ATLANTA -- Freddie Freeman said before the game the slumping Braves needed an immediate turnaround. Ferguson Jenkins Cubs Jersey . The power-hitting first baseman then backed up his challenge at the plate. Freeman hit a three-run homer, one of four by Atlanta, and the Braves beat the Oakland Athletics 7-2 on Friday night in the opening game of the interleague series. Justin Upton and Evan Gattis hit homers off Jason Hammel (1-5) in the second inning. Rookie Phil Gosselin hit a two-run homer, the first of his career, off Jesse Chavez in the sixth. The Braves had not scored more than four runs in any of their past six games. They entered the game having lost 12 of 15. Atlanta is six games behind first-place Washington in the NL East. "Everyone wants to say we cant panic, but weve got to go," Freeman said before the game. "... The time is now." After the game, Freeman applauded Atlantas power surge. "That was a good night," Freeman said, noting Oakland brought the majors best record to Atlanta. "We always play those teams the hardest, and it was no different tonight," Freeman said. Alex Wood (9-9) allowed two runs in six innings -- a two-run homer by Nate Freiman in the fourth. The As have lost three straight and five of six. "Were just going through a tough time right now," Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. "You start to press a little bit offensively and it can be contagious as a group. You start swinging at some pitches out of the zone. Were pretty good about looking for our pitch and waiting for it. We havent been as good here recently." Wood allowed four hits in six innings. Relievers David Carpenter, Jordan Walden and James Russell combined for three perfect innings. Hammel allowed five runs and six hits, including three homers, in three innings. He was pulled after walking B.J. Upton to open the fourth. "Three-run homers do some damage," Hammel said. "Solo ones you can deal with, but that third one obviously was a big one. "Otherwise I felt great. My body hasnt felt that good in a while." The Braves had their second four-homer game of the homestand and only their fourth game with four or more homers this season. They also hit four homers in a 7-6 win over Washington on Aug. 8. Before that, the Braves hadnt hit four homers in a game since May 25 against Colorado. Their high mark was five homers at Philadelphia on April 14. Freemans homer, his 17th, drove in Jason Heyward and Gosselin, who reached on singles. Justin Upton leads Atlanta with 22 homers. Chris Johnson was credited with a ground-rule double when As centerfielder Coco Crisp lost his deep fly ball in the lights in the third. The ball landed well behind Crisp and bounced over the wall. Hammel hit Gattis with a pitch and then escaped the jam. A NIGHT OF FIRSTS Gosselins first homer came in his first start at shortstop. He previously started two games at second base and one at third. His homer followed a two-out fielding error by Freiman, the first baseman, on Heywards grounder. "It was awesome just to contribute to a win tonight and get the series off on the right foot," Gosselin said. OVERTURNED After Wood issued one-out walks to Jonny Gomes and Josh Donaldson in the first, the left-hander made a pickoff throw to second base. Umpire Ted Barrett called Gomes safe. Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez challenged the ruling and the call was overturned following a review of 1 minute, 50 seconds. The ruling proved important when Derek Norris followed with a single to left field that likely would have driven in Gomes from second. TRAINERS ROOM Athletics: CF Craig Gentry, on the 15-day disabled list with a broken right hand, will take batting practice with Triple-A Sacramento on Saturday. Braves: LF Justin Upton started after leaving Thursday nights game with a mild left hamstring strain. ... SS Andrelton Simmons was held out after having two teeth extracted. UP NEXT Athletics: RHP Sonny Gray will try to snap a streak of losses in three straight starts in Saturday nights game. The three-game skid is the longest of his career. Braves: RHP Julio Teheran will try to improve his 2-3 career interleague record in his first appearance against Oakland. He is 1-2 with a 2.41 ERA in two starts against AL teams this season. Nicholas Castellanos Cubs Jersey . A night later, he was back to help lead a rout of the Detroit Pistons. John Wall had 20 points and 11 assists, and Beal scored 10 of his 15 points during the second quarter as Washington pulled away for a 106-82 victory on Saturday. Bill Madlock Cubs Jersey . The actual winners on transfer deadline day are those clubs such as Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City who were well prepared and managed to get their main incoming business done well ahead of the transfer window closing. Tottenham were able to add seven players by spending over 100 million pounds and also ensured maximum return for the Gareth Bale transfer to Real Madrid by managing the move superbly.Today is Bell Lets Talk Day when the issue of mental health will be openly discussed across all platforms on TSN and CTV. During the morning loop on TSN, SportsCentre presents Purple Hearts, a TSN Original feature on Daron Richardson, daughter of former NHL defenceman Luke Richardson, who took her own life at the age of 14. The tragedy shocked the entire city of Ottawa, including Darons hockey teammates; her best and closest friends. Since Darons suicide, this remarkable group of young girls has set out on a quest to honour her memory, both with their play on the ice and their activism in the community. Their goal is simply, Do It For Daron – an initiative that raises awareness of youth mental health. On Off The Record at 5pm et/2pm pt, long-time mental health advocate Michael Landsberg hosts a special edition of his popular talk show. The program will include a tribute to canoeist and three-time Olympian John Wood, who took his own life in January 2013 after a battle with depression. Landsberg will be joined by two of Woods children, Alan and Jennifer, who will speak publicly for the first time since Wood died. Off The Record also features PGA Canada professional golfer Andrew Jensen, who has survived multiple suicide attempts and will speak candidly about what drove him to the point of suicide. During the first intermission of the game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Toronto Maple Leafs, NHL on TSN host James Duthie chats with Clara Hugghes about mental health and Claras Big Ride, now in its fourth year. Ben Zobrist Cubs Jersey. The game gets under way at 7pm et/4pm pt. On TSN2, watch an encore presentation of Darkness And Hope: Depression, Sports And Me, Michael Landsbergs Canadian Screen Award-nominated documentary about sports and depression at 10:30pm et/7:30pm pt. Then at 11:30pm et/8:30pm pt on TSN2, watch an encore presentation of Talk To Me: The Story Of James Patrick Peek, the emotional documentary produced in support of last years Bell Lets Talk Day. Gemini Award-winning TSN field producer Mike Farrell sits down with his best friends family to talk about the loss of their son and brother to suicide, and how sport helped them cope and inspire change in their community. At 7pm et/4pm pt on CTV and CTV Two, watch an hour-long special presentation profiling celebrities and others who have struggled with mental illness. Hosted by Ben Mulroney and Tanya Kim, the program features interviews with musician Serena Ryder about her battle with depression, singer-songwriter Amy Sky on her struggle with post-partum depression, and retired Canadian heavyweight boxer George Chuvalo, who lost a son and wife to suicide. Also, Canadian champion rower Silken Laumann, TSNs Michael Landsberg, and Glass Tigers Sam Reid will offer their thoughts. The program will also profile the mental health struggles faced by actresses Mariel Hemingway, Margaret Trudeau, Catherine Zeta Jones, and Demi Lovato. ' ' '
CHARLOTTE, N. Miami Marlins Gear .C. -- Carl Edwards said NASCAR is taking the wrong approach in its effort to draw more fans to the race track. If NASCAR really wants to create better competition and higher interest in the sport, Edwards said it needs to focus on changing the setup of the cars and not the championship format. NASCAR will announce its Chase for the Sprint Cup championship format on Thursday. It is expected to be to a 16-driver field whittled down through eliminations to four drivers and a winner-take-all season finale; it would be the fourth significant change to either the points or championship format since the Chase debuted in 2004. Edwards said drivers are already doing everything they can to win and the proposed changes that NASCAR chairman Brian France laid out two weeks ago wont change that. "I dont think you can take the top 15 guys in this sport and make them race any harder for wins. I dont think you can," Edwards said Tuesday. Its a sentiment shared by 2012 champion Brad Keselowski, who initially showed public support of the new format but is now reserving judgment until he sees exactly what NASCAR wants to do. France has been adamant he wants drivers to race at 100 per cent at all times and to value winning, and he preached most of last season that the frantic, door-banging battle to the checkered flag at California between Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano is the kind of racing he wants to see. "From a drivers perspective, theres nothing left," Keselowski said Wednesday. "Theres no set of rules to make me race harder than I do." Keselowski passed on a chance to move Kyle Busch out of the lead at Watkins Glen last August in what could have been a last-ditch effort to win the race. That victory would have likely ensured Keselowski a spot in the Chase; instead, he failed to qualify and was unable to defend his championship. Keselowski also doesnt think any changes will hurt six-time champion Jimmie Johnson. "No matter what format you put out there, hes the favourite," Keselowski said. "Until thats not the case, I dont see how theres any format that could be wrote, unless its the slowest guy wins, and I dont think theyre going to do that." Edwards said taking away the downforce on cars and making the tires softer is a good place to start. He said it would go a long way toward increasing competitive racing at the front of the pack. "No matter what format we race under I cant just try harder and go up and race with the guy or pass him," Edwards said. "I think the thing we have to focus on as a sport is making sure the cars can race one another. ... Right now, if Im staring at the guy in the front window it doesnt matter if (Im racing) for a billion dollars and 10 championships -- if I cant catch him, I cant catch him." Its not necessarily that Edwards is against the format. But he said if Frances proposals -- with the emphasis on winning races to get into the Chase for the Championship -- come to fruition, it will change the way drivers approach the season. "Things will get really, really interesting around Richmond. That will be insane," Edwards said. Dale Earnhardt Jr. said he wasnt excited about the proposed changes at first, but has begun to warm to the idea. "Lets change it all. Im all for it," Earnhardt said. "A lot of times we change things for the fans, and I think the drivers are going to enjoy some of this stuff as much as the fans are." Team owner Richard Petty said proposed changes are a "PR deal" by NASCAR designed to drum up more interest in the sport. He still thinks the best drivers will come out on top regardless of the format. "They just want to shake things up," Petty said. NASCAR is essentially borrowing a page from other major sports such as the NFL, NBA and Major League Baseball where teams -- or in this case, drivers -- are eliminated from playoff contention while the season climaxes with one championship event at the end of the year. Earnhardt Jr. called it a "bold, aggressive" move by NASCAR. "When you look at other forms of sport, theres an elimination factor in the playoffs that we dont have," Earnhardt said. "We, as drivers, dont feel the intensity of an elimination factor being over our shoulders every race. I feel like weve had it easy in that regard where we just tally up points. Coming down to Homestead with four guys (racing for the championship), thats crazy -- but its exciting." However, driver Ryan Newman doesnt necessarily agree with the elimination-style system. "I dont think we can take everything the NFL or NBA is doing and say, We need to do it like this because theyre doing it like that and its working," Newman said. "This is still stock car racing. This is NASCAR. A certain per cent of change is good, but we do not need to copy the playoff system." Adam Conley Jersey . -- Michael Bennett gambled last off-season that playing on a one-year deal in Seattle would pay off in the future with the long-term contract he always wanted. Brian Anderson Jersey . 1-9 on TSN. With more than 65 hours of exclusive live coverage, TSN delivers all the action beginning with Draw 1 on Saturday, Feb. 1 at 2 p.EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Top choice Odell Beckham Jr., and three other draft picks have signed with the New York Giants on Monday. That leaves only one unsigned player for the Giants from this months selections, defensive tackle Jay Bromley, taken in the third round. In addition to Beckham, a wide receiver drafted 12th overall, centre Weston Richburg (second round), linebacker Devon Kennard (fifth round) and cornerback Bennett Jackson (sixth round) signed with the team Monday. Beckham joins another LSU receiver, Rueben Randle, in New Yorks passing attack, which lost veteran Hakeem Nicks in free agency. Beckham set an LSU record with 2,315 all-purpose yards in 22013, completing his career with 15 touchdowns and 4,118 all-purpose yards, which ranks No. Jordan Holloway Jersey . 5 in school history. "He has great speed. Hes polished. He has great hands and played at the top level." Giants coach Tom Coughlin said when the team drafted Beckham. "Hes someone we could count on putting the ball in the end zone and we can also feature him in the kicking game as well." Richburg was a four-year starter at Colorado State who made 50 consecutive starts, a school record. He was first-team All-Mountain West in 2013. On Friday, the Giants signed fourth-round running back Andre Williams and fifth-round safety Nat Berhe. ' ' '