With a sour taste looming from a Friday night defeat, the Atlanta Braves entered Saturday evening with a chance to even the score and provide an opportunity for a series victory. Nine innings later, the visitors did just that, using a strong effort from Mike Foltynewicz and reasonable offense to claim a 4-1 win over a rival.
The Braves zoomed to an early lead and it came on the back of a Nick Markakis lead-off home run to begin the second inning. In short order, Atlanta followed that up with damage in the third frame and, in retrospect, that was all the offense the Braves needed on this night.
Ryan Flaherty led off the third with a single and Mike Foltynewicz, attempting to sacrifice bunt, reached base on a single of his own. Ender Inciarte then singled to bring Flaherty to the plate and, one batter later, Ozzie Albies did his job in lofting a sacrifice fly to give the road team a 3-0 lead they would never relinquish.
As far as fireworks on the scoreboard, there wasn’t much to write home about for the rest of the evening but, for the team in the lead, that is always a good thing. The Braves added an insurance run in the top of the fifth inning when Freddie Freeman tripled (yes, tripled) to score Albies and, shortly thereafter, the Phillies made their one and only dent against Foltynewicz on a leadoff home run from Maikel Franco.
From there, all was quiet and the three-run margin provided to be comfortable. A.J. Minter ran into a bit of trouble in the eighth inning while allowing back-to-back base-runners, but Atlanta wiggled off the hook (with help from Daniel Winkler) from there and Arodys Vizcaino slammed the door in the ninth to preserve the win.
The story of the evening from a Braves standpoint was the work of Foltynewicz, who was tremendous aside from a one-pitch hiccup against Herrera. The right-hander navigated six innings in allowing only one run and he limited base-runners (three hits, two walks) while striking out six members of the opposition. Given some of his recent work, this was a wildly encouraging step forward from Foltynewicz and it was key to another victory.
Offensively, the explosions were limited in this spot but that did not prove costly. Markakis had a fantastic evening, blasting Atlanta’s only home run and reaching base four times, while every member of the lineup reached base on at least one occasion. Tyler Flowers, making his first appearance in the lineup this season, finished 1 for 4 but, more than anything, it was significant that he was even able to appear.
The Braves and Phillies will finish their weekend series on Sunday afternoon, with Brandon McCarthy opposed by Vince Velasquez. Stay tuned.