MLB scores, schedule: Diamondbacks finish off surprising sweep of Braves in Atlanta

Thursday featured just 10 ballgames, but there were plenty of highlights. The Orioles beat the Rays -- itself a notable accomplishment these days -- while the Diamondbacks swept the Braves. The Dodgers, meanwhile, struck first in an NLCS rematch against the Brewers, thanks in part to the new and improved Cody Bellinger. Elsewhere, the Mariners scored a lot of runs; Patrick Corbin did his best to keep the Giants off the board; and Nolan Arenado made a dazzling play.

In other words, it was a fun day of baseball -- even if it didn't feature a 15-game slate. Check out our full recap of the day that was below.

Baseball schedule/scores for Thursday, April 18

D-Backs sweep Braves in Atlanta

"Upset" is a word we don't use much in baseball and that's because of the nature of the sport. It's much more common in any given game for a lesser team to win than in other sports. We can still apply the term in special cases, though, and we saw an upset in Atlanta this week. 

Heading into Tuesday: 

  • The Braves were 7-3 at home. 
  • The Braves had won nine of their previous 12 games. 
  • The Diamondbacks were 7-9. 
  • The D-Backs had lost four of five and were 3-4 on the road. 
  • Even if you wanted to say that's all small samples, the Braves are expecting to contend this season after winning the NL East last year, while the Diamondbacks had lost A.J. Pollock to free agency and traded Paul Goldschmidt from a non-playoff team. 

The Diamondbacks are now headed to the airport on getaway day with a bunch of brooms after a sweep in Atlanta.

On Thursday, D-Backs starter Luke Weaver -- who came over from the Cardinals in the Goldschmidt trade -- was brilliant albeit inefficient. He allowed just four hits and a walk in five scoreless while striking out nine. He didn't go longer due to throwing 93 pitches in those five innings, but that's a nitpick. Great outing. 

Offensively, the early-season breakout of Diamondbacks first baseman Christian Walker continued with this shot: 

After spending several years in the Orioles' system, Walker bounced to three different teams via waivers in the 2017 offseason before landing where he was blocked by a perennial MVP candidate in Goldschmidt. The new Arizona first baseman is hitting .300/.373/.683 with six homers and 11 RBI this year. Keep an eye open here for a possible feel-good story in 2019. 

Bellinger hits 10th homer in Dodgers win

The Dodgers and Brewers played the first of a four-game set that serves as a rematch of last October's NL Championship Series on Thursday. The Dodgers won by a 3-1 final, thanks in large part to Cody Bellinger's 10th home run of the season.

Bellinger went 2 for 4 with a strikeout on the night, pulling him even with Khris Davis and Christian Yelich -- who also went deep in this game -- for the big-league lead in home runs. He's now hitting .432/.512/.919 (not a typo) with 11 walks and 10 strikeouts in his first 86 trips to the plate. Pretty good, folks.

That Bellinger has produced so much power gets the headlines, but he deserves credit for trimming his strikeout rate and improving upon his swing-and-miss tendencies. Entering Thursday, he had whiffed on just 16 percent of his swings -- almost half his career rate, of 30 percent. According to Statcast, he's swinging and missing less on every pitch type, suggesting this isn't an isolated instance.

If these contact gains are legitimate -- and given that the season is almost a month old and these kinds of things tend to stabilize quickly -- then Bellinger could be in for a MVP-caliber season. 

Corbin throws another gem

Patrick Corbin made his fourth start as a member of the Nationals on Thursday and, well, he tossed his fourth quality start. Corbin mowed down the Giants across 7 2/3 innings, holding them to one earned run and striking out nine batters. We wrote more about his start here, detailing how effective his slider has been and noting that the Nationals lead the NL in an important category -- one that Corbin contributed to Thursday.

Highlight of the night: Arenado's defensive gem

Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado is a six-time Gold Glove winner for a reason. He's unreasonably skilled at making difficult plays look simple. He proved that once more Thursday by robbing Rhys Hoskins of a knock. Take a look:

For those unwilling to click, you missed Arenado striding toward foul territory to backhand a ball before taking a few additional steps as he prepared himself for the throw. By the time he released the ball, he was about even with the third-base coach's box. Didn't matter. He got his man.

Don't be surprised if or when Arenado wins a seventh Gold Glove this fall -- it'll be because of plays like this one.

Stat of the day: Mariners break double digits to end slump

The Mariners entered Thursday with the best offense in baseball, per adjusted weighted runs created. They proved it against the Angels, plating 11 runs on 13 hits -- including two Ryon Healy home runs. It marked the fifth time already the Mariners have scored double digits in a game; they had just eight such performances all of last season.

The Mariners needed every bit of that offense to win the game, by the way. Despite a solid start by Felix Hernandez, Seattle's bullpen allowed six runs in three innings, thereby turning a boat race into a nail-biter. All's well that ends well, however, and the Mariners' victory snapped a six-game losing streak. 

Quick hits

CBS Sports Writer

Matt Snyder has been a baseball writer with CBS Sports since 2011. A member of the BBWAA, he's now covered every World Series since 2010. The former Indiana University baseball player now lives on the... Full Bio

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