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Chicago Cubs lose another vital game to the comeback Atlanta Braves

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Chicago Cubs lose another vital game to the comeback Atlanta Braves


ATLANTA — The Chicago Cubs again found themselves holding a lead late against the Atlanta Braves.

And again they were on the wrong end of a vital game Wednesday at Truist Park, losing 6-5 in 10 innings after twice failing to maintain a one-run lead in the ninth and 10th innings.

Marcell Ozuna slugged the tying solo home run off right-hander Mark Leiter Jr. with one out in the ninth in the right-handed reliever’s first appearance in a week. José Cuas cleaned up the traffic in relief of Leiter, retiring both Braves batters to strand the winning run in scoring position.

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The Cubs reclaimed the lead in the 10th on Ian Happ’s sacrifice fly, but their one-run lead didn’t hold. Ronald Acuña Jr. tied it with an RBI single, swiped second base for his 70th stolen base of the year, and scored on Ozzie Albies’ single off Daniel Palencia to end it.

“We’ve got to do some little things a little bit better,” manager David Ross said. “Try to get runners in from third less than two outs hasn’t been our strength this month. Guys are laying it all out there. Just a really good team. We’ve got to figure out a way to win a baseball game.”

The Cubs (82-76) are tied with the Miami Marlins for the third and final National League wild-card spot entering Thursday, however, Miami owns the tiebreaker. The Cubs turn to Marcus Stroman in Thursday’s series final to prevent a sweep in Atlanta.

“We believe in the group, and we’ve got four games left to get this thing done,” Happ said. “We’re still tied for the last spot, we’re still in it. Everybody in this clubhouse believes in that.

“We were 10 games under and really far out of it at one point so to be in this spot isn’t too bad.”

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Wednesday’s painful ending marked the Cubs’ fifth loss after leading in the eighth inning or later during September, tying for their most such losses in a month over the franchise’s last 50 seasons (June 1991 and September 1992), according to ESPN Stats & Info.

Since his move to the bullpen in mid-August, Drew Smyly steadily earned manager David Ross’ trust in high-leverage spots. Ross went to Smyly with two runners on and nobody out in the seventh following Nico Hoerner’s throwing error. Hoerner tried to make a backhanded toss to Dansby Swanson at second base, but the high throw allowed a run to score and runners at first and second base to reach safely to trim the Cubs’ lead to 3-2.

“The outs that we left on the field, both tonight and yesterday defensively, obviously those sting,” Hoerner said. “But as an offense even though we did score some runs tonight those middle innings we felt like as a group we could have put some more up there. But obviously those are both games that can go either way.”

The error sequence ended Jameson Taillon’s final regular-season start, but Smyly ensured the game did not get away from the Cubs in that situation. Smyly retired the next three Atlanta hitters — Michael Harris II (ground out), Sean Murphy (strikeout) and Kevin Pillar (pop out) — to escape with the Cubs’ one-run lead intact.

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Taillon had been on cruise control most of the night. He held the explosive Braves offense to two runs on three hits, including a home run by Albies that gave Atlanta a first-inning lead. After a dreadful first three months to his Cubs career, Taillon posted a 3.53 ERA over his final 15 starts (86 2/3 innings).

The Cubs caught a break to tie the game in the second. A ball was clearly fouled off Jeimer Candelario’s bat, but home plate umpire Shane Livensparger missed it and while play was live Cody Bellinger scored from third. The umpires met to discuss it, but the call stood as a passed ball and the run scored. The play could not be reviewed. Braves manager Brian Snitker was ejected for arguing the call.

Home runs by Mike Tauchman, his first since Aug. 8, and Happ in the third off Braves starter Darius Vines had originally put the Cubs ahead 3-1.





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Atlanta, GA

2025 NBA Mock Draft: Atlanta Lands Two Five-Star Prospects In Loaded Draft Class

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2025 NBA Mock Draft: Atlanta Lands Two Five-Star Prospects In Loaded Draft Class


The Atlanta Hawks got super lucky in the draft this past season. They entered the draft lottery with only a 3% chance to get the No. 1 pick, but ended jumping up from 10th to 1st. The might need similar luck if they want to land a top pick next year.

Next year’s draft is going to be interesting for the Hawks in a number of ways. First, they don’t have control of their own pick. They owe the pick to San Antonio as part of the Dejounte Murray trade with San Antonio. Atlanta is in kind of a weird spot in the Eastern Conference as well. They are not as good as some of the top teams in the East, but they are much better than the teams at the bottom (Washington, Detroit, Brooklyn, Charlotte, and Chicago). That leaves them in play-in tournament territory, where they have been in recent seasons except last year.

The Hawks could have as many as two picks in what is supposed to be a loaded draft class. Atlanta got back an unprotected Lakers 2025 pick in the Dejounte Murray trade with New Orleans and they could have the Kings first-round pick if it is not 1-12. While I don’t think the Lakers pick will be in the top five, if Atlanta could get luck and have them miss the playoffs (not impossible in the West), they could hope for more lottery luck.

There have not been many 2025 Mock Drafts (it is still very early), but one that was released today from Bleacher Report’s Jonathan Wasserman has the Hawks with the 13th (Lakers) and 15th (Kings) picks in this draft. Wasserman has the Hawks selecting UConn five-star freshman Liam McNeeley at 13 and Syracuse five-star freshman Donovan Freeman with the 15th pick.

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“The Atlanta Hawks got a 2025 first-round pick by sending Dejounte Murray to the New Orleans Pelicans. After winning the 2024 lottery, the Hawks will be rooting for a down year for the Los Angeles Lakers, whose selection now goes to Atlanta.

Liam McNeeley comes to Connecticut with an attractive game to NBA teams. UConn figures to optimize his shooting, spot-up scoring and IQ.

A strong supporting cast should help McNeeley put together an efficient season with an easy-fit, complementary skill set. He’s seemingly a lock to finish with a strong three-point percentage, low turnover rate and a persuasive highlight reel of smart drives and passes.

Just being a part of the Bahamas national team for the Olympic qualifiers should have served as valuable experience for Donnie Freeman.

He’s still on the raw side, but the 18-year-old has an appealing skill set for a power forward prospect. He’s developed into a versatile scorer who’s capable of getting baskets in different ways—hitting threes and pull-ups, attacking closeouts and using touch around the post.

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More progress with his shooting next season should lead to surefire NBA interest at Syracuse. The idea alone of a 6’9″ face-up weapon should keep scouts patient through any inconsistency.”

Here are scouting reports on both McNeeley and Freeman from 247Sports director of scouting Adam Finklestein:

“Liam McNeeley has one of the best combinations of skill and basketball acumen in the national class. He came up the ranks known as a shooter – and for good reason as he has clean mechanics, a compact release, and shot over 40% from behind the three-point line in both the NIBC and EYBL seasons – but he’s far more versatile than just a specialist. He’s particularly adept at coming off screens, making instinctual reads, and then attacking defenders while they are on the move. That can mean movement threes, but it can also mean curls, dribble penetration, and an ability to get downhill at times. McNeeley has a high natural feel for the game and is a good passer who can also facilitate for others around him. In fact, Montverde frequently made him the featured player of their half-court offense during his junior season and relied on his ability to make decisions with the ball in his hands, not necessarily as a primary ball-handler, but as the first domino in many of their actions. Physically, he’s not especially long or athletic, but he has legit size at over 6-foot-7 with his shoes on, a sturdy base, and increasingly strong and cut upper body. He’s made strides being able to stay in front of more athletic wings on the defensive end, in large part because he’s aware enough to be in the right spots and take the right angles. Overall, McNeeley may not have the ideal physical measurables of a prototypical five-star prospect, but he is one of the most consistently productive and reliable basketball players in the class.

There aren’t many more naturally talented four-men in the national class of 2024 than Freeman. He has a wealth of tools with good size, soft hands, touch, mobility, and athleticism, that give him the potential to be a versatile two-way player. Those gifts made him a high-profile prospect early on in his high school years, but he’s just now beginning to turn potential into production on a more consistent basis. He’s still fairly undeveloped physically with a leaner base in his lower body and an upper body that hasn’t filled out yet. He’ll need to add a significant amount of muscle mass in the coming years, but if he can do that while still maintaining his ability to run and jump with the same fluidity and agility, there is obvious physical upside. Offensively, he shows flashes of being a true three-range weapon. He’s already a bouncy finisher at the rim who is a shooting threat out to the arc, and likes to rise over contesting defenders from both the mid-post and mid-range areas. He’s not yet much of a creator off the bounce, can get knocked off his spots, and be occasionally turnover prone in the process. Defensively, he can both move laterally and get off his feet to block shots and that versatility should only continue to develop as he adds strength. He’s a solid rebounder, but could be more assertive in that area. Overall, Freeman has all the tools a developing four-man could want, it’s just a matter of him getting physically stronger, making sure the motor is always running at full throttle, and continuing to increase the total impact he makes on both ends of the floor.”

A lot of the focus is going to be on the fact that Atlanta does not have their own pick, but they could still have valuable picks depending on how the Kings and Lakers seasons go.

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Atlanta, GA

New federal funds going to metro Atlanta fire safety upgrades

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New federal funds going to metro Atlanta fire safety upgrades


Federal funds are on the way to Georgia so that local fire departments can make some much-needed upgrades.

U.S. Sens. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff announced the awards through FEMA’s Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG) Program.

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The money is going to Atlanta and Woodstock as well as DeKalb and Butts counties.

Atlanta will receive the most federal funding, with more than $270,000 going to safety upgrades.

“Firefighters across Georgia put their lives on the line to keep families safe,” Ossoff said in a statement. “Senator Warnock and I will never stop championing Georgia’s heroic fire departments, and these resources will help them respond to emergencies that threaten lives and property.”

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The funds can be used for things like professional training, wellness and fitness programs, equipment, and facility modifications.



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Atlanta United earns point at home after 2-2 draw against New York City FC | Atlanta United FC

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Atlanta United earns point at home after 2-2 draw against New York City FC | Atlanta United FC


After a couple of weeks on the road, Atlanta United were back at Mercedes-Benz Stadium to matchup against New York City FC. Seven of the 16 matches these two clubs have played against each other have ended in a draw, and this one followed suit in the pattern. In April, the 5-Stripes went up to Citi Field and pulled out a 1-1 draw. This time it was NYCFC that came from behind for the 2-2 draw.

Atlanta United got off to a great start thanks to Daniel Ríos, who has been on a hot scoring streak as of late. Tristan Muyumba got the ball down the field to Saba Lobjanidze who made a quick play to Ríos in the penalty spot. The goal was only 21 seconds in, the fastest goal scored in club history. Lobjanidze gets the assists on the goal.

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Ríos now has six goals on the season after being tied with Saba Lobjanidze and Jamal Thiaré with five.

New York City FC spent the next couple of minutes trying to settle as the early goal got them out of sync. But in the 12th minute, the early excitement only continued. Keaton Parks, the captain for NYCFC, tripped Derrick Williams in the penalty area and it was awarded a penalty kick on the pitch. After some deliberation by VAR, it was concluded that it would not be a penalty kick due to an offside position.

The next promising scoring opportunity for the 5-Stripes came in the 18th minute by Xande Silva. Atlanta continued to exploit the right side as NYCFC’s Christian McFarlane had little answer for it.

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Atlanta had to weather a bit of a storm as New York did not let them get back into the attacking half. Brad Guzan made a diving save in the 27th minute on Agustín Ojeda to keep the 5-Stripes up by one. Ronald Hernández, who has been strong on the left side as of late, made a block on the rebound from Ojeda.

With Noah Cobb away on international duty, the formation for Atlanta, especially in the back, looked a bit different.

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