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The Yankees took two out of three from Baltimore with a 3-0 shutout from Hiroki Kuroda, the fifth of his career. New York also had a good start by CC Sabathia on Friday. He went eight innings, giving up one earned run and striking out nine with no walks. The Yankees now lead Baltimore by half of a game and trail Boston by a game in the AL East.

The Dodgers let good starts by Clayton Kershaw on Friday and Josh Beckett on Sunday go to waste as they dropped two out of three to Arizona. Beckett struck out nine, but took the loss in a 1-0 complete game. The one run coming on a walk off single for the Diamondbacks. Kershaw also struck out nine on Friday while giving up three runs in 7 1/3 innings for Los Angeles.

San Francisco won three out of the four games between the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. The first three games were close and the finale went 10 innings. The bad news for San Francisco is that Tim Lincecum had another pedestrian start on Sunday, giving up four runs in five innings.

The Royals avoided a sweep by Toronto on Sunday, winning 3-2 in Kansas City. Ervin Santana went eight innings for the Royals and only gave up one homerun. Toronto starter R.A. Dickey picked up his first win as a Blue Jay on Saturday. Toronto has won three out of their last five games after starting the season with a 2-7 record.

SEE RELATED: Dodgers and Padres brawl; Greinke injured

Other Series…

Cleveland won two out of three against the White Sox while beating up on Chris Sale. The Philadelphia Phillies took two games from Miami and Roy Halladay looked a little but more like the real Roy Halladay. St. Louis won their series with Milwaukee, 2-1.

The Mariners and Rangers showed why four game series are dumb, as they tied 2-2. Colorado swept the Sand Diego Padres in San Diego.

Tampa Bay will look to avoid a sweep as they conclude their series with Boston on Monday after the game on Friday was rained out. The New York Mets took the first two games of the series in Minnesota before the final game was snowed out. They will make up the game in August.

Kevin J. Wells writes about Major League Baseball and punk rock music.  Follow him on Twitter @WellsOnBaseball


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Kevin J Wells

Kevin J. Wells was born and raised in the Los Angeles area in a town called Montrose.  He currently plays guitar for and is a founding member of the Los Angeles punk rock band Emmer Effer.  He has worked in a number of different career fields including Behavioral Therapy, Commodities, Insurance, and most recently a food cart in Portland, OR. Kevin has been both a sports and entertainment columnist and editor for The Washington Times Communities since January 2013.

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