ATLANTA -- Kurt Suzuki capped a six-run first inning with a three-run home run and added a double during a two-run sixth that provided the Braves some comfort as they backed Mike Foltynewicz's effective start during Wednesday night's 8-4 win over the Blue Jays at SunTrust Park.
On their way to winning their third straight game against the previously streaking Blue Jays, the Braves tallied six runs before Toronto starter Joe Biagini recorded his first out. Nick Markakis aided the early barrage with a two-run single that was immediately followed by Suzuki's second homer of the season. Per Statcast™, the shot into the left-center-field seats traveled a projected 414 feet and had an exit velocity of 103.4 mph.
"It was good we kept adding on," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "If we're going to have those big innings, I'd rather do it in the seventh and eighth inning, when there's not as much time to catch up. I thought Folty held in there pretty good and pitched himself out of trouble. He was good again tonight."
After spotting the Braves a six-run lead, Biagini retired each of the final 12 batters he faced. But the early barrage was more than enough for Foltynewicz, who allowed three runs and six hits over six innings. Justin Smoak hit a two-run homer in the fourth inning on a 99.2 mph fastball -- matching the highest velocity registered on a pitch hit for a home run this year.
Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman exited in the fifth inning after getting hit near the bottom of his left hand with a pitch. X-rays were inconclusive, but further tests scheduled for Thursday could confirm the Braves' fear that one of the game's elite offensive threats will be sidelined for an extended stretch with a significant injury.
"I'm pretty much worried about Freddie right now, but we swung the bats good again and played a good ballgame," Snitker said.
Tempers flared near the end of the game as the benches and bullpens cleared in both the seventh and eighth innings. The first altercation happened when Kevin Pillar objected to Jason Motte's quick pitch and yelled out to the Braves' reliever. The second instance occurred after the Braves objected to Jose Bautista's bat flip and overall reaction to a solo homer off Eric O'Flaherty.
"There were a couple instances out there that were questionable with what happened," Foltynewicz said. "We'll just take it from there, put this in the back of our head and try to sweep them."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Quick start: After getting outscored 13-4 in the first inning of their previous homestand, the Braves turned the tables with the help of Ender Inciarte, who delivered an opposite-field leadoff single. After an error, Biagini issued Freeman a four-pitch walk to load the bases before Matt Kemp drew a bases-loaded walk. Markakis then followed with the two-run single that preceded Suzuki's home run.
"I kept the team in the game," Foltynewicz said. "It's really hard, especially when you get that big of a lead early to really keep your focus. I thought I did well, especially a couple innings where they could have drawn closer. The fastball command was there most of the night."
Running interference: Foltynewicz was looking at some potential trouble when the Blue Jays put two on with two outs in the fifth inning. But this threat ended when Ezequiel Carrera was called out for baserunning interference when he made contact near third base with Jace Peterson, who was attempting to field a Smoak grounder that would have likely resulted in an infield hit.
"We played sloppy," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "We made some mistakes that cost us. If you're not scoring a ton of runs, that's really magnified."
"That's something that's making the game tough to watch lately. It's turned into look-at-me stuff. It's not even about winning anymore. If he wants to hit a home run, pimp it and throw the bat around, it's just frustrating as a pitcher. I didn't see it at the time, but I saw the video. He looked at me and tried to make eye contact. It's just tired. We've seen it from him enough." -- O'Flaherty, on Bautista
"I understand why they would be upset in that situation and I just told them how I felt. Basically just let them know that I wasn't trying to show up anybody and hopefully it's in the past." -- Bautista, on the benches clearing
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The Blue Jays allowed six runs before recording an out in the first inning for the third time in franchise history. The club record is seven, which occurred on July 2, 2015, at Boston.
WHAT'S NEXT Blue Jays: Right-hander Marcus Stroman will take the mound when this series wraps up on Thursday night, with first pitch scheduled for 7:35 p.m. ET. Stroman has allowed two runs or fewer in all but two of his eight starts this season. He picked up nine strikeouts during his last start vs. the Mariners, which was aided by a season-high 14 swinging strikes.
Braves:Julio Teheran will counter Stroman when he takes the mound at SunTrust Park. Teheran has posted an 8.14 ERA in four home starts this year.