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Braves blow ninth-inning lead, lose 6-5

A comedy of errors in this one.

MLB: Atlanta Braves at Toronto Blue Jays John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

A frustrating series ended in frustrating fashion Sunday as the Atlanta Braves suffered a walk-off, 6-5 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays.

The Braves did not take long to get things going offensively as Ronald Acuna Jr. launched a lead off home run into the second deck off of Blue Jays starter Yusei Kikuchi.

Atlanta added another run in the second. Marcell Ozuna got things started with a one-out double. He moved to third on a fly out by Kevin Pillar. Michael Harris II brought him home with a single to right to extend the lead to 2-0.

The Blue Jays struck back in the second thanks to some shaky defense by the Braves. Whit Merrifield lifted a fly ball to short right field that Acuña and Ozzie Albies were unable to come up with. Brandon Belt then singled off the glove of Austin Riley at third to score Merrifield to make it 2-1. Things got worse from there for Collin McHugh as Danny Jansen and Santiago Espinal both singled to load the bases. McHugh then got Springer to bounce back to the mound to start the 1-2-3 double play. However McHugh walked Bo Bichette to load the bases again and then Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hit a rocket single to center that scored two to put Toronto in front. McHugh then issued another walk to Daulton Varsho before giving way to Michael Tonkin, who struck out Matt Chapman on a generous strike call to avoid any further damage.

McHugh allowed six hits, two walks and three runs, but none of them were earned due to the error. He struck out two while throwing 49 pitches.

Now trailing by a run, the Braves came right back. Acuña reached on an error by Chapman and then moved into scoring position on a wild pitch. Ozzie Albies then delivered his tenth home run of the year to put the Braves back up 4-3.

Atlanta added another run in the fourth as Kevin Pillar hit a solo shot to left to extend the lead to 5-3.

The homer would be followed by back-to-back singles by Orlando Arcia and Acuna but Matt Olson and Albies both went down swinging to leave the runners stranded.

Michael Tonkin allowed a solo home run by George Springer to start the fourth that cut Atlanta’s lead to 5-4. He would then retire five straight before Belt reached on a bunt single in the fifth. Tonkin got Jansen to fly out to end the inning.

It was another good outing for Tonkin who allowed three hits and a run over 3 1/3 innings.

Jesse Chavez allowed a single and a walk, but kept the game at 5-4 in the sixth. Kirby Yates replaced Chavez in the seventh and immediately found himself in a jam as Pillar and Harris misplayed a fly ball by Chapman into a two-base error. Yates dug in though and retired the next three hitters in order to protect the one-run lead.

Nick Anderson needed just seven pitches to navigate the eighth before turning the game over to Raisel Iglesias in the ninth. He was greeted by a missile from Guerrero that went high off the wall in right. Guerrero didn’t run out of the box thinking he had a homer and had to settle for a long single. Iglesias got Varsho to pop out for the first out, but then walked Chapman to put runners in scoring position. Merrifield flew out for the second out, but Belt again reached on an infield single that loaded the bases. Iglesias then allowed a single to Jansen that brought home Guerrero and Chapman with the winning run.

With the loss, Atlanta falls to 25-15 and wraps up a frustrating series north of the border. They will have to flush it from memory quickly as they will continue their road trip in Texas Monday when they begin a three-game series against the Rangers.

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