The Braves have won on eventful one-inning spurts, where the bats come alive, the opposing pitcher can’t find the zone and the defense behind him collapses.
Thursday was one of those days when they experienced the other end of the spectrum. Twice.
San Diego thrashed Mike Foltynewicz, took advantage of shoddy defense and batted around the bullpen in consecutive five-run innings. A 1-0 deficit grew to a 6-0 hole, which quickly became an 11-0 blowout. The Braves lost 11-2, splitting four games with the Friars.
“We couldn’t stop the bleeding,” manager Brian Snitker said.
The infamous fifth inning began with a bunt single. Ian Kinsler, who’s off to a terrible start but homered off a Foltynewicz slider earlier in the afternoon, doubled home the Padres’ second run. Franmil Reyes singled and Manny Machado reached on a fielder’s choice.
After an Eric Hosmer sacrifice fly, Ty France and Wil Myers singled. Mercifully, Foltynewicz was replaced by Grant Dayton, who permitted one more run before finally concluding the frame.
“I’m still trusting everything. (The slider) is just not getting the movement like I want it to,” Foltynewicz said.
The Padres weren’t done. They scored another five runs – all with two outs – against Shane Carle in the ensuing inning. They did it with four extra-base hits, including France’s triple that eluded Ronald Acuna’s glove, and capped by Wil Myers’ towering homer. Carle allowed five earned runs on six hits.
It was the first time since August 2000 that the Padres produced consecutive five-run innings.
“They were finding holes where we weren’t finding holes,” catcher Tyler Flowers said. “Sometimes that happens. Maybe we just jumbled up all our bad play and bad luck into one game, and it’ll turn tomorrow.”
Foltynewicz, making his second start since returning from the injured list, wasn’t up to his standards. The All-Star righty allowed six runs (only two earned) on eight hits, striking out three in 4-2/3 innings.
His velocity was a tick down, sitting around 93 mph. His slider isn’t where it was a season ago, but Foltynewicz said it’s a work in progress. He’s allowed 10 runs (six earned) in his first 10-2/3 innings.
“I’m not worried about it,” Foltynewicz said of his velocity. “I just have to get my off-speed where it needs to be. My fastball command has been good. They hit a couple balls well today, but mostly it’s been my slider that hasn’t been working. I haven’t been worried about the velo.”
San Diego starter Matt Strahm was solid, holding the Braves to two runs over six innings. Nick Markakis’ two-RBI single was their only offense.
The Braves embarked on their first three-city trip following the game. They’ll play three in Miami and Los Angeles before finishing with four in Arizona.
“I think we’re pretty good at putting today behind us and worrying about tomorrow,” Snitker said.