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Atlanta Braves news and links: Veterans showing leadership all around

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Braves News:

Braves offense falters in 2-0 loss

Facing Erasmo Ramirez and the Tampa Bay Rays, the Braves' bats chose to take a night off: six hits on the night, 0-for-2 with runners in scoring position, and no walks. Adonis Garcia and Nick Markakis combined for four of he team's six hits (two hits each). Ramirez pitched seven innings of shutout baseball, with just five hits and four strikeouts. Williams Perez went eight innings, allowing just four hits and two earned runs. Despite his solid outing, a dormant offense landed Perez his third loss of the year.

Markakis, Pierzynski stepping up as leaders

When a team is scuffling through the heat of the summer, it takes a little extra motivation to stay focused, and to go out there and win some games. For the Braves, Nick Markakis and A.J Pierzynski have started to step up as the example-setters for the younger members of the team. Their play on (Markakis and Pierzynski have proved to be two of the Braves' best hitters) and off the field:

"It’s huge," Braves hitting coach Kevin Seitzer said. "Absolutely huge. That’s been the biggest reason for the success we’ve had, is just the way guys grind at-bats and keep bringing it for 27 outs, as hard as they can go. And when you’ve got two veteran guys like that who are the role models leading the way, it’s a real good example for the younger guys."

Can a Maybin-Bourn outfield coexist?

In swapping Chris Johnson for Michael Bourn and Nick Swisher, the Braves acquired, essentially, a second starting center fielder of sorts in Bourn. While he certainly won't be taking Cameron Maybin's job away, it will be interesting to see where Bourn fits in the lineup and on the field heading forward.

MLB News:

Blue Jays soar for ninth straight win

There's not a single team in baseball right now hotter than the Toronto Blue Jays. The Jays made it clear at the trade deadline that they weren't messing around when they acquired Troy Tulowitzki and David Price. Since the deadline, the team has gone 10-1, with their lone loss coming to the AL Central leading Kansas City Royals. Watch out, Yankees, Canada is right on your heels in he AL East.

Trayce Thompson smashes first career home run

In the White Sox' 3-0 win over the Los Angeles Angels, rookie Trayce Thompson hit his first career home run. This is a big deal because a) he's one of Chicago's top prospects and b) he's the brother of NBA superstar and three-point specialist Klay Thompson of the Golden State Warriors. One is swishing threes and the other is hitting home runs, what have you and your brother done lately?

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