The Atlanta Braves swept a three-game series

ATLANTA — in Pittsburgh last week Carlos Gonzalez Jersey , holding the Pirates to two total runs.The Braves, though, scored only nine runs themselves, and two of the victories were by one run.The teams meet in a three-game series at Atlanta’s SunTrust Park beginning Friday night with the Braves trying to hold off Philadelphia in the National League East and the Pirates no longer in playoff contention.Article continues below ...Anibal Sanchez (6-5, 3.05 ERA) is the scheduled starter for the Braves in the series opener, with fellow right-hander Jameson Taillon (10-9, 3.49) set to get the starting assignment for the Pirates.The Braves (74-59) saw their lead in the NL East cut to three games over the idle Phillies with a 5-4 loss to the Chicago Cubs in a makeup game Thursday night.It was the Braves’ sixth loss in their past seven home games and left them just 35-30 at SunTrust Park compared to 39-29 away from Atlanta.After losing two of three in St. Louis, the Pirates (65-69) are 12-20 since putting together an 11-game winning streak in July that kindled playoff hopes for the NL Central team. Taillon, who is in his third major-league season, has never faced the Braves, and it has been two years since 13-year veteran Sanchez faced the Pirates, against whom he is 3-5 with a 3.62 ERA in eight career starts. Sanchez, 34 , lost his two most recent starts, but allowed just nine hits and four runs over 12 1/3 innings against the Colorado Rockies and Miami Marlins.After allowing two hits over five scoreless innings at Miami on Saturday, Sanchez allowed a run in the sixth that put the Braves behind for good. He then left the game with two outs in the sixth with what the Braves termed right hamstring tightness.“He didn’t pop it, didn’t pull it, it was more I think probably a dehydration thing,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said afterward.Sanchez has had no lingering issues with the hamstring, although the injury did throw him off against the Marlins. “In the last hitters, I started thinking I can push my body and that’s why I lost my command,” Sanchez said.Taillon, 26, hasn’t allowed more than three earned runs in a start since May 22 and has a 2.95 ERA in the 16 starts since then.Taillon gave up one run in a victory over Milwaukee in his most recent outing on Saturday, going at least six innings for the sixth straight time and the eighth time in his past nine starts.“I knew the team needed innings,” Taillon said after beating the Brewers. “I enjoy that feeling. When the team needs me Gerardo Parra Jersey , that kind of sparks some extra energy.”Taillon has been especially tough on the road of late, going 6-2 with a 2.44 ERA in his last nine outings away from Pittsburgh.Pittsburgh is 9-18 against the NL East. Atlanta is 15-11 versus the NL Central. A look at what’s happening around the majors today:WIN OR GO WILDIn a big league first, a pair of tiebreaking Game 163s will be played on the same day to sort out the NL playoff picture. First, the Cubs host the Brewers to settle the NL Central at Wrigley Field. Then the Dodgers host the Rockies to determine an NL West champ. The losers of those games will play Tuesday in the NL wild-card game.Chicago will call on left-hander Jose Quintana (13-11, 4.09), who is 6-2 with a 1.60 ERA in 10 starts against Milwaukee. The Brewers are countering with Jhoulys Chacin (15-8, 3.56). The Midwest rivals might not be done with each other after Monday, either — the winner of the wild-card game will face the NL Central champ in the NL Division Series. How about a rematch?Colorado is attempting to end Los Angeles’ five-year reign atop the division and win its first NL West crown. Walker Buehler (7-5, 2.76 ERA) gets the start for the Dodgers, and the Rockies will counter with German Marquez (14-10, 3.76 ERA), who struck out eight straight to begin his last start.TRIPLE THREAT?Brewers dynamo Christian Yelich gets a final chance to claim the NL’s first Triple Crown since 1937. Yelich was 0 for 2 Sunday to end a 10-game hitting streak, though his .323 average is certain to remain tops in the NL. He enters Game 163 with 36 homers , one back of Colorado’s Nolan Arenado for the home run lead, and his 109 RBIs are two shy of Chicago’s Javier Baez for that title. There has not been a Triple Crown winner in the NL since Joe Medwick for the St. Louis Cardinals. Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera in 2012 won the AL’s first Triple Crown since Boston’s Carl Yastrzemski in 1967.JOB OPENReds interim manager Jim Riggleman will interview to lead Cincinnati full-time in 2019, though the club may wait until the end of October to fill the position. Riggleman took over after Bryan Price was fired following a 3-15 start, and the Reds went 64-80 under him. Among the other potential candidates, Hall of Fame shortstop Barry Larkin has told the team he isn’t interested at this time.DECISION TIMEA few longtime stars said seeming farewells Sunday amid uncertainty about their futures, and this week might bring some clarity on whether they’ll keep playing. Joe Mauer suited up at catcher for one more pitch with Minnesota in between standing ovations, and Adrian Beltre got a nice cheer from fans in his former home of Seattle when he was pulled midgame. Jose Reyes got a similar treatment with the Mets, while Hunter Pence may also decide to hang it up after a touching goodbye in San Francisco. None of those players confirmed they’re calling it quits just yet, though.