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Braves trade for pitching help

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Braves trade for pitching help

The Braves may have lost out on Ryan Dempster, but on Monday they were able to acquire another Chicago Cubs starting pitcher in lefty Paul Maholm. Maholm heads to Atlanta along with outfielder Reed Johnson in exchange for top pitching prospect Arodys Vizcaino and right-hander Jaye Chapman.

Maholm, 30, joins the Braves rotation having gone 9-6 with a 3.74 ERA in 20 starts for Chicago this season. He is an eight-year veteran with his seven other seasons spent with the Pittsburgh Pirates. His career ERA is 4.30, but last year he posted a 3.66 clip and has continued that improvement into this season.

Johnson is a utility player who has appeared in 76 games this season for the Cubs. He holds a .302 average with three home runs and 16 RBI.

Vizcaino leaves Atlanta after undergoing Tommy John surgery earlier this year. He was part of the teams trio of blue chip pitching prospects, but due to injury wasnt able to produce for the Braves.

Maholm should slot into the teams rotation quickly as they have seen frustrating results from several starters this year. Jair Jurrjens continues to struggle with a 7.04 ERA in ten starts and Mike Minor has labored with a 5.18 ERA through 113.0 innings this season.

The Braves are in second place in the N.L. East behind the Nationals, but have won six straight games. Their pitching has improved of late with five straight games allowing two runs or less to their opponents. Still, with the absence of ace Brandon Beachy, the Braves have been looking for pitching help for the pennant race and Maholm may help stabilize their rotation.

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Soto, Harper homer in Nats' win over Padres

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USA TODAY Sports Images

Soto, Harper homer in Nats' win over Padres

WASHINGTON -- Juan Soto, the youngest player in the majors at 19, hit a three-run homer in his first career start as the Washington Nationals defeated the San Diego Padres 10-2 on Monday.

Mark Reynolds had two solo home runs for the Nationals, who snapped a three-game losing streak. Bryce Harper had a homer and an RBI double.

Soto's drive highlighted a five-run second inning for Washington. The promising outfielder, who played for three minor league teams this season, hit the first pitch from Robbie Erlin (1-3) over the Nationals bullpen in left-center field. Soto also singled.

Soto's homer traveled an estimated 442 feet at Nationals Park. He earned a standing ovation from the crowd and the teenager responded by taking a curtain call. Per Baseball-Reference.com, Soto became the first teenager to hit a home run in a major league game since Harper on Sept. 30, 2012.

Called up to Washington on Sunday, Soto became the first 19-year-old to make his major league debut since Dodgers pitcher Julio Urias in 2016. He entered that game in the eighth inning as a pinch-hitter and struck out.

Washington's starting left fielder began the season at Class A Hagerstown. He hit a combined .362 with 14 homers and 52 RBIs in his three minor league stops.

Gio Gonzalez (5-2) allowed two runs and two hits in seven innings.

San Diego's Franmil Reyes, playing in his seventh career game, also hit his first career home run.

Trea Turner hit a pair of RBI doubles for Washington. Reynolds had three hits.

Erlin surrendered six runs and seven hits over four innings in his third start of the season. San Diego had won three in a row.

Reyes connected for a two-run homer in the fourth inning, but the Padres' lineup generated little else against Gonzalez, who allowed one run over six innings in a no-decision at San Diego on May 9.

2018 MLB POWER RANKINGS AND OTHER NATS NEWS:

- Rankings Update: Where does your team fall?
- Cause For Concern?: How worried should Nats fans be?
- Very Persuasive: How Rizzo convinced Reynolds to come to D.C.

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Juan Soto crushes a homer in the first at-bat of his first-ever start

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@MLB

Juan Soto crushes a homer in the first at-bat of his first-ever start

Juan Soto, the highly-regarded 19-year-old Nationals' prospect, got his first major league start of his career tonight. 

How did it go, you ask? Surely it would take Soto - who was in Single-A less than two weeks ago - some time to adjust? 

What were you doing at 19??

2018 MLB POWER RANKINGS AND OTHER NATS NEWS:

- Rankings Update: Where does your team fall?
- Cause For Concern?: How worried should Nats fans be?
- Very Persuasive: How Rizzo convinced Reynolds to come to D.C.