SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The calendar hasn’t hit June, and Atlanta pitcher Mike Soroka is already fielding questions about the All-Star game.
The Braves rookie right-hander had his season delayed by a shoulder injury suffered working out in spring training. There will be plenty of time for All-Star talk, but the way Soroka is pitching a strong case could be made.
Soroka carried a perfect game into the sixth inning, Ronald Acuña Jr. homered twice and Atlanta beat the San Francisco Giants 4-1 Monday night.
“I’m really just trying to put one foot in front of the other and make every start,” Soroka said. “All-Star break’s a long ways away and a lot of starts to go until then. I’m just going to keep doing what I’ve been doing. If that happens it’ll be unbelievable (but) that’s something that’s not even worth thinking about right now.”
Soroka (5-1) struck out seven and allowed one run and two hits in eight innings. The right-hander has allowed one earned run or fewer in all seven starts this season. His ERA rose from 0.98 to 1.01.
The 21-year-old Soroka retired the first 15 batters with relative ease before Brandon Crawford led off the sixth inning by hitting the first pitch to straightaway center field for a homer.
It was the first home run allowed by Soroka since he made his major league debut on May 1, 2018, a streak of 61 1/3 innings.
“The way he keeps pitching is something else,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “The maturity shows. It’s really impressive watching him work. He’s one of those guys, you don’t know if he’s five up, five down or what the score is. He just keeps pitching and making pitches.”
Atlanta second baseman Ozzie Albies helped preserve Soroka’s gem, making a running catch with his back to the infield on a fly ball to short center field by Kevin Pillar that ended the fifth inning.
Sean Newcomb retired three batters for his first major league save.
Austin Riley also homered for the Braves, who won the opener of a seven-game trip and have won eight of 11.
“It’s nice because we have such a nice blend of young players and veterans,” Acuña said through a translator. “It’s nice to be a part of that. I’m just trying to focus on winning. That’s really the most important thing that we’re all striving to achieve.”
Acuña homered leading off the game against San Francisco starter Andrew Suarez (0-1). It’s the 10th leadoff home run of Acuña’s career and second in as many games this season. Acuña also homered leading off Sunday’s 10-inning 3-2 loss to Milwaukee.
Acuña homered again in the seventh off Nick Vincent. Atlanta is 8-2 since Acuña was moved into the leadoff spot on May 10.
“I don’t know what it is but he’s just kind of a different guy there,” Snitker said. “There’s something about that spot there that he kind of comes alive.”
Riley’s two-run home run came off Suarez in the sixth, following a walk to Nick Markakis.
Suarez allowed three runs and four hits in six innings in his debut. The left-hander, who was called up from Triple-A Sacramento before the game, walked four and struck out five.
Suarez’s only career win came against Atlanta on May 6, 2018.
“He was a strike away from a great start,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “He lost Markakis and then had the next hitter 0-2 and just hung a breaking ball. He gave us a chance to win the game, but offensively, we just got completely shut down.”
The Giants played without a true backup shortstop after the team optioned infielder Donovan Solano to Sacramento to make room for Suarez. Manager Bruce Bochy indicated that third baseman Evan Longoria or second baseman Joe Panik could be used there, if needed.
“Of course Pablo (Sandoval) could, too,” Bochy said, referencing the two-time All-Star who has evolved into the Giants’ utility player. Sandoval started at third in place of Longoria.
The Braves added veteran help for their patchwork bullpen by acquiring right-hander Anthony Swarzak from Seattle for left-hander Jesse Biddle and right-hander Arodys Vizcaino. As part of Monday’s trade, Seattle is sending Atlanta $1.78 million to cover about one-third of the $5.67 million remaining in Swarzak’s $8 million salary this year.
The 33-year-old Swarzak has a 5.27 ERA and three saves in six chances this season for the Mariners. He had an 8.64 ERA in his last nine appearances.
DONE DEAL 2.0
San Francisco acquired minor league pitcher Matt Seelinger from Tampa Bay as the player to be named later in the deal that sent catcher Erik Kratz to the Rays last week. Seelinger will report to Class-A Augusta.
Giants: Longoria was held out of the starting lineup. He flew out as a pinch-hitter in the ninth.
Atlanta RHP Julio Teheran (3-4, 3.88 ERA) pitches Tuesday in his first start against San Francisco since 2013. Teheran is going for back-to-back wins after ending a three-game losing streak with five scoreless innings against St. Louis on May 16. Right-hander Shaun Anderson (0-0, 3.60) makes his second career start for the Giants. Anderson allowed three runs (two earned) in five innings in his major league debut against Toronto on May 15.
By CHARLES ODUM
ATLANTA (AP) — Freddie Freeman marveled at Austin Riley’s continued hot start and then showed the new kid how to end a game with flair.
Freeman led off the 10th inning with a home run into the right-field seats , lifting the Atlanta Braves to a 4-3 win over the Milwaukee Brewers on Saturday night.
The Braves recovered to win their fourth straight game after Luke Jackson blew a 3-2 lead in the ninth.
Freeman pulled a fastball from Josh Hader (0-3) for his 10th homer.
Braves manager Brian Snitker called the matchup “two of the best left-handers in the game right there, going one-on-one.”
The tough matchup didn’t alter Freeman’s approach. Asked what he was looking for, Freeman said: “A strike, the same with anybody on the mound. Just looking for a pitch to hit.”
Jacob Webb (2-0) pitched a perfect 10th for Atlanta.
Riley, the Braves’ rookie left fielder still in his first week in the majors, hit a go-ahead, two-run homer in the sixth for a 3-2 lead.
“For what he’s doing the first four games, it’s hard to put in words,” Freeman said. ”… He’s aggressive. He’s aggressive in the zone. He’s taking pitches out of the zone, which is very hard for a young guy. I’m just very impressed with how he has approached his first four games.”
Riley joined the on-field celebration when his new teammates surrounded Freeman following the game-winning homer, drenching the first baseman with a cooler.
“For Freddie to hit a walk-off was super cool,” Riley said. “I’ve never been a part of anything like that.”
Riley’s homer off left-hander Alex Claudio gave him eight hits, including two homers, in four games since he was called up from Triple-A Gwinnett. The eight hits are an Atlanta record for a player’s first four games.
Riley singled in the second but made a rookie mistake when he was fooled by shortstop Hernan Perez, who pretended to field a throw at second on Brian McCann’s fly ball to fight field. Riley slid head-first into second before standing to watch right fielder Christian Yelich throw to first base to complete the double play.
The front of Riley’s shirt was still covered in dirt when he made up for his mistake with the homer.
The Brewers left the bases loaded in the third and ninth and left 10 runners on base overall.
“We didn’t capitalize enough on our offensive opportunities,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said, adding the missed chances “cost us in the end.”
Jackson hit Keston Hiura with a pitch to open the ninth. Hiura moved to third on Orlando Arcia’s one-out single to right and scored on Lorenzo Cain’s high bouncer over third baseman Josh Donaldson for a 3-3 tie.
Braves right-hander Kevin Gausman allowed two runs in six innings.
Brewers: Counsell says a decision must be made on RHP Jimmy Nelson (right shoulder) and his possible place on the staff following one more rehab assignment with Triple-A San Antonio on Thursday. Nelson gave up three hits in 5 1/3 scoreless innings Friday night.
Braves: Donaldson likely will be given a rest Sunday. Snitker said he plans to give Riley his first start at third base. Riley made his fourth straight start in left field after pregame fielding drills at third base, his primary position in the minors.
Milwaukee right-hander Chase Anderson came off the injured list to allow one unearned run on two hits with four walks in four innings in his first start of May. He was placed on the injured list on May 1 due to a blister on his right middle finger.
The Braves released left-hander Jonny Venters, whose comeback from his third Tommy John surgery helped him win the NL Comeback Player of the Year Award last year. Venters, 34, had a 17.36 ERA in nine appearances. The Braves recalled left-hander Jerry Blevins only four days after he was designated for assignment. The Brewers optioned right-hander Jacob Barnes to Triple-A San Antonio.
Yelich threw out Markakis at the plate to end the eighth. Markakis was trying to score from second on Ozzie Albies’ single.
Brewers: RHP Brandon Woodruff (6-1, 3.72) will make his first career appearance against Atlanta in Sunday’s final game of the three-game series. He has won his last four starts and is 5-0 over his last six starts.
Braves: RHP Mike Foltynewicz (0-3, 8.02) is 2-2 with a 2.90 ERA in six career games, including five starts, against the Brewers.
By CHARLES ODUM
ATLANTA (AP) — The return of Ronald Acuña Jr. to the leadoff spot has helped to spark Atlanta’s offense.
A barrage of home runs also makes a difference.
Max Fried allowed two hits in six scoreless innings, Dansby Swanson hit a drought-breaking, three-run homer and the Braves beat the Milwaukee Brewers 12-8 Friday night in a matchup of second-place teams.
Swanson, Josh Donaldson and Tyler Flowers hit home runs off right-hander Corbin Burnes in a nine-run sixth inning — the most runs in an inning by the Braves in 10 years. Freddie Freeman homered and drove in two runs.
Acuña had three hits, drove in three runs and scored two runs. The Braves have averaged almost seven runs and are 6-1 since moving Acuña back to the leadoff spot, where he flourished in 2018 as a rookie.
“I think it allows speed to play a little bit more,” Swanson said of the Braves’ new lineup.
Acuña’s hustle paid off in the first inning when he kept running for a double when Milwaukee’s Lorenzo Cain had a lackadaisical approach to the ball in shallow center field. Acuña moved to third on Swanson’s fly ball to right field and scored on Freeman’s grounder to second base.
Fried (6-2) had five strikeouts and walked two batters against a Brewers offense that had scored a combined 22 runs in three straight wins over Philadelphia.
“That was a good test for him,” said Braves manager Brian Snitker, who decided to pull the left-hander after he reached base twice in the long sixth inning.
Fried walked and doubled in the sixth. “I love it,” he said when asked about his rare offensive highlight.
Burnes, who was removed from the rotation following early struggles, has allowed 14 homers in 27 1/3 innings.
“Poorly located fastballs are going to be a problem, yeah,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said.
“Tonight he did not throw the ball well, the first time in five or six outings. We’ve got to be better than that, there’s no question about it. But we’ll give him another chance, yeah.”
The Braves led 12-0 before three relievers gave up eight runs in three innings.
Swanson ended a 0-for-17 slump with his homer into the left-field seats. Flowers’ two-run shot knocked Burnes out of the game. Burnes allowed seven runs on five hits — including three homers — and two walks while recording only two outs.
Jacob Nottingham homered and drove in four runs for the Brewers, who began the night a half-game behind Chicago in the NL Central.
The Braves, chasing Philadelphia in the NL East, have won three straight.
Freeman’s homer off Jhoulys Chacin in the third traveled 433 feet before hitting the front of a restaurant behind the first section of right-field seats.
Chacin (3-5) allowed three runs in five innings.
Atlanta led 12-0 before Josh Tomlin gave up four runs in two innings. Nottingham hit a two-run homer off Tomlin in the eighth.
Ryan Braun had a two-run single off Jonny Venters in the ninth, and Nottingham added a two-run single off Wes Parsons. Luke Jackson recorded the final out for his sixth save.
Brewers RHP Jimmy Nelson (right shoulder) could be moving closer to his first start in the majors since Sept. 8, 2017. Nelson gave up three hits in 5 1/3 scoreless innings in a minor league rehab start for Triple-A San Antonio. He missed the 2018 season while recovering from shoulder surgery.
ROOKIE ON A ROLL
Braves rookie left fielder Austin Riley had two singles, giving him six hits in three games since he was called up from Triple-A Gwinnett. The six hits matches Milt Thompson (1984), Yunel Escobar (2007) and Acuña (2018) for Atlanta’s best start through three games by a rookie.
PEREZ THE PITCHER
Hernán Perez, who started at third base, became Milwaukee’s first position player to pitch this season. The scoreless eighth, despite two walks, was his fifth career appearance on the mound, including three in 2018.
The nine-run sixth was the Braves’ biggest inning since also scoring nine in the fourth against Colorado on May 20, 2009. The Braves sent 13 batters to the plate against Burnes and Jacob Barnes in the inning.
Brewers: RHP Chase Anderson (right middle finger) is expected to come off the injured list to start Saturday night’s game. Anderson (2-0, 3.20) was placed on the IL on May 1.
Braves: RHP Kevin Gausman (2-3, 4.50) allowed one run in eight innings in winning his only career start against the Brewers in 2018.
By PAUL NEWBERRY
ATLANTA (AP) — When Austin Riley connected with the pitch, his father was watching from the concourse at SunTrust Park.
Mike Riley knew it was good contact, but he couldn’t tell how far the ball went.
Then he looked toward the outfield.
“As soon as I saw the outfielders not move,” the elder Riley said, “I knew it was gone.”
Austin Riley homered in his big league debut Wednesday night, leading Atlanta to a 4-0 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals and signaling the arrival of another top prospect for the Baby Braves.
“He’s got lights-out power,” said Hall of Famer Chipper Jones, who played his entire career with the Braves and was at the game. “I think he’s a 40-homer guy before it’s all said and done in the big leagues.”
Mike Soroka turned in another strong start with three-hit ball over seven scoreless innings, but this night belonged to the 22-year-old Riley. He was called up from Triple-A Gwinnett before the game after Ender Inciarte went on the injured list with a sore back.
Riley, who started in left field and batted sixth, struck out swinging against Michael Wacha in the first at-bat of what the Braves hope will be a long major league career.
Then, leading off the fourth, Riley showed why he was leading the International League with 15 homers and 39 RBIs.
Riley launched a high fastball deep into the left-field seats, a 438-foot drive that gave the Braves a 2-0 lead and sent his parents and a group of about 40 family and friends — many of whom hastily made the drive from his native Mississippi — into a delirious celebration.
“I’m speechless,” Riley said, struggling to find the words. “That second at-bat, I figured he was going to challenge me a little bit. I was able to put a good swing on it.”
Riley hit another drive to the edge of the warning track his next time up, and handled a couple of chances without any problem in left. Normally a third baseman, he figures to mostly play left field at least during his initial stint in the big leagues. Josh Donaldson is locked in at third base for 2019 with a one-year, $23 million deal.
After taking over as a defensive replacement for Riley, Charlie Culberson sealed the victory with a two-run homer in the eighth.
It was quite a showing for Atlanta’s kids.
Even younger than Riley, the 21-year-old Soroka (4-1) lowered his ERA to 0.98 in six starts. The right-hander has yet to allow more than one earned run in any of his appearances, and this was his best one yet.
Soroka escaped a bases-loaded jam in the third, getting Paul Goldschmidt to ground into an inning-ending double play. He stared down another trouble spot in the sixth when the Cardinals put runners at second and third, fanning Jose Martinez to snuff out the threat.
“What I like about this kid is he doesn’t panic. He just goes pitch to pitch,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “That’s a great trait for a young pitcher to have.”
In the eighth, Dan Winkler walked the first two St. Louis hitters on eight pitches, but Luke Jackson worked out of the jam — this time, it was Paul DeJong hitting into a double play — and finished up for his fifth save in six chances.
Wacha (3-1) surrendered only four hits and one earned run over five innings.
“Anytime you’ve got somebody new coming in there, you don’t really have too much video on that guy,” Wacha said. “Obviously, I didn’t want to make that pitch where he ended up hitting the homer, but he didn’t miss a mistake.”
Atlanta also scored when the Cardinals pitcher threw one away at third base after appearing to pick off Ronald Acuna Jr., who was able to trot home when the ball skidded under the glove of Matt Carpenter.
LUKE, YOU ARE OUR CLOSER
Jackson has been a godsend for Atlanta’s shaky bullpen.
After giving up four runs in his first appearance of the season, he has surrendered just one over his past 19 innings and appears to be the closest thing the Braves have to a closer.
Cardinals: RHP Carlos Martinez (shoulder) threw two innings for Double-A Springfield in an 8-2 loss to Arkansas on Wednesday. He allowed one run on four hits and could rejoin St. Louis for a weekend series in Texas.
Braves: Inciarte went on the 10-day injured list with a lumbar strain. He left Tuesday night’s game after experiencing tightness in his lower back.
In the rubber game of the series, RHP Adam Wainwright (3-3, 4.15) goes for the Cardinals against Atlanta RHP Julio Teheran (2-4, 4.26).
The organization will visit Charlotte, Greenville, Chattanooga, Nashville and Birmingham
ATLANTA (May 15, 2019) – The Atlanta Braves will set out on a five-day five-city road trip starting Tuesday, May 21. The trip is an opportunity for the organization to visit cities within the Braves six-state footprint and the team will host a variety of activities in each market. The Braves will visit Charlotte, N.C. (May 21), Greenville, S.C. (May 22), Chattanooga, Tenn. (May 23), Nashville, Tenn. (May 24) and Birmingham, Ala. (May 25). The Braves Country Road Trip is presented by SunTrust. FOX Sports Fan Express will be used for transportation during the five-day trip.
The Braves will start the trip in Charlotte, N.C. on May 21 with a visit to the Charlotte Motor Speedway to record a ‘Behind the Braves’ Podcast, the official podcast of the Atlanta Braves, featuring NASCAR driver and Braves fan Chase Elliott with hosts MLB.com’s Ricky Mast and former Braves’ closer, World Series Champion and current Director of Alumni Relations Greg McMichael. Braves alumni Ryan Klesko will also take a ride around Charlotte Motor Speedway with Elliott. Following the ride-along, Klesko will join former NASCAR driver Bobby Labonte at the NASCAR Hall of Fame for a Q&A panel discussion that is open to the public with an admission ticket to the museum.
The road trip continues in Greenville, S.C. on May 22 where Braves alumni Jose Alvarez and Marty Clary will share skills and tips with youth at a baseball clinic. On May 23, the team will host Braves’ Swing into Summer school’s out bash at Miller Park in downtown Chattanooga, Tenn. starting at 3 p.m.
In Nashville, Tenn., the Braves will continue to grow the game with a PLAY BALL event at the Music City Walk of Fame Park on May 24. That evening, the Braves and Ryan Klesko will host a watch party experience for the Braves game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Crazy Town, a TC Restaurant Group establishment located on Lower Broadway in downtown Nashville. TC Restaurant Group also operates Jason Aldean’s Kitchen + Rooftop Bar and Luke Bryan’s 32 Bridge Food + Drink.
The trip concludes in Birmingham, Ala. on May 25 with a youth baseball clinic at Railroad Park in conjunction with the Negro Southern League Museum.
“Our fans throughout Braves Country are an integral part of our team and we wanted to show our appreciation by bringing the Braves to their city,” said Derek Schiller, Atlanta Braves President and CEO. “The Braves Country Road Trip is a way to bring a piece of Atlanta and SunTrust Park to them.”
FOX Sports Southeast will feature daily highlights of the road trip within Braves LIVE pregame shows, to be televised thirty minutes prior to first pitch. Additionally, FOX Sports Southeast reporter Ashley ShahAhmadi will join the road trip in Charlotte, N.C., Greenville, S.C. and Nashville, Tenn. to provide updates during the show and via @FOXSportsBraves.
Throughout the road trip, the Braves and SunTrust will surprise fans with the chance to win Braves tickets, apparel, and other promotional items. Stop by these SunTrust branches during with the road trip visits in Charlotte (477 Sharon Road, Charlotte, NC 28210), Greenville (300 East McBee Avenue, Greenville, SC 29601), Northgate (1969 Northpoint Blvd, Hixson, TN 37343), Lee Highway (7001 Lee Hwy, Chattanooga, TN 37421) and Hillsboro Village (1605 21st Ave S, Nashville, TN 37212) for your opportunity. To learn more visit www.braves.com/roadtrip.
The Braves also have an exclusive Road Trip ticket package available. Fans can choose from eight games at SunTrust Park and a customized poster featuring one of the five cities on the Braves Country Road Trip. For images of the posters, please click here.
For more information on the Braves Country Road Trip or to purchase tickets, please visit www.braves.com/RoadTrip.
By Kevin McAlpin
Braves Radio Network
Braves fans, you’ve been asking for it, and the day is finally here. Wednesday, the club is expected to call up Austin Riley to the Big Leagues following Ender Inciarte’s departure Tuesday night with lower back tightness. Inciarte was injured running the bases after a third inning walk and was replaced in center field by Ronald Acuña. Riley, who has been red hot at the plate at Gwinnett hit a grand slam on Tuesday evening, his 13th homer in the span of his last 68 at bats.
A third baseman by trade, Riley was expected to get reps in the outfield during spring training to help his versatility. But after playing just one game there in March, Riley spent most of his time at third and first base in Grapefruit League contests. But lately, at Triple-A, Riley has begun appearing in left field more frequently. As a matter of fact, he stayed four of the last six games in left for the Stripers.
The Braves have held firm that players will tell you when they’re ready. Riley’s bat has done all the talking in the first month and a half of the season, and with the injury to Inciarte, a spot has finally been opened for the 22 year old. Riley has been a guy that’s been on the radar of Hall of Famers Bobby Cox and Chipper Jones for the last few years. And now, Riley gets his opportunity starting on Wednesday evening as the Braves continue their three game set against the Cardinals at SunTrust Park.
Kevin McAlpin has covered the Braves since 2012 for @680TheFan and the @BravesRadioNet.
By CHARLES ODUM
ATLANTA (AP) — It was difficult for Jack Flaherty to enjoy a runaway win over Atlanta because he couldn’t avoid one bad inning.
Flaherty didn’t have to worry. His St. Louis teammates roughed up Braves pitching all night.
St. Louis hit four home runs, including three-run shots by Marcell Ozuna , Yadier Molina and Kolten Wong, and the Cardinals beat struggling right-hander Mike Foltynewicz and the Braves 14-3 on Tuesday.
Flaherty (4-3) did not allow a hit through four innings. St. Louis led 11-0 before Flaherty gave up three runs and three hits in the fifth.
“Another long inning,” Flaherty said, adding “I’ve got to stay away from that.”
Cardinals manager Mike Schildt allowed Flaherty to remain in the game and finish strong with a perfect sixth inning.
“I was able to get through it,” Flaherty said.
The 2019 struggles for Foltynewicz (0-3) continued. He gave up eight runs, matching his career high, while lasting only 4 2/3 innings.
Foltynewicz, a 2018 All-Star, saw his ERA climb to 8.02 in four starts. He began the season on the injured list with a bone spur in his right elbow. He insists his elbow is fine.
“It’s really frustrating,” Foltynewicz said. “It’s nothing with the elbow or anything. We’re past that.”
Foltynewicz has allowed eight homers in 21 1/3 innings after allowing 17 in 183 innings in 2018, when he was 13-10 with a 2.85 ERA and 202 strikeouts.
Braves manager Brian Snitker said before the game he hoped Foltynewicz would be ready to find his top form after the late start to his season. Instead, the right-hander struggled from the first inning.
“Kind of everything is flat and not coming out real good,” Snitker said. “He paid for it.”
Ozuna’s homer gave the Cardinals a 3-0 lead in the first. Dexter Fowler led off the fourth with a homer to right, and Molina’s shot knocked Foltynewicz out of the game and was the big hit in a six-run fifth.
Wong added to the lead with his three-run homer off Jonny Venters in the ninth.
Atlanta’s first hit off Flaherty in the fifth was Brian McCann’s broken-bat dribbler against the defensive shift toward an abandoned third base. McCann scored on pinch-hitter Charlie Culberson’s single to left. Ronald Acuña Jr. drew a bases-loaded walk off Flaherty to force in a run.
The Cardinals were shut out in each of Flaherty’s last two starts. Bolstered by the big offensive support against the Braves, Flaherty allowed three runs on three hits in six innings despite matching his career high with five walks. He had six strikeouts.
St. Louis outhit the Braves 14-3. Every Cardinals starter, including Flaherty, had at least one hit.
Cardinals: RHP Carlos Martinez (shoulder) is scheduled to throw 30 pitches for Double-A Springfield on Wednesday. If all goes well, he could join the team this weekend in Texas.
Braves: CF Ender Inciarte left the game with lower back tightness before the fourth inning and was being examined after the game. … 1B Freddie Freeman started after missing Sunday’s game with an illness and having Monday’s off day for extra recovery time. Freeman was still sick, according to Snitker, who pulled the first baseman in favor of pinch-hitter Matt Joyce in the fifth.
HOME IN THE SOUTH
The Cardinals improved to 6-1 at SunTrust Park, which opened in 2017. They are 9-1 in their last 10 games in Atlanta since the start of the 2016 season.
Atlanta left-hander Jesse Biddle, activated off the injured list before the game, replaced Foltynewicz in the fifth and gave up four straight hits and a walk. He was charged with three runs while recording one out.
Atlanta right-hander Wes Parsons, who was recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett, pitched three scoreless innings. Left-hander Jerry Blevins was designated for assignment.
Cardinals: RHP Michael Wacha (3-0, 5.35) is 0-2 in five career games, including three starts, against the Braves entering Wednesday night’s game. He allowed two runs in a no-decision in his only previous start at SunTrust Park in May 7, 2017.
Braves: RHP Mike Soroka (3-1, 1.21) has allowed only four earned runs in five starts this season entering his first career start against St. Louis.
By The Associated Press
St. Louis Cardinals (22-19, third in the NL Central) vs. Atlanta Braves (21-20, second in the NL East)
Atlanta; Tuesday, 7 p.m. EDT
PITCHING PROBABLES: Cardinals: Jack Flaherty (3-3, 4.32 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 47 strikeouts) Braves: Mike Foltynewicz (3-2, 5.94 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, 10 strikeouts)
LINE: Cardinals favored by 1 1/2 runs; over/under is 9 runs
The Braves are 10-10 on their home turf. Atlanta’s team on-base percentage of .332 is eighth in the majors. Freddie Freeman leads the lineup with an OBP of .400.
The Cardinals are 8-10 on the road. St. Louis ranks second in the MLB in hitting with a .265 batting average, Jose Martinez leads the club with an average of .351. This is the first meeting of the season for these two teams.
TOP PERFORMERS: Ronald Acuna Jr. leads the Braves with eight home runs and is batting .286. Brian McCann is 6-for-18 with a double, two home runs and seven RBIs over the last 10 games for Atlanta.
Marcell Ozuna leads the Cardinals with 34 RBIs and is batting .243. Yadier Molina is 12-for-33 with three doubles, a home run and six RBIs over the last 10 games for St. Louis.
LAST 10 GAMES: Braves: 6-4, .244 batting average, 3.58 ERA, outscored opponents by two runs
Cardinals: 2-8, .253 batting average, 5.02 ERA, outscored by 15 runs
Braves Injuries: Arodys Vizcaino: 60-day IL (shoulder), Chad Sobotka: 10-day IL (abdomen), Darren O’Day: 10-day IL (forearm), Jesse Biddle: 10-day IL (thigh/groin), Freddie Freeman: day-to-day (head cold).
Cardinals Injuries: Mike Mayers: 10-day IL (shoulder), Carlos Martinez: 10-day IL (shoulder), Brett Cecil: 60-day IL (wrist/forearm).
By JOHN MARSHALL
PHOENIX (AP) — The Atlanta Braves wriggled out of one jam after the next with a series of spectacular plays.
Nick Markakis had the best of the bunch in the game’s biggest moment.
Markakis made a diving catch with the bases loaded to rob Wilmer Flores and end the eighth inning, helping the Braves hold off the Arizona Diamondbacks 5-3 on Sunday.
“I was on Ender (Inciarte) and all of a sudden I saw Nicky dive and make that play,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “It saved the game for us.”
Atlanta’s pitchers were in tight spots all day in the desert, starting with Max Fried’s bases-loaded jam in the first inning.
Fried gave up Adam Jones’ two-run homer in Arizona’s three-run fourth inning, but the rest of the Braves’ pitchers limited the damage of Arizona’s 14 hits with a huge boost from their defense.
The tightest spot came with a one-run lead in the eighth inning, when the Diamondbacks loaded the bases with one out against Sean Holcomb.
He struck out Christian Walker and Dan Winkler got Flores to hit a diving ball to right field. The ball appeared as if it would fall, likely scoring two runs, but Markakis, a three-time Gold Glover, dove forward to make the grab.
“I don’t know if I’m expecting them, but not surprised when they happen,” Fried said of the spectacular defensive plays.
Fried (5-2) was hit on the left hand by a liner and had to leave in the second inning Tuesday against the Dodgers. The left-hander did not miss his turn in the rotation and allowed three runs on nine hits with seven strikeouts.
Joahan Camargo and Tyler Flowers each had two RBIs, and Luke Jackson allowed two hits in two innings for his fourth save.
Atlanta has won consecutive series in Arizona for the first time since 2003-04 after holding the Diamondbacks to 1 for 9 with runners scoring position.
Jones reached 900 career RBIs with his homer for the Diamondbacks, who stranded 11 runners to lose for the sixth time in eight games.
“We kept striking back and giving ourselves a chance to stay in this game,” Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said. “Had some timely hitting, some good things were happening, but we just couldn’t get that big hit at the right time, with runners in scoring position to really cash in.”
Arizona’s Zack Godley (1-3) was bumped to the bullpen after allowing at least four runs in four of his first six starts. His return to the rotation was more like a relief appearance.
Godley gave up three hits in the second inning, including Inciarte’s RBI bloop single to left, and fellow starting pitcher Zack Greinke pinch-hit for him in the bottom half.
“I felt good, I threw pitches where I wanted to,” said Godley, who expected to stay in the game longer. “I threw the ball where I wanted to.”
Greinke, one of the best hitting pitchers in baseball, lined a single up the middle, but was stranded after left fielder Ronald Acuña Jr. made a leaping grab on Jones’ hard-hit ball in the gap. Greinke is 2-for-4 in his career as a pinch hitter.
Camargo drove in two with a single and Flowers added a run-scoring single off Jon Duplantier in the third inning to put Atlanta up 4-0. The runs allowed were the first in five big league appearances by Duplantier this season.
GAUSMAN DROPS APPEAL
Gausman made two starts after being suspended by MLB, including a 6-4 win over Arizona Saturday night. He would be eligible to return to Atlanta’s rotation on Saturday, giving him an extra day’s rest.
Braves: 1B Freddie Freeman was a late scratch with a head cold and was replaced by Charlie Culberson, who went 3 for 4. … Acuña was hit on the left wrist by a pitch from Duplantier in the third inning, but stayed in the game after being checked out by a trainer.
By JACK MAGRUDER
PHOENIX (AP) — Atlanta has a found lineup it can win with.
Brian McCann homered over the swimming pool behind the right-field wall, every regular had a hit, and the Braves beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 6-4 Saturday night to win their second straight after manager Brian Snitker reworked the order to put Ronald Acuña Jr. back on top and Dansby Swanson at No. 2.
“Sometimes you just need a little tweak here or there,” said No. 3 hitter Freddie Freeman, one of four Braves with two hits. “We all know we have a great offense. Sometimes you can get into a little lull for a few days. What he did was pretty smart on his part. Today we woke up a little bit, and hopefully we can carry that into tomorrow.”
McCann’s homer made it 3-1 in the seventh inning. Atlanta’s offense broke out after scoring 11 runs in its previous five games. The Braves had 13 hits.
“I like it,” Snitker said of the new lineup. “We’ll stay with it for a while.”
Kevin Gausman (2-3) gave up one run and five hits in six innings. He escaped a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the fourth when Nick Ahmed flied out and Alex Avila grounded out. When the Diamondbacks loaded the bases again with one out in the sixth, Ahmed hit a sacrifice fly that cut Atlanta’s lead to 2-1 and Avila struck out.
“I was throwing my fastball where I needed to,” Gausman said. “I threw enough strikes to where they were aggressive enough to where I could throw my offspeed and not have to worry about throwing it for strikes.”
Recovered from a calf strain that caused a stint on the injured list, Jonny Venters retired his only batter, David Peralta, on a game-ending groundout for his first save.
Arizona was 2 for 10 with runners in scoring position — neither hit drove in a run — and is 6 for 52 with runners on second or third in its last five games.
“It was a frustrating loss,” Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said. “Early on, we got outside our approach. We came out of our game plan and weren’t patient enough.”
Merrill Kelly (3-4) allowed three runs and eight hits in seven innings.
Ender Inciarte beat a shift with a two-out, RBI single to left in the second.
Acuña opened the third with a 377-foot single off the left field fence before being forced out at second base, and Josh Donaldson hit an RBI single to double the lead. Acuña has a four-game hitting streak.
“He’s getting really hitterish-looking to me,” Snitker said of Acuna.
McCann homered off a curveball from Kelly in the seventh inning, one pitch after sending a fastball just foul deep down the right-field line. Adam Jones pulled Arizona to 3-2 in the bottom half with his second career pinch-hit homer, a drive off Josh Tomlin.
Nick Markakis and Ozzie Albies singled in runs off Archie Bradley in the eighth, and Blake Swihart hit a two-run homer against Tomlin in the bottom half.
Johan Camargo had a pinch homer off Yoshihisa Hirano in the ninth.
NO. 1 AT NO. 1
Acuña has 20 homers in 272 at-bats while hitting leadoff in his career, a homer every 13.6 at-bats. Since the live ball era began in 1920, Cleveland’s Francisco Lindor leads major league qualifiers with a homer every 16.61 at-bats entering Saturday.
Braves: LHP Jesse Biddle (bruised right thigh, groin strain) has made three scoreless relief appearances for Triple-A Gwinnett.
Diamondbacks: RHP Taijuan Walker (recovering from Tommy John surgery in April 2018) is scheduled to throw another bullpen Sunday after a 23-pitch session Friday. If there are no setbacks, Walker could begin a minor league rehab assignment next week. … Avila (strained left quadriceps) was activated from the injured list and started in his first game since April 5. … 1B/3B Jake Lamb (strained left quadriceps) has incorporated light running into other baseball activities but is unlikely to be activated during the current homestead that ends May 19.
Braves: LHP Max Fried (4-2, 2.97 ERA) starts Sunday after his previous outing was cut short in the second inning when struck on the left hand by a line drive.
Diamondbacks: RHP Zack Godley (1-2, 7.49 ERA) is expected to rejoin the starting rotation in the spot opened when RHP Taylor Clarke was optioned to Triple-A Reno on Tuesday.