Mike Foltynewicz dazzles in Braves win over the Twins

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Mike Foltynewicz made his highly anticipated return against a team that leads all of baseball in home runs. Their 219 taters on the season were 27 more than the second-place Yankees coming into today. Of course, the long ball has been Folty’s crux all season. He allowed 16 of them in 11 starts before being demoted, which is one less than he surrendered all of last season (31 starts). It was a daunting task at hand, but Foltynewicz brought that “Don’t be a little b****” attitude with him to Target Field.

More importantly, he brought his slider, and not the one that was spinning out over the middle of the plate earlier this season. The pitch that made him an All-Star and Cy Young candidate in 2018. He threw it more than his fastball on Tuesday night, and most of them had Minnesota looking silly – like this.

When Folty has command of his slider, he’s among the toughest pitchers in baseball to face. Through five innings, the only player on the Twins that could touch him was Nelson cruise. He singled twice, but nobody crossed the plate, while Foltynewicz racked up seven strikeouts.

Meanwhile, the Braves offense went to work early and often. Ronald Acuña led off the game with a blast to dead center that was nearly identical to the walk-off bomb Miguel Sanó hit last night off Chris Martin. Freddie Freeman added three runs in the third with an opposite-field shot of his own, giving Acuña and Freeman a team-leading 28 homers each.

The good guys would add a run in the fifth, but broke things wide open with six runs in the sixth. The inning lasted over 30 minutes, which probably threw a wrench into Foltynewicz’s focus, who now had a twelve run lead. He came back out in the sixth with a shutout intact, but the guy who gave him problems all night – Nelson Cruz – hit a rocket over the left-field wall for the Twins first run. Mitch Garver added a two-run homer later in the inning, which resulted in the final pitch for Foltynewicz.

His final line: 5.1 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 7 Ks

It could have looked a lot better had Folty polished things off in the sixth, but against the most potent offense in baseball, he turned back the clock and was the man that led the Braves staff a year ago. It was a more than promising outing, but consistency is going to be essential to him entering the conversation regarding a potential playoff rotation. However, if this becomes the norm, he deserves an opportunity in October.

The night was perfect until the ninth inning. Brian Snitker put in Shane Greene to build some confidence after two blown saves to begin his career in Atlanta. It was going so well, as he sat down the first two batters quickly, but Eddie Rosario followed them with a solo shot before the final out was recorded. Greene might not want to remember this appearance either, but the Braves were able to cruise to a 12-7 win.

Max Fried will be on the mound tomorrow against Martin Perez in an afternoon rubber match. Catch the action at 1:10 ET.


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