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The market for J.D. Martinez appeared to comprise just one team — the Boston Red Sox, who had the means, motive and opportunity to sign the outfielder/DH whom no other team seemed to come close to in terms of offers. That may have contributed to the lengthy stalemate. I think the Red Sox blinked, giving Martinez a five-year, $110 million deal that is certainly too long (the deal includes an opt-out after two years), but does improve their offense in a way no other free agent this year could have, and directly boosts their chances of repeating as division champs.

In the short term, Martinez is exactly what the Red Sox need: a power hitter to insert into a lineup that hit the fewest homers of any American League team last year — 168, 18 home runs behind the next lowest total. The Red Sox were fifth in the AL in OBP last year, helping them to a sixth-place finish in runs scored despite the lack of home run power, but with even average home run totals they likely would have finished in the top three.

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St. Louis Cardinals’ Nolan Arenado homers in win over Rockies, says playing former team was ‘definitely weird’

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ST. LOUIS — Nolan Arenado homered against his former team, Adam Wainwright pitched a three-hitter into the ninth inning and the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Colorado Rockies 2-0 on Sunday.

Yadier Molina hit an RBI double, and Ryan Helsley got Josh Fuentes to ground into a game-ending double play with the bases loaded. St. Louis completed a three-game sweep and has won nine of 11 overall.

Arenado was acquired from the Rockies in a blockbuster trade in early February after the star third baseman spent the first eight years of his career with Colorado.

He said it felt strange playing against his old teammates during the weekend series.

“It was definitely weird,” Arenado said. “Obviously, I know a lot of those guys. At the end of the day, it was a great series to win.”

Arenado has reached safely in 18 of the past 20 games. His mom, Millie, was in attendance on Mother’s Day, which made the home run even more enjoyable.

“It’s just great to have moments like that with your family,” St. Louis manager Mike Shildt said. “That’s what life is all about. These are magic moments that people will cherish for a long time.”

Wainwright (2-3) struck out five and walked three over 8⅓ innings, improving to 11-1 against the Rockies. He retired nine batters in a row at one point and eight straight during another stretch.

The 39-year-old right-hander fell two outs short of his 11th career shutout. His last one came in 2016. The veteran simply keeps plugging along.

“I can’t even tell you how much younger I feel than when I was 36, 37. It’s just not even close,” Wainwright said. “I have a great time outperforming expectations.”

Molina and Wainwright have made 279 starts together, which ranks them sixth all-time.

“This guy amazes me every time he takes the mound,” Molina said.

Helsley earned his second major league save and first this season.

Arenado homered leading off the second against German Marquez (1-4), who allowed two runs, one earned, in six innings. Marquez struck out six and walked three.

Molina added a run-scoring double in the fourth.

St. Louis improved to 14-4 since April 23, the best record in the majors during that span.

The Rockies have lost 22 games — 13 by two runs or fewer — and dropped to a major league-worst 2-14 on the road.

“There were a couple situational at-bats where we didn’t get it done early in the game,” Colorado manager Bud Black said. “And then again we didn’t get the big hit there in the ninth. We just couldn’t cash in.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Atlanta Braves add some bullpen depth, bring back veteran Shane Greene on a one-year contract

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ATLANTA — Relief pitcher Shane Greene has signed a one-year contract to rejoin the Atlanta Braves.

Greene, who was optioned to Triple-A Gwinnett, will need some time to get ready before returns to the majors. The right-hander went 1-0 with a 2.60 ERA and 21 strikeouts in 27 2/3 innings last season.

Braves relievers began Sunday with a 4.56 ERA that ranked 22nd in the majors. It’s a considerable slip from last year when the bullpen ranked fourth with a 3.50 ERA.

Greene, who was free agent, was used primarily as a setup man for closer Mark Melancon last season and will eventually fill the same role behind closer Will Smith this year.

“He showed the benefit in the role he assumed in that very strong bullpen last year,” manager Brian Snitker said before the game when the deal was not yet official. “There’s a guy that’s willing and able to do pretty much any role in that bullpen. He came to me last year when we had all the starting woes and guys were down and said, `I’ll start games if you want me to.’ He’s a durable guy. He had a very solid year. If and when we get him back here, I’ll be excited to get him in the mix.”

The Braves are expected to get reliever Chris Martin back on Tuesday. He has missed the last 29 games with right shoulder inflammation.

“These guys have done a great job this last week,” Snitker said of his relievers. “They’ve been very big in that series in Washington and last night what those guys did, they’ve done a really strong job here, handing the ball off to each other and what they’ve done, but if you add guys like that, absolutely, it’s going to help strengthen the bullpen.”

Atlanta originally acquired Greene in a three-player trade with the Detroit Tigers on July 31, 2019, and he has pitched 55 games for the Braves over the last two seasons, going 1-1 with a 3.27 ERA and one save.

Greene allowed seven runs over his first six appearances with Atlanta after being acquired in 2019, but in his last 49 games for the club dating to August 14 of that season he has allowed just 12 runs over 48.0 innings for a 2.25 ERA and 38 strikeouts.

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For Mother’s Day, here are some classic moments between athletes and their mothers

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You gotta give it up for the moms of the world, especially on Mother’s Day. Who else was there for you right at the beginning, right?

For many athletes, showing appreciation to their mothers is as important as anything else in their lives — take Kevin Durant’s “real MVP” speech to his mother, or DeAndre Hopkins giving his blind mother the ball after every touchdown, just as an example.

It’s a relationship that has persisted through years of sacrifice and love, and the end result has been rewarding for all involved. Plenty of athletes gave a shoutout to their mothers on Mother’s Day, and we’ve got some classic mom tributes, as well as tributes to athletes who are themselves mothers.

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After defeating Sloane Stephens at the US Open, Serena Williams happily waves back to her daughter, Olympia, in the stands, who recognizes her mother on the court.

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Kevin Durant comes off a screen to make his first shot back from injury as his mom stands up celebrating courtside.




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