With the Nationals’ late inning heroics, the lead stays at 6 1⁄2 games. This is exactly the type of cushion the Braves were hoping for going into this weekend’s critical series.
Mike Foltynewicz worked five scoreless innings, getting the hook after only 76 pitches. He only allowed two hits, walked three, and struck out two. He labored throughout, going deep in to counts all night and missing up with his fastball. Even with the erratic nature of his offerings, he was uncharacteristically reliant on the ground ball, inducing three double plays and recording 10 of his 15 outs via the ground ball.
For as much as has been made about Ronald Acuña, Jr.’s recent slump, his leadoff triple off the wall in right field was a welcome sight. And, after Ozzie Albies slapped one through the left side to bring him home, the Braves took a quick 1-0 lead. Freddie Freeman followed with a double down the left field line, then Josh Donaldson brought Albies home to make it 2-0, giving Folty all the breathing room he would need.
Blue Jays opener Wilmer Font managed to finish the first inning, but Blue Jays rookie TJ Zeuch made his Major League debut in the second inning. Zeuch pitched well for three innings, keeping the Braves scoreless, but things got hairy in the fifth inning when he walked Acuña and Freeman, then Donaldson brought them both home with a double and put the Braves up 4-0.
Bryse Wilson came on in relief of Folty in the sixth inning, making his first appearance since July 16. He allowed two runs on four extra base hits - three doubles and a home run. His stuff looked better than his line indicates (19 strikes in 22 pitches), but he got pulled after only four outs. Sean Newcomb came on to clean up Wilson’s mess, leaving the inherited runner stranded in the seventh. Newk stuck around to work the eighth inning as well, mowing down the triumvirate of sons - Bo Bichette, Cavan Biggio, and Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. - with relative ease.
It was a nice outing for Newk, and hopefully a confidence booster. After several shaky outings in a row, he needed this one.
The Braves were not content to leave the score at 4-2, as a bases loaded double off the bat of Tyler Flowers stretched the lead to 7-2, where it would stay for the rest of the night. Jerry Blevins slammed the door in the ninth inning to send the Blue Jays packing.
The Braves get an off day tomorrow, and will then turn their sights to the Nationals, starting this Thursday.