Camargo leads bottom-of-the-order barrage

It says something for how much deeper and balanced this Braves lineup is that the top five spots in their batting order Tuesday night accounted for just three hits, one run and two RBIs in an 11-4 rout against the Blue Jays.

The bottom four did the heavy lifting in this one, each having multi-hit games led by third baseman Johan Camargo’s 4-for-5 outburst from the No. 9 spot in the order, a performance that featured his first major-league grand slam and career-highs in hits and RBIs (five).

“I’m kind of at a loss for words,” Camargo said through an interpreter. “It’s my first career grand slam, and it was really a special moment and something I’ll never forget. Hopefully I’ll have more of those to come and more opportunities to just help the team.”

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He had two singles and a double to go with his slam and narrowly missed a fifth hit in the ninth inning when he lined an opposite-field drive to the right-field corner that sailed just wide of the foul line.

Then the Blue Jays finally retired him on a strikeout.

“One of these nights where you’re feeling good as a hitter,” Camargo said. “You definitely want to try and take advantage of it as much as possible. I felt comfortable and at ease at the plate.”

So did the rest of the Braves who batted after cleanup hitter No. 5 hitter Tyler Flowers.

No. 6 hitter Kurt Suzuki (2-for-5, double), No. 7 Charlie Culberson (2-for-4, double, home run), No. 8 Ender Inciarte (3-for-4, two doubles, three RBIs) and Camargo combined to go a stunning 11-for-18 with five doubles, two home runs, nine RBIs and 10 runs scored.

“I’ve said it a few times this year, being on a team that’s going to win, you have to have everyone doing well at some point,” Culberson said. “You can’t just rely on a few guys all the time because it’s too much pressure on them. When other guys step up it’s fun to see and we can feed off each other.

“You’re going to need those guys to step up at certain times to help out, and that’s just everyone pulling at the same end. ... This was a big win for us tonight.”

The first five in the lineup, including leading Braves All-Star candidates Ozzie Albies, Dansby Swanson, Freddie Freeman and Nick Markakis along with Flowers, were a combined 3-for-24 with two doubles, one triple, two RBIs and one run. And yet the Braves led 4-1 after two innings and had a 8-2 bulge before the Blue Jays scored a couple of runs in the bottom of the fifth.

“It’s incredible,” Braves rookie pitcher Mike Soroka said after a start that didn’t rank among his best, with eight hits and four runs allowed in 4-2/3 innings including five doubles. “You know that our lineup can do that every single night, and they have been. One through nine it’s just fun to watch those guys. It’s been amazing to go out there -- you get four on the board in the second and then you can go out there and keep attacking.

“Even after a leadoff double you don’t have to start pitching around guys, you can keep the game plan, and if you surrender that run it’s not the worst thing.”

Camargo’s grand slam off left-hander Jaime Garcia in the second inning was the third for the Braves this season and the first grand slam by a Brave from the No. 9 spot since that same Garcia hit one for Atlanta in a game he pitched against the Dodgers in Los Angeles last season on July 21.

“Camargo was huge tonight,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “And Ender looked really good; they were kind of working on some things today and it was good, he was popping that bat. That was really good to see out of him, he looked like his old self.”

Camargo is only the fourth National League player hitting in the No. 9 spot to have four hits and five RBIs in a game since RBIs became official in 1920, joining Jack Scott (1926), Boston Braves pitcher Johnny Sain (1946) and Micah Owings (2007).

“Thank God for this year and this team,” Camargo said. “This team is just really good up and down the lineup. We hit anywhere on it. Tonight the bottom of the lineup got it done. But that’s the difference this year, anybody can hit anywhere in the lineup.”