Mike Foltynewicz turned in one of the best starts of his career on Tuesday night as the Braves beat the Giants, 4-1, and took a big step towards claiming their first NL East title since 2013.
The Phillies lost both games of their doubleheader against the Nationals on Tuesday, dropping them to 6 1⁄2 games back in the East. Atlanta’s magic number shrunk from 15 to 12.
Foltynewicz was dominant from the first pitch of the game, making quick work of a punchless Giants lineup that struck out seven times and managed just five hits. He had full command of his fastball, curve and slider, and it wasn’t until the 9th inning when the Giants scratched across their lone run on a couple singles and a defensive indifference.
The Braves opened up the scoring in the 4th inning as Ender Inciarte took a high 0-2 fastball and lifted it deep enough to left field to score Nick Markakis on a sacrifice fly.
The scoring continued in the 5th as Ronald Acuña tripled to lead off. Charlie Culberson, who came in to replace an injured Johan Camargo*, hung back on a 3-2 slider and hit it over the wall in left-center to extend the lead to 3-0.
In the 8th, Inciarte roped a one-out single and Dansby Swanson followed with a double to the gap to make it 4-0.
For the second night in a row it was a calm and convincing win for the Braves. They really needed it — particularly the bullpen — after complete chaos in Arizona over the weekend.
*Johan Camargo left the game in the third inning with left groin tightness. He injured himself running down the first base line, and while it didn’t look to be overly painful, the Braves decided to remove him from the game on a chilly night. He very likely won’t play tomorrow and (hopefully) has a chance to be back for Friday’s opener with the Nationals.
The Braves and Giants will conclude their three-game series on Wednesday afternoon at 3:45 p.m. ET. The game will be shown exclusively on Facebook because Major League Baseball likes to discourage as many fans from watching their sport as possible. It will be Anibal Sanchez (6-5, 3.09 ERA) against Derek Holland (7-8, 3.54 ERA).