The Atlanta Braves won yesterday’s game on a walk-off by rookie Jace Peterson, and the theme continued Sunday afternoon as rookie pitcher Mike Foltynewicz (3-1) pitched his best game as a major-league starter as the Braves defeated the Milwaukee Brewers 2-1. Atlanta ended their homestand winning three out of four against Milwaukee before they head out for a 10-game road trip.
Foltynewicz was brilliant today as he pitched into the eighth inning for the first time in his career. He went 7.2 innings allowing one run on three hits while walking only one batter and striking out seven. He was very economical as he threw only 98 pitches, 71 of them for strikes. What really helped out Foltynewicz was hit ability to get ahead in the count. He faced 28 batters and threw a first pitch strike to 22 of them.
“I was attacking the zone with the fastball, getting early outs and the slider and curveball were working ok. They got a couple good hits off them at the end. Me and [A.J. Pierzynski] had a good game plan going in, and we stuck with it and got guys out,” Foltynewicz said.
The rookie right-hander was acquired in the offseason from the Houston Astros for Braves fan favorite Evan Gattis. Right now it looks like a win-win as both teams have improved from the trade. Gattis is sitting in the middle of the Astros lineup who are currently in first place in the AL West, while Foltynewicz is showing off his power stuff at the big-league level giving Braves fans encouragement for the future of this organization.
The Brewers sent right-hander Jimmy Nelson (2-5) to the mound to try and get the split in this four-game series. Nelson went 5.2 innings allowing two runs on five hits. He had very good stuff today but his problem was the free pass as he walked five batters and struck out only four. He would get behind in the count and the Braves hitters eventually took advantage of it latter in the game.
Atlanta would breakthrough in the sixth inning for a couple runs. The rally started with a leadoff single by Cameron Maybin and advanced to second base on a throwing error by Nelson on a pickoff attempt. Freddie Freeman and Nick Markakis would draw back-to-back walks to load the bases. Todd Cunningham couldn’t come through as he hit a soft liner to the shortstop for the first out. 38-year old A.J. Pierzynski would ground into a fielder’s choice that deflected off the diving second baseman giving the Braves the lead 1-0. Andrelton Simmons made it 2-0 on the very next pitch as he singled to left field.
Milwaukee’s scored their only run of the game in the seventh inning that started with Carlos Gomez getting hit by a pitch in the hand. Khris Davis hit a soft single to left field that put runners at first and third. Elian Herrera drove the run in with a sacrifice-fly. That was the Brewers only real threat the entire game.
Jason Grilli came into the ninth inning to close the door. He recorded his 13th save of the season which is second in the National League. Grilli had been struggling a little bit lately but allowed only one walk and struck out the side sealing a Braves 2-1 victory.
Atlanta (22-21) is now over .500 for the first time since April 27th. The Braves are still hanging on in the division race as they are third place and only three and half games behind the division leading Washington Nationals. Milwaukee (16-29) is in the cellar of not only the NL Central but in the entire National League. They are only a half game in front of the Oakland A’s for the worst record in the entire Major Leagues.