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Updated: September 22, 2013
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Copyright © 1997-2013
Grand Slam/Marco Stoovelaar
Compiled and Copyright © 1997-2013 by Marco Stoovelaar

Andrelton Simmons captures NL-East title with Braves

...Andrelton Simmons during the WBC...
(© Photo: Henk Seppen)
CHICAGO, Illinois (USA) - For the third time in four days, a player of the Dutch National Baseball Team is a part of a team that captures a division-title in Major League Baseball. On Thursday, pitcher Kenley Jansen won the title in the West Division of the National League with the Los Angeles Dodgers, then on Friday, third baseman Xander Bogaerts was on the championship-team of the Boston Red Sox that won the title in the East Division of the American League. Today, on Sunday-afternoon, short stop Andrelton Simmons became the third player, as the Atlanta Braves won the championship in the National League East Division.

The Braves today faced the Chicago Cubs and won 5-2 in Wrigley Field. But the Braves officially became the NL East champion in the sixth inning when the Washington Nationals ended their game against the Miami Marlins and lost 4-2. With that, Washington, the last contender for the title, was eliminated and earned Atlanta the title, its first division-championship since 2005. The Braves were the division-leader since April 5, a total of 175 days in first place. Washington remains in the race for the Wild Card. Because of Miami's win, the St. Louis Cardinals also secured a spot in the Play-Offs. St. Louis is currently leading the NL Central Division.

Today, the Curaçao-born Simmons played his 150th game of the season for the Braves and he contributed to the victory by hitting two homeruns. Including today, Simmons has hit 143 basehits, including 17 homeruns. He scored 73 runs and batted in 57. Of his 581 at bats, Simmons struckout only 51 times.

Atlanta took a 2-0 lead in the first inning when Jayson Heyward led off with a single and scored when Freddie Freeman homered with one out. In the home of the first inning, starting pitcher Julio Teheran gave up a run. But the Braves got it back in the fourth inning when Simmons homered with two outs.

In the top of the eighth inning, with one out, Brian McCann singled for Atlanta. Reliever Brooks Raley, who had come in the previous at bat, then struckout next hitter Jordan Schafer. Hereafter, Simmons drilled Raley's fourth delivery over the centerfield-wall for his second homerun in the game to raise the lead to 5-1. He almost hit three homeruns today, but the ball he hit in the second inning was caught in centerfield just before the wall.

The Cubs added only one more run in its eighth at bat, resulting in a 5-2 final score.

Andrelton Simmons was added to the big league-roster of the Atlanta Braves last year, then made his debut on June 2, 2012 against Washington, hitting 0-for-3. He then played in 49 games in the remainder of the season and batted .289 (48-for-166) with three homeruns. Simmons scored 17 runs and was credited with 19 runs batted in.

This season, Simmons became the regular short stop of the Braves in a career that went upwards very quickly. Simmons was drafted in 2010 in the June Amateur Draft by the Braves and signed a contract. The short stop, who turned 24 on September 4, made his professional debut later in 2010, playing in 62 games at the Rookie League-level. In 2011, he promoted to Single-A Advanced, then played for the Mississippi Braves in Double-A in 2012, the season in which he also made his Major League-debut. This season, Simmons has been on the big league-roster the entire year.

In March of this year, Simmons was one of the active professional players who played for the Netherlands Baseball Team during the World Baseball Classic, where it reached the semi-final.

(September 22)

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