Big League Stew

The Juice: Braves reach 80 wins on Chris Johnson’s game-winning single

Mark Townsend
Big League Stew

The Juice returns for season No. 6! It's almost eligible for free-agency! Stop by daily for news from the action, along with great photos, stats, video highlights and more.

The Atlanta Braves became the first team to reach 80 wins this season with their 3-2 victory over the Cleveland Indians on Wednesday night. Jordan Schafer drove in Atlanta's first two runs with a bases loaded single in the second inning. After Cleveland chipped away and eventually evened the game with single runs in the fourth and eighth, Schafer took charge again, singling and then stealing second base with one out in the ninth. That set the stage for Chris Johnson, who after an intentional walk to Freddie Freeman brought Schafer home with a walk-off single.

It goes as a tough luck no-decision for Atlanta starter Paul Maholm, who allowed one run on six hits in six innings. Closer Craig Kimbrel picked up the victory with a spotless ninth. But most importantly, the Braves maintained their 13.5 game lead in the National League and lowered the magic number by one.

King’s Kryptonite: The only team Felix Hernandez has been unable to handle with any consistency throughout his phenomenal career is the Texas Rangers. That didn’t change a bit on Wednesday as Hernandez allowed a career-high eight earned runs over a season low three innings in Seattle’s 12-4 loss. That puts Hernandez at 0-4 with a 7.57 ERA in five starts against Texas this season. Stunning numbers, but perhaps Texas just has his number.

From the Associated Press:

''We don't own him. No one owns him,'' Rangers manager Ron Washington said. ''He's only human and there's some days he's going to go out there and things aren't going to fall into place. Fortunate for us, today was one of those days.''

Wednesday was actually just the latest in those days. If you can believe this, in 39 career starts against Texas, Hernandez now has 12-20 record. That makes him the first and only pitcher to lose 20 games against the Rangers.

MORE SCORES

Dodgers 4, Cubs 0: Yasiel Puig mystery overshadowed Ricky Nolasco’s eight innings of three-hit ball.

Blue Jays 7, Yankees 2: Toronto wins two out of three in the series after losing 12 of first 13 meetings with New York.

Red Sox 4, Orioles 3: Chris Davis hit his 47th home run for Baltimore, but it was Mike Carp's bloop RBI single in the eighth that provided the difference for Boston.

A’s 14, Tigers 4: Oakland put up at least three runs in four different innings. Brandon Moss led the way with two home runs and six RBIs.

Phillies 6, Mets 2: Cole Hamels tosses seven strong innings to improve to 6-13.

Rays 4, Angels 1: Tampa Bay keeps pace with Boston (2.5 back) behind another stellar outing from rookie right-hander Chris Archer.

Pirates 7, Brewers 1: Marlon Byrd made himself right at home with a three-run homer to punctuate Pittsburgh's latest victory.

Nationals 4, Marlins 3: Bryce Harper says it's not football season just yet in Washington D.C. At 7 games back in the Wild Card, we believe him.

White Sox 6, Astros 1: Chris Sale left the lunch cooler alone and abused Houston's lineup instead — 12 strikeouts in eight innings.

Royals 8, Twins 1: Huge days for Salvador Perez: Two home runs and six RBIs.

Rockies 5, Giants 4: Jhoulys Chacin carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning, earned his 13th victory.

Reds 10, Cardinals 0: Pregame fireworks in the clubhouse led to an offensively explosion for Cincinnati.

Padres 5, Diamondbacks 1: A good ballgame until Heath Bell allowed home runs to Will Venable and Jesus Guzman in the eighth inning.

''You want to feel accepted. I felt accepted all day long.''

— Marlon Byrd on his debut with Pittsburgh.

View photo

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(USA Today)

Astros center fielder Brandon Barnes and a young fan reach for Chicago White Sox outfielder Avisail Garcia's first career home run. Neither caught it.

• The Seattle Mariners will promote top pitching prospect Taijuan Walker on Friday.

• Yankees right-hander Hiroki Kuroda finished August with a 5.12 ERA. He led MLB with a 0.55 ERA in July. (Via ESPN Stats & Info)

• The Los Angeles Dodgers have signed Edinson Volzquez to a minor league deal.

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