The Cardinals roared back with five runs in the bottom of the seventh, but Dan Winkler and A.J. Minter retired the final six batters to close out the 6-5 Braves win.

The Phillies took 3 of 4 from the Nationals, losing 17-7 on Friday but winning the other three games by one run. The Braves completed an impressive, three-game sweep on the road. Good job to those two clubs on their big weekend. Bad job to the Nationals and Cardinals, who both sit 42-40 and would be hitting the links if the playoffs started on Monday. The Nationals and Cardinals not only trail the Cubs and Phillies in the wild-card race, they now sit behind the Dodgers and Giants.

This is maybe the most disappointing aspect of both teams. NL teams are averaging 4.38 runs per game. The Cardinals are 10th at 4.27 runs per game, and the Nationals are at 4.24. They’re also trending in the wrong direction. While scoring across the NL was up in June at 4.52 runs per game, the Cards and Nats both averaged an even 4.0 per game.

What happens moving forward? FanGraphs projects the Nationals at 4.63 runs per game the rest of the season and the Cardinals at 4.35. That makes sense, as you would expect increased production from Harper and Daniel Murphy, while being less certain about guys such as Pham or Ozuna. The answer for the Cardinals, of course, could be a trade for Manny Machado.

The most successful Cleveland lineups in recent years featured multiple shooters around LeBron. Check out how the Cavaliers performed during the 2017-18 regular season based on the number of other players on the court with James who averaged at least one 3-pointer per 36 minutes.

When all four other Cleveland players averaged at least one 3-pointer per 36 minutes — in lineups with either Kevin Love or Channing Frye at center — the Cavaliers’ 115.2 offensive rating was a full three points per 100 possessions better than the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets managed last season (112.2).

Philadelphia found ways to overcome spacing challenges a year ago. According to Second Spectrum tracking, Embiid averaged more points per chance (1.10) on post-ups when playing with Simmons last season than with Simmons on the bench (0.88). And that increased to 1.15 points per chance when opponents double-teamed with Simmons on the floor, so they weren’t able to take advantage of his non-shooting by bringing extra help.

Jones isn’t at Falcons’ minicamp over a contract dispute.

Julio Jones’ isn’t showing up for the Falcons’ mandatory minicamp from Tuesday through Thursday, which has sent the entire planet into a frenzy.

Jones and the Falcons will be fine, of course. General manager Thomas Dimitroff released a statement on Monday, and even said the conversations between Jones and the team had been productive and constructive. Everything’s cool.

This rule begins on the first day of the new League Year (the first day of free agency) and ends just before the first NFL regular-season game is played, which this year is midnight, Sept. 6.

As the 90-men rosters are trimmed to 53, players whose cap figures weren’t initially part of the Top 51 now count toward the total cap allocation for contracts.

As part of the accounting process, any signing or workout bonuses already paid out to players who originally weren’t part of the Top 51 list will count as dead money against the team’s cap if that player doesn’t make the roster.

That play never should have happened, and time and again, the Lions found ways to break him.

It’s not that Johnson didn’t have a good quarterback in Detroit (Matthew Stafford came along in his third season). And it’s not like Johnson needed a good quarterback to produce — in his final season in college, he had 1,202 receiving yards and that was at Georgia Tech with Reggie Ball as his quarterback. In 2008, he totaled 1,331 receiving yards in a league-high 12 touchdown catches from the winless quintuple of Dan Orlovsky, Jon Kitna, Daunte Culpepper, and Drews Stanton and Henson.

But he never had an Aaron Rodgers, and you know what they say: if you can’t beat ’em, Kevin Durant ’em. Rodgers performs acts of football legerdemain on the regular, and with the 6’5 Johnson to the throw the ball to, the two could headline their own Vegas magic show.

No update on Andrew Luck. Not throwing. Went through early work at OTAs then head to indoor facility to further work. Frank Reich not certain if Luck will throw before end of offseason work in mid-June. Also not concerned.

A week after new Colts coach Frank Reich told reporters Luck was getting real close to being ready to throw a football again, it finally happened at one of the team’s last OTAs of the year.

The Chargers missed the playoffs in 2017, but are tied with the third-best odds to win the AFC this season, behind only New England and Pittsburgh.

Out of the eight current division favorites, Los Angeles is the only one that didn’t make the playoffs last season. Are higher expectations good for the Chargers? The previous two seasons they entered as AFC West favorites were 2010 and 2011, and they fell short of the playoffs both times.

Free-agent goalie Carter Hutton is rumored to be signing with the Sabres to backstop their path back to contention. No pressure! Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

On July 1, unrestricted free agency begins in the NHL. Well, officially. It’s comical how much matchmaking is done before free agency opens, like rushing into an electronics store at midnight on Black Friday and having your Nintendo Switch already bagged at the register.

The Suns’ signing Ariza was great news for the Raptors, since Phoenix looked like VanVleet’s best hope of getting an offer sheet that would have featured a balloon payment in Year 3. Instead of waiting around to see whether the Orlando Magic might have space for a similar deal in the event they chose not to match an offer to Aaron Gordon, VanVleet settled for a deal that presumably pays him the maximum $18.5 million Toronto could offer over the next two seasons.

I would have expected the Raptors to aim for a longer deal with a smaller annual salary, helping their tax situation. VanVleet’s new contract gives Toronto about $135 million committed to 12 players. Assuming the Raptors fill the last two roster spots at the minimum, that puts them about $14 million over the tax line with a bill of $27 million.

Toronto will be hard-pressed to avoid the tax entirely, which would probably require trading Jonas Valanciunas into space — not an ideal option. More realistically, the Raptors will probably look to trim around the edges. Finding a team that would take on Norman Powell’s four-year, $42 million extension would get Toronto’s tax bill to a manageable number.