Braves win 10th consecutive home game; why Folty exited early

The Braves’ Josh Donaldson heads to second base after hitting a two-RBI double in the fifth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at SunTrust Park on Tuesday night.

Credit: Kevin C. Cox

Credit: Kevin C. Cox

The Braves will carry a 10-game home winning streak into a much-anticipated series against the Washington Nationals later this week at SunTrust Park.

Tuesday night’s 7-2 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays gave the Braves their longest winning streak at home within a single season since early in the 2000 season, when they won a franchise modern-era record 12 in a row at Turner Field.

The Braves’ lead in the National League East remained 6-1/2 games over second-place Washington because,  shortly after Atlanta’s latest win, the Nationals scored seven runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to beat the New York Mets 11-10.

While the upcoming series against the Nationals has long loomed large, the Braves first took care of business by completing the sweep of a two-game series against the Blue Jays.

“It’s easy to look ahead, but I think the guys did a great job of staying in the moment and going out and winning today’s game,” manager Brian Snitker said.

 

The Braves last lost at SunTrust Park on Aug. 16 in the opener of a three-game series against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Since then, they have won every game they have played at home: two over the Dodgers, three over the Miami Marlins, three over the Chicago White Sox and two over the Blue Jays.

“There’s a lot of energy. It’s fun playing here,” Snitker said. “The Braves Nation comes out in droves. They’re loud and into everything, and you can tell they’re watching the game. It’s pretty special right now.”

Next come the Nationals, who arrive for a four-game series beginning Thursday night.

The Braves have played well almost everywhere this season, as you might have noticed. Despite the 10-game home winning streak, their record at SunTrust Park (44-27) is almost the same as their record on the road (42-27). They have won six in a row overall: the finale of their most recent road trip and the first five games of this homestand. They have won 17 of their past 21 games overall, including 14 of their past 16, to bolster their record to a season-best 32 games over .500 at 86-54.

The Braves led 2-0 Tuesday night when Snitker removed starting pitcher Mike Foltynewicz from the game for a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the fifth. Foltynewicz had his first scoreless start of the season, allowing just two hits and throwing 76 pitches through five innings of work.

“I went down after (the top of the fifth) and looked at him, and he looked like he was going to explode,” Snitker said. “He was red and said he had about passed out a couple of times. He was throwing good. I don’t know. So I just didn’t want to take any chances. He didn’t look real good to me, I know that.

“He looks fine now,” Snitker added. “I brought him in here (after the game) to see how he was doing.”

Foltynewicz, who seemed fine when he met with the media afterward, said it was an uncomfortable game for him from the start.

“Even when I started (warming up) in the ’pen, coming in, like the first three innings, it was a very uncomfortable feeling for me out there,” Foltynewicz said. “My face and my body felt really warm. … A few times, I noticed the eyes were heavy, a little dizzy. ... I wish I could have gone a tad longer, but the body wasn’t up to it, I think.

“It happens sometimes with the heat down here,” he said. “But I battled, got through it and feel a ton better now and will be ready for the next one for sure.”

The Braves staked Foltynewicz (5-5) to a quick 2-0 lead when their first four batters of the game collected hits. The recently slumping Ronald Acuna tripled and scored on a single by Ozzie Albies, who moved to third on a double by Freddie Freeman and scored on a single by Josh Donaldson.

After Foltynewicz was lifted for a pinch-hitter to start the bottom of the fifth, the Braves doubled their lead to 4-0 on Donaldson’s two-run double that followed a pair of walks.

Division standings

 

Bryse Wilson, recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett earlier in the day, worked a scoreless sixth inning but got into difficulty in the seventh, allowing two runs to trim the lead to 4-2.

Toronto’s fourth and fifth (of six) pitchers walked the first three Braves batters in the eighth, all of whom scored on Tyler Flowers’ double to provide the final 7-2 margin.

“I feel confident up there (at the plate). That’s usually the majority of the battle,” Flowers said. “Getting a few more consistent at-bats, I think, has allowed me to get a little better timing. It all kind of rolls together, typically.”

The Braves are off Wednesday before the Nationals come to town.

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