ATLANTA (AP) — Craig Kimbrel had a feeling this would be a special night, so he wanted about 30 to 40 family members and friends from Alabama to come watch him reach a rare milestone.
The hard-throwing closer became the eighth pitcher in major league history to earn 400 saves as the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Atlanta Braves 6-4 on Friday.
"I'm happy it was here in Atlanta," said Kimbrel, who began his career with the Braves. "I am happy the majority of my family was here to see it. Getting to take it in and enjoy it with them is great."
Making his 730th career appearance, the 34-year-old Kimbrel worked a scoreless ninth inning to get his sixth save in six chances this season. Of the seven previous relievers to reach 400 saves, only Mariano Rivera (697 games), Trevor Hoffman (706) and Kenley Jansen (778) hit the threshold in under 800 appearances.
Kimbrel, the 2011 NL Rookie of the Year, played his first five seasons in Atlanta, was a four-time All-Star with the Braves and still holds the franchise record with 186 saves. This is his first season with Philadelphia. Over his last 15 games since April 16, Kimbrel has faced 54 batters and has 26 strikeouts in 14 innings, but the right-hander has struggled at times this year with a 5.68 ERA.
Kimbrel grew up in Huntsville, Alabama, about a three-hour drive from Atlanta, and it was with the Braves that he broke through as one of the game's most feared relievers. He's been named an All-Star eight times, and he helped the Boston Red Sox win the 2018 World Series.
He said he never set out to break records or join exclusive lists, but his career has worked out pretty well.
"My goal is to show up and get ready to pitch in those opportunities as much as I can," Kimbrel said. "Always knowing I was closing games, I was hoping to get 35 to 40 a year doing my job, and that's about it. It's one year at a time, one save at a time."
Brandon Marsh hit a go-ahead, two-run single in the sixth for Philadelphia.
Facing reliever Joe Jiménez (0-1) with the bases loaded, Marsh made it 4-3 with a single to left field that scored Nick Castellanos and J.T. Realmuto. The Phillies scored twice in the seventh off Lucas Luetge on Trea Turner's RBI double and Bryce Harper's sacrifice fly.
The Braves led 3-2 in the fifth when Michael Harris II snapped a 1-for-28 slump with a two-run homer. Beginning the game hitting .165, Harris drove an 88 mph splitter from starter Taijuan Walker (4-2) for an opposite-field shot to left that made it 3-2. It was the second home run for Harris, last season's NL Rookie of the Year.
"I had some things go on early in the season with injuries and I guess that kind of affected some of my mechanics," Harris said. "I just had to bring that back once I was 100%. It's really tough. You've got to keep telling yourself to stay patient, just believe in yourself and play the game that you play."
The NL-leading Braves dropped to 31-20. Philadelphia, stuck in fourth place in the NL East after advancing to the World Series last year, is 24-27. The Phillies are seven games back of Atlanta in the division standings.
After failing to capitalize in the first two innings with a runner in scoring position, the Phillies took a 2-0 lead in the third when Bryson Stott and Turner walked and Castellanos tripled off the wall in right-center.
Atlanta trimmed the lead to 2-1 in the fourth. Travis d'Arnaud doubled, advanced to third on Marcell Ozuna's single and scored on Eddie Rosario's sacrifice fly.
Walker gave up 10 hits and three runs in 6 2/3 innings to win for the first time in four starts. He began the game 1-2 with a 5.14 ERA in seven career starts against Atlanta.
Jared Shuster, the Braves' top prospect according to MLB.com, allowed three hits and three runs in 5 2/3 innings. It was his fifth career start.
For Kimbrel, the night was special because he got to celebrate with so many loved ones.
"They've been supporting me forever," he said. "A lot of them were saying, 'This feels weird celebrating here in Atlanta.' It brought back a lot of memories, hanging out with the same group of people in the tunnel after the game and catching up."
He wasn't even nervous coming out of the bullpen, and he closed the game by getting Ronald Acuña Jr. on a grounder to third with a runner on.
"No, I was pretty locked in," Kimbrel said. "I mean, I had a lot of chances to think about it. I've been sitting pretty close to this milestone for a while now and I've just been able to throw the ball well lately. I was really just worried about getting the win tonight, and once the final out was made I was able to relax."
RAYS 9, DODGERS 3
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Cooper Criswell earned his first big league win, Yandy Díaz homered and drove in two runs, and major league-best Tampa Bay beat NL West-leading Los Angeles.
It was the first meeting between the teams since the Dodgers beat Tampa Bay in six games in the 2020 World Series.
Criswell (1-1) replaced opener Jalen Beeks with two outs in the second and allowed one run, four hits and three walks in four innings. In all, eight Rays pitchers gave up nine hits and six walks, but limited Los Angeles to 3-for-14 hitting with runners in scoring position.
Jose Siri added a two-run homer in the eighth for the Rays (38-15).
Noah Syndergaard (1-4) gave up six runs and eight hits in six innings in the loss.
Dodgers slugger Freddie Freeman extended his hitting streak to 15 games, going 2 for 4 with a walk.
REDS 9, CUBS 0
CHICAGO (AP) — Hunter Greene threw six hitless innings and Cincinnati came within six outs of the first no-hitter of the season in a victory over Chicago.
Greene (1-4) matched a career high with 11 strikeouts in picking up his first win in 11 starts this season. The hard-throwing 23-year-old right-hander walked two while throwing 110 pitches.
The Cubs got their only two hits in the eighth against Eduardo Salazar as Christopher Morel lined a single to center leading off the inning and Miles Mastrobuoni singled with one out.
Matt McLain, Spencer Steer, Tyler Stephenson and Stuart Fairchild each had three of Cincinnati's season-high 19 hits.
Cubs starter Justin Steele (6-2) got tagged for a season-worst six runs, five earned, and gave up 10 hits.
NATIONALS 12, ROYALS 10
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Lane Thomas opened the game with a home run, Corey Dickerson's three-run shot highlighted an eight-run sixth inning and Luis Garcia had six hits in Washington's win over Kansas City.
The eight-run inning was the largest scoring inning in Nationals' history and came against Kansas City's Jordan Lyles and Josh Staumont. Lyles (0-9) allowed five earned runs in five innings, giving up six hits and three walks with two strikeouts.
Bobby Witt Jr. had two homers for the Royals (15-37), a solo shot in the sixth inning and a three-run blast in the seventh, finishing with a career-high five RBIs.
Jeimer Candelario added a two-RBI triple for the Nationals. Patrick Corbin (4-5) worked 6 1/3 inning, allowing six runs, seven hits, four walks with six strikeouts.
METS 5, ROCKIES 2
DENVER (AP) — Francisco Lindor homered and drove in four runs, leading Max Scherzer and New York past Colorado.
Brandon Nimmo tripled twice, walked three times and scored three runs during a perfect night at the plate for the Mets, who have won seven of nine following a 6-16 skid.
Scherzer (4-2) struck out eight in seven innings of one-run ball. Adam Ottavino got two outs against his former team for his fifth save, aided by Nolan Jones' baserunning blunder in the ninth.
Ryan McMahon and Charlie Blackmon homered for Colorado. Jurickson Profar had a single to extend his on-base streak to 33 games.
Scherzer set season highs in innings, strikeouts and pitches with 102. He scattered six hits, didn't walk a batter and worked out of a jam in the seventh.
PADRES 5, YANKEES 1
NEW YORK (AP) — Juan Soto and Fernando Tatis Jr. hit two-run homers and San Diego beat New York.
Soto put the Padres ahead in the fifth inning against Randy Vásquez (0-1), who was making his big league debut. Tatis boosted the lead to 4-0 in the sixth against Ron Marinaccio.
Joe Musgrove (2-2) ended a four-start winless streak. He allowed one run and six hits in 6 1/3 innings with six strikeouts and no walks.
Anthony Rizzo had an RBI grounder in the sixth for the Yankees.
Rougned Odor added a run-scoring single in the ninth for San Diego against Ryan Weber, giving him 12 RBIs in his last five games.
ASTROS 5, ATHLETICS 2
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Hunter Brown struck out a career-high 10 over seven innings and retired 16 straight during one stretch, Corey Julks drove in three runs and Houston sent Oakland to its season-worst ninth straight loss and 12th in 13 games.
The A's (10-43) own the worst 53-game start since 1901. The 1932 Red Sox won their 53rd game to move to 11-42, then lost the next eight and 13 of 14.
After Esteury Ruiz singled to leading off the A's first, Brown (5-1) didn't allow another baserunner until a one-out walk in the sixth. Ryan Pressly earned his ninth save.
Seth Brown hit a two-run homer in the seventh for Oakland. James Kaprielian (0-5) made it 12 straight losses by the A's starters over the past 19 games since their only two wins May 5-6 at Kansas City.
WHITE SOX 12, TIGERS 3
DETROIT (AP) — Andrew Vaughn hit a two-run homer and drove in three runs, Yoan Moncada also had three RBIs and Chicago routed Detroit.
Lance Lynn (4-5) allowed three runs — one earned — on three hits and five walks while striking out five in six innings.
Joey Wentz (1-5) gave up five runs on six hits and two walks over four innings for the Tigers, who also had chances to score a lot of runs, but squandered many of the opportunities and finished 1 of 9 with runners in scoring position with eight left on base.
To save the bullpen, Detroit put shortstop Zach Short on the mound and he threw pitches in the mid-40s and Chicago hit three singles off him — giving it 17 hits — to go ahead by nine runs.
RANGERS 12, ORIOLES 2
BALTIMORE (AP) — Corey Seager hit his third career grand slam to highlight an eight-run fourth inning as Texas beat Baltimore for its ninth win in 12 games.
The Rangers' fourth inning featured a two-run homer by Robbie Grossman, two hits apiece by Josh Jung and Josh Smith, and Seager's bases-loaded shot to deep center.
Jon Gray (5-1) won his career-best fourth consecutive start. He gave up one run and four hits over seven innings, striking out eight and walking one.
Leody Travers hit a two-run homer in the second to give Texas the lead for good, and Marcus Semien extended his hitting streak to 15 games with an eighth-inning single.
Orioles rookie Grayson Rodriguez (2-2) allowed eight earned runs and six hits, including three homers, in 3 1/3 innings.
RED SOX 7, DIAMONDBACKS 2
PHOENIX (AP) — Chris Sale threw five strong innings, Kiké Hernández smacked a two-run homer and Boston snapped a four-game losing streak by beating Arizona.
It was Sale's fourth consecutive impressive outing, and the 34-year-old gave up one run on four hits while striking out three and walking one.
The Red Sox jumped ahead 3-0 in the second. Rookie Triston Casas and Connor Wong hit run-scoring doubles, while Raimel Tapia drove home the third run with a single through the right side. Boston finished with 14 hits, including three each for Alex Verdugo and Casas.
It was another mediocre outing from D-backs rookie Brandon Pfaadt (0-2), who gave up five runs on eight hits over 3 2/3 innings. Arizona's Lourdes Gurriel Jr. hit an RBI triple in the fourth, extending his hitting streak to a major league-best 17 games.
MARLINS 6, ANGELS 4
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Jorge Soler homered for the fourth straight game and Miami snapped Los Angeles' four-game winning streak.
Bryan De La Cruz had four hits, including a two-run homer in the seventh inning, and Miami improved to 3-5 on its 10-game trip. Jesús Luzardo (4-3) allowed one run in five innings and struck out seven.
Mike Trout had an RBI single, Brandon Drury homered and Gio Urshela had three hits for the Angels.
Soler became the first Marlins player in six years to homer in four consecutive games with a solo shot in the third. The outfielder crushed a changeup down the middle by Reid Detmers (0-4).
GUARDIANS 4, CARDINALS 3
CLEVELAND (AP) — Shane Bieber worked into the seventh inning, Amed Rosario hit a three-run double and closer Emmanuel Clase survived another stress-filled ninth inning as Cleveland held on to beat St. Louis.
Bieber (4-3) limited the Cardinals to sacrifice flies by Nolan Arenado and Alec Burleson before a pair of two-out walks got him into trouble in the seventh.
Rosario's bases-clearing double in Cleveland's four-run fifth came off St. Louis rookie Matthew Liberatore (1-1).
Bieber allowed two runs and five hits in 6 2/3 innings before being pulled. He's 9-1 in his career against NL Central teams. Clase picked up his MLB-leading 17th save in 22 chances.
GIANTS 15, BREWERS 1
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Mitch Haniger hit a two-run homer and drove in four runs as San Francisco moved above .500 for the first time this season with a win over Milwaukee after the Brewers lost Willy Adames when he was struck by a foul ball while in the dugout.
Adames got hit by a line drive from teammate Brian Anderson in the bottom of the second inning. Adames left the stadium to receive more tests and evaluation.
Haniger went 3 of 5 with the homer and a two-run double. Patrick Bailey went 4 of 5 with three RBIs. J.D. Davis went 3 of 6 with three runs and three RBIs, including a two-run homer. Brett Wisely hit a three-run homer and went 2 for 5. Mike Yastrzemski was 3 of 5 and scored two runs. Michael Conforto scored three runs.
San Francisco's Alex Wood (1-0) worked 5 2/3 innings and gave up one run and three hits. He struck out five and walked five.
Brewers starter Freddy Peralta (5-4) gave up eight hits and a career-high 10 runs in just 2 1/3 innings.
BLUE JAYS 3, TWINS 1
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Kevin Kiermaier and Bo Bichette homered in a three-run third, Kevin Gausman won for the first time in more than month and slumping Toronto beat Minnesota.
Toronto won for the second time in nine games. Gausman (3-3) allowed a run and struck out eight over 5 1/3 innings for his first victory since April 23. Jordan Romano earned his 11th save.
Kiermaier got the scoring started with his fourth home run of the season, a solo shot to right field with two outs in the third. George Springer followed with his second double of the game and scored on Bichette's 10th home run.
Louie Varland (2-1) pitched six innings for the Twins.
PIRATES 11, MARINERS 6
SEATTLE (AP) — Andrew McCutchen hit the 21st leadoff homer of his career, the first of four home runs off Seattle starter George Kirby, and Pittsburgh matched a franchise record with seven long balls in the victory.
The seven home runs more than doubled Pittsburgh's previous high for a game this season (three) and marked the third time since 1901 the Pirates hit seven in a game. They previously did it in 2003 and 1947, both against St. Louis.
Jack Suwinski had his second multi-homer game of the season, with a two-out, two-run shot to center field off Kirby in the fifth inning and a long solo homer to right in the seventh. Bryan Reynolds finished with four RBIs including a two-run triple, an RBI single and his seventh homer.
Carlos Santana, Ke'Bryan Hayes and Tucupita Marcano added solo shots.
Kirby (5-4) gave up nine hits and struck out four. Julio Rodríguez and J.P. Crawford homered for Seattle.
Mitch Keller (6-1) allowed six runs on seven hits and struck out eight.
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