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The Atlanta Braves chased Blue Jays starter Sam Gaviglio in the second inning on Wednesday night as Toronto split the two-game series with a 9-5 loss in Georgia.
Gaviglio lasted just 1 2/3 frames in the contest, giving up six runs on six hits before handing the ball to Jake Petricka. A seventh-inning grand slam by Devon Travis, the third of his career, made it a two-run ballgame, but the Jays couldn’t capitalize on the late rally to win the series. It was the Braves’ who capped the scoring for the night in the eighth, when second baseman Ozzie Albies hit his second home run of the game, marking the first-time all star’s first multi-home run game in the big leagues.
It was the Jays’ sixth loss in nine games this month, as they head into a four-game series against the American League East-leading Boston Red Sox. The Red Sox put together their second nine-game win streak of the season with a 4-2 win over the Texas Rangers on Wednesday night.
A night after errors by Atlanta cost the home team the game, the Jays experienced a similar fate early on.
After a solid first inning from Gaviglio, things began to unravel in the second. The Braves had two on, Johan Camargo and Dansby Swanson, and one out when pitcher Mike Foltynewicz stepped up to the plate. His sacrifice bunt went awry for the Jays when Justin Smoak got the ball home too late and Carmargo scored. It only got worse when Luke Maile airmailed his ensuing throw to first, advancing Swanson to third on the play. A double by centre fielder Ender Inciarte scored Swanson and a sacrifice fly by Albies cashed in Foltynewicz. Then, RBI singles from first baseman Freddie Freeman, right fielder Nick Markakis and catcher Tyler Flowers made it a six-run game.
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When Jays reliever Luis Santos, who came in after Tim Mayza pitched two clean innings on the heels of Petricka’s appearance, surrendered a solo home run to Albies in the top of sixth, the Braves’ first home run in six games looked like a bonus for the home team. Santos would be followed by John Axford, Aaron Loup and Joe Biagini.
Foltnynewicz rode a one-hitter until through six frames. But a five-hit, five-run seventh inning off the starter got the Jays back in the game. The rally began with a solo home run by Justin Smoak, his 14th of the season and fifth in 11 games. After strikeouts from both Teoscar Hernandez and Randal Grichuk, Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Aledmys Diaz and Luke Maile each singled to load the bases. Travis then hit his sixth home run of the year to bring the Jays within two.
Toronto’s had just two hits after that, while Albies, who went 2-for-4 with four RBIs, picked up two more runs for his team with the eighth inning dinger off Loup.