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ATLANTA (AP) — Freddie Freeman stood soaked in champagne with music blaring and his teammates jamming in celebration.This was just how the longtime star first baseman envisioned it when the Atlanta Braves began spring training seven months ago.“You could tell after the first week of workouts that we had the talent to do something special Gregor Blanco Jersey ,” Freeman said. “Obviously we still needed to put it together. But this is what happens. You win the division after three straight 90-loss seasons.”The Braves capped a most surprising season by clinching their first NL East crown since 2013, with Mike Foltynewicz taking a no-hitter into the seventh inning Saturday in a 5-3 win over the Philadelphia Phillies.A year after going 70-92, manager Brian Snitker and his Baby Braves surged back into the playoffs. A loud crowd at SunTrust Park joined the party when rookie Ronald Acuna Jr. caught a flyball for the final out, setting off another round of the Tomahawk Chop and a big celebration on the field.“When we started this series, we knew it was within our grasp,” Snitker said. “We knew we couldn’t lose track of today. I know I’m redundant saying that all the time, but I felt we just needed to stay current and worry about today’s game. These guys have done an unbelievable job of that this year.”The Braves will make their first postseason appearance since 2013 on Oct. 4 in the NL Division Series. It has not yet been determined who or where the youth-filled club will play in the best-of-five round. Atlanta won its 18th division title, tying the New York Yankees for the most in the majors since division play began in 1969.The Braves won their fourth straight game and beat second-place Philadelphia for the third day in a row. The Phillies also startled a lot of fans this year and led the division in early August, but faded while going 6-14 this month.Foltynewicz (12-10) tipped his cap to a standing ovation as he left with runners on first and second in the eighth with a 4-0 lead.Jesse Biddle relieved, walked the first batter he faced and gave up two runs on Cesar Hernandez’s bases-loaded single. Brad Brach allowed Rhys Hoskins‘ RBI single before Jonny Venters escaped the jam on a lineout and a grounder.Kurt Suzuki added an RBI single to make it 5-3 in the eighth off Seranthony Dominguez, the seventh pitcher used by Philadelphia.Arodys Vizcaino, in his first save situation since June 17, closed out the ninth for his 16th save in 18 chances, getting Wilson Ramos to ground out, striking out Roman Quinn and retiring Maikel Franco on a flyball to Acuna in left.Phillies starter Jake Arrieta (10-10) lasted two innings, allowing four runs, four hits and three walks in the shortest outing of his nine-year career.“I didn’t do my job today,” Arrieta said. “You’ve got tip your cap. They won the division. They really did. This wasn’t something that started today, obviously. Individually, the last month I haven’t been very good, and we didn’t take care of business. We just didn’t get the job done. They did.”Atlanta led 2-0 in the first when Arrieta walked three of his first four batters, and Johan Camargo hit a two-run single.Freeman hit a two-run single in the second to make it 4-0. Freeman, one of two current Braves who played on the 2013 division-winning team —along with pitcher Julio Teheran — is hitting .389 over his last 14 games.“When Franco hit that ball, I put my hands up right away,” Freeman said. “It means everything. This is goal No. 1. It’s celebration No. 1. We’ve still got three more we’ve got to do. We’ve got 11 wins to get in October. We’ve still got to take care of business, but, man, is this a great feeling.”Foltynewicz didn’t permit a hit until Odubel Herrera singled to begin the seventh. Franco singled with one out in the eighth.The 26-year-old Foltynewicz has matured in his third full season, earning his first All-Star appearance and posting a 2.88 ERA that’s almost two full runs lower than his career average entering the year.“We knew we had something special since day one,” he said. “We’ve been telling you guys that all year Fernando Rodney Jersey , but to be able to do it and pull it off is pretty special. They got four runs for me today, which was a good confidence builder to go out there and be aggressive.”BIG SURPRISEAtlanta was not projected to contend when the season began. It was coming off three straight 90-loss seasons, had no proven ace and was counting on several young position players to complement Freeman, the lone big bat in the lineup.The team had been embarrassed off the field with former general manager John Coppolella banned from baseball in a signing scandal, but Atlanta moved into first place on May 2 and never trailed in the division race after a 9-1 win over Miami on Aug. 13.Fueled by young budding stars like Acuna, second baseman Ozzie Albies and third baseman Camargo, the Braves won the NL East with an 8½-game lead.New GM Alex Anthopolous watched his team arrive earlier than he expected. When spring training began, he didn’t think the team would be a serious contender until next year.“No, I’d lying through my teeth if I thought that,” Anthopolous said. “I thought we have a really talented team with high draft picks. We have the potential to be really good and have a chance to get better. We certainly exceeded all those things. Snit, the coaches, the players — they’re the ones who deserve all the credit for the year we put together.”BIG FADEPhiladelphia faltered down the stretch under first-year manager Gabe Kapler. After winning on Aug. 5, the Phillies were 1½ games ahead in the division and 15 games over .500. They have since gone 15-28.“I think this is a really important moment to reflect back to the beginning of the season and really the offseason,” Kapler said. “If we said that we were going to be playing a meaningful game on Sept. 22, I think a lot of people would’ve said that’s not a reasonable thought.“On the flip side, this is ultimately a stain. This hurts, but I’m ultimately proud of the guys for putting us in this position and to be fighting in Atlanta kind of the season on the line today.”ROUGH DAYArrieta lasted 2 1/3 innings in a loss for the Chicago Cubs at Pittsburgh in his previous shortest outing Sept. 4, 2017. The Phillies dropped to 14-16 in his starts as Arrieta posted a 6.18 ERA and went 1-4 over his last eight outings.UP NEXTPhillies: RHP Aaron Nola (16-5, 2.44 ERA) has won one of his past four starts with a 5.01 ERA this month. Nola is 6-2 with a 2.24 ERA in 10 career starts against Atlanta.Braves: RHP Anibal Sanchez (6-6, 3.01 ERA) has won one of his past nine starts and has a 3.02 ERA during that span. Sticking with the Cubs, we've got the mother of all "say whaaat?" rumors, and it's centered on superstar third baseman Kris Bryant.According to ESPN.com's Buster Olney, the Cubbies "are willing to discuss trade proposals for almost all of the players on their roster," including Bryant, per sources.Bryant, Olney notes, had shoulder issues and underwent two disabled list stints in 2018. Concurrently, he hit .272 with 13 home runs in 102 games.He's also into his arbitration years, meaning he'll get progressively more expensive before he hits free agency after the 2021 season.All that stipulated, it's difficult Jorge De La Rosa Jersey , if not impossible, to imagine that Chicago would trade the 2016 NL MVP, especially after a down year when his value might be depressed.Executive Theo Epstein didn't slam the door on a Bryant trade, but he came close.At the general managers meetings, Epstein said the Cubs had no "untouchable" players on the roster, per Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune.He later clarified those remarks."I answered a general question about whether we have untouchables," Epstein said, per Sullivan. "Like most every organization, we will listen to anything, but that's just an operating philosophy.We are lucky to have some impact players, and we are looking to add to them, not subtract."The Hamels extension bears that out. This one stinks from a mile away.B.S. Meter: HighRumor: The Yankees Are Seeking Trades for Corey Kluber and Other Top SPs3 of 9Charlie Riedel/Associated PressAccording to Fancred Sports' Jon Heyman, the New York Yankees hope to add two starting pitchers this winter even after they re-upped veteran lefty CC Sabathia.New York, Heyman adds, met with the Cleveland Indians about Carlos Carrasco and Corey Kluber at the GM meetings. According to Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal, they also spoke to Seattle about James Paxton.Any of those arms would be a significant upgrade for the Yankees, whose starting pitchers fizzled in their Division Series loss to the Boston Red Sox. Kluber, in particular, would give them a bona fide ace to pair with the mercurial Luis Severino.Adding a top-level pitcher via trade would cost the Yankees multiple high-end prospects. They could look to free agency instead; Heyman name-dropped left-handers Patrick Corbin and J.A. Happ as possible FA targets.The Yanks have the minor league chips to swing a major trade or two, however, and are active on the wheeling-and-dealing front. This one makes sense.B.S. Meter: LowRumor: The Diamondbacks Might Move Paul Goldschmidt and Zack Greinke4 of 9David Zalubowski/Associated PressThe Arizona Diamondbacks are coming off a disappointing season in which they sank to third place in the National League West and missed the playoffs.They could consider drastic measures, Heyman reports, including trading All-Star first baseman Paul Goldschmidt and ace Zack Greinke.Hang on.The Diamondbacks are one year removed from a postseason appearance. Goldschmidt is the face of the franchise and is signed for an affordable $14.5 million in 2019. Yes, he'd fetch a massive prospect haul in his contract year, but it's nearly impossible to imagine him in another uniform.To move Greinke, an unnamed executive told Heyman, Arizona could have to take on a third of the $105 million he's still owed. Greinke remains a productive pitcher; swallowing that much money just to get rid of him would be a bad look for the Diamondbacks.Anything is possible, but both players will begin the 2019 season in the desert.B.S. Meter: HighRumor: The Mets Could Make a Play for J.T. Realmuto5 of 9Keith Srakocic/Associated PressJ.T. Realmuto is coming off an excellent season with the lowly Miami Marlins and has expressed a desire, through his agent, to be traded.Mike Puma of the New York Post indicated the New York Mets are likely to engage the Marlins about Realmuto.They have a need behind the plate Taijuan Walker Jersey , but they also have a shallow farm system. Puma speculated they could offer a young outfielder such as Brandon Nimmo or Michael Conforto, but that might not be enough.The Mets are coming off a losing season and should be looking toward a rebuild. Realmuto makes far more sense for contenders such as the Houston Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers, to whom he's also been linked, per thePost's JoelSherman.B.S. Meter: HighRumor: The Giants Will Trade Madison Bumgarner6 of 9Ben Margot/Associated PressRumors about the San Francisco Giants' willingness to deal ace Madison Bumgarner have been percolating since last season at the July 31 trade deadline.New president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi did nothing to quash them."Everything has to be on the table," hetold reportersNov. 7, addressing a potential Bumgarner swap.Bay Area fans would surely be heartbroken if their ace and postseason hero rode out of town on his trusty steed. But their contending window appears to be closing鈥攊f it's not already closed鈥攖hey have a weak farm system and Bumgarner is entering his contract year.The 6'4", 242-pound lefty could fetch multiple top prospects from an array of contenders, even coming off an injury-marred season (notably a broken left pinky).There's a decent chance the Giants will keep MadBum at least until the 2019 deadline and try to make noise in the NL West, but his value will be lower as a half-season rental.B.S. Meter: Moderate/LowRumor: Yasiel Puig Could Be on the Trading Block, and the Dodgers Like Harper7 of 9David J. Phillip/Associated PressThis rumor dates back to last season, but it only recently came to light and could have repercussions this winter.The Dodgers, perJorge Castillo of the Los Angeles Times, tried to acquire Bryce Harper from the Washington Nationals prior to 2018's non-waiver trade deadline. Their offer, according to Castillo's sources? Yasiel Puig.The Nats didn't bite. But if the Dodgers were willing to deal Puig last summer, surely they'd listen to offers this offseason.Whether there would be any takers is another matter. Puig brings talent but also a checkered history. The other piece of this rumor, obviously, is that L.A. had and may still have serious interest in Harper.Renting him for a half-season is not the same as handing him the massive contract he'll command this winter. But the marriagemakes sense.B.S. Meter: ModerateThe Red Sox Might Sign a Top Japanese SP8 of 9Hamish Blair/Getty ImagesThe Boston Red Sox's biggest need might be a closer if Craig Kimbrel exits via free agency. But the defending champs could also pursue a top Japanese starting pitcher.Yusei Kikuchi doesn't have nearly as much hype as Shohei Ohtani did last winter, but the 27-year-old owns a 2.81 ERA in eight seasons in Japan and could be a nice addition to the Sox rotation behind ace Chris Sale and left-hander David Price.Boston executive Dave Dombrowski said the Red Sox "have a pulse" for Kikuchi, who's expected to be posted soon, per WEEI.com's Rob Bradford.A source told Bradford the club's interest is "lukewarm," but that could change as the process unfolds.B.S. Meter: Moderate/LowThe White Sox Could Go After Bryce Harper and Manny Machado9 of 9Rob Carr/Getty ImagesHarper and fellow superstar free agent Manny Machado will be linked to every team with two nickels to rub together until they sign somewhere.Here's an interesting possible dark-horse suitor: the Chicago White Sox.As reported by MLB Network's Jon Morosi, Chicago could go after both Harper and Machado. It would be a huge course change for the ChiSox, who have been stockpiling young talent and grinding through a rebuild. But players of Harper and Machado's caliber could make them instantly competitive in the weak American League Central.Plus, as Morosi noted, the White Sox have the second-lowest committed payroll for 2019.It's highly improbable any team will land Harper andMachado. However, unlikely as it sounds at first, it makes some sense that the White Sox would get one or the other.B.S. Meter: ModerateAll stats courtesy of Baseball Reference.

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