The Atlanta Braves entered Monday’s game in Toronto as Vegas underdogs and it was easy to see why. However, the team played quite well for nine innings and the end result was a rare, 10-6 victory that felt comfortable for long stretches of time.
In a continuation of positive recent trends, the Braves struck first and the initial blow came in the opening frame. Matt Kemp singled to send Freddie Freeman from first to third and, after a ghastly throw, Kemp was able to advance to second. On cue, Nick Markakis contributed some timely hitting with a two-run single to center and Atlanta was off and running.
Adonis Garcia then led off the second inning with a hit by pitch, stole second, advanced to third on an error and was brought to the plate by a sacrifice fly from Dansby Swanson. Braves starter Bartolo Colon did allow a run in the bottom half of the frame after back-to-back doubles but he escaped further damage and the Braves never trailed.
Swanson, who was excellent at the plate in the game, tacked on a run with an RBI single in fourth and Nick Markakis stretched the lead back to three with a second RBI single in the fifth. After a walk to Tyler Flowers, Garcia then extended the margin to 6-2 with an RBI single and the rout looked to be on from there.
A Jose Bautista double in the fifth inning did slash the margin back to three but, in short order, the game was broken open from the bat of Freddie Freeman. Swanson doubled to center to open the sixth and that was followed by a bunt single from Ender Inciarte. After a Brandon Phillips strikeout, Freeman blasted a three-run home run to center field and, at 9-3, the result was virtually academic.
The Braves would add an additional insurance run and, in continuing with his woeful performance this season, Ian Krol would allow Toronto to score a single run in the eighth inning before Josh Collmenter issued a two-run bomb in the ninth. Fortunately, both hiccups were largely meaningless and the end result was a positive one.
Individually, it was an excellent (read: perfect) night for Matt Kemp at the plate, as he went 4-for-4 with two doubles and three runs scored. Freddie Freeman, of course, added the biggest swing of the night, while Dansby Swanson (2-for-4, 2 RBI), Adonis Garcia (2-for-4, 2 RBI, 2 runs) and Nick Markakis (2-for-4, 3 RBI) brought strong performances to the table.
In run prevention, Bartolo Colon was not electric but he did enough to win. The veteran right-hander allowed three runs (two earned) across five innings of work and he was flanked by a scoreless outing from Jason Motte in addition to the issues of Krol and Collmenter.
The same two teams will be back at it on Tuesday in Toronto before coming back to Atlanta for two more on Wednesday and Thursday. Stay tuned.