Albies Hits Pair Of Homers To Lead Braves To 9 5 Victory Over Blue Jays

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ATLANTA—There are only three certainties in life: Death, taxes ... and handing Mike Foltynewicz a six-run lead early in the game.

On Wednesday, >the Braves' All-Star pitcher

didn't have his sharpest outing of the year, but it wasn't really necessary, either.

Foltynewicz (six strikeouts) pitched to contact in the early innings before weathering a long-ball storm in the seventh inning, allowing five runs in that final frame.

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But alas, Atlanta's early explosion (six runs in the 2nd), plus an insurance run in the sixth inning, was enough cushion to help the club cruise to a 9-5 win over Toronto.

As a bonus, counting the spurt-filled victory, along with the Phillies' road defeat (to the Mets), the Braves (51-40) >have forged yet another tie for first place

in the National League East.

"I might've sent a text earlier today to him to kinda start the trash talking."@Braves star Freddie Freeman will participate in the Home Run Derby ... and he's already trying to get in the head of his first-round matchup: Bryce Harper.

— FOX Sports: Braves (@FOXSportsBraves) July 12, 2018

Wednesday's output marked the Braves' highest-scoring outing of this month. It was a much-needed breakout for the struggling Atlanta lineup, >which ranks among the NL's worst July offenses

, charting hits, runs, homers, RBI, slugging and OPS.

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But none of that mattered on this night, with every Braves regular logging at least one hit against the Blue Jays; and in a surprise to no one, All-Star Ozzie Albies led the way, clubbing two homers off Toronto relievers.

Albies certainly took care of the Braves' late scoring (6th/8th). The six-run avalanche in the second inning was a little more nuanced:

**Johan Camargo led things off with a single.

**Two batters later, Dansby Swanson singled to left center, allowing a hustling Camargo to stretch the run to third base.

**The enterprising Foltynewicz >executed a textbook safety squeeze to first base

, but Justin Smoak's glove-throw wasn't quick enough to prevent Camargo from scoring. A catcher throwing error subsequently helped Swanson advance to third base.

The funny thing about the play: Foltynewicz (7-5, 2.66 ERA) telegraphed his bunt attempt long before Jays starter Sam Gaviglio tossed the pitch; and yet, the Illinois native still located a perfect bunt to open the scoring.

**Ender Inciarte doubled to deep right-center, scoring Swanson with ease.

**Albies (two runs, four RBI) got Foltynewicz home with a straight-up sacrifice fly.

**And finally, riding a tidal wave of positive mojo, the Braves' triumvirate of Freddie Freeman, Nick Markakis and Tyler Flowers notched back-to-back-to-back RBI hits, vaulting Atlanta to a seemingly safe 6-0 lead.

The 'seemingly' covers Foltynewicz's uncharacteristic struggles in the 7th.

The Blue Jays (42-49) are among baseball's most inept offenses >with hits and batting average

; and yet, they touched Foltynewicz for two homers in the inning—a solo leadoff blast from Smoak and a grand slam from Devon Travis.

Luckily for Foltynewicz, Sam Freeman effectively closed the door on a longer rally, ending the inning with a harmless Kevin Pillar groundout.

David Winkler and Arodys Vizcaino cleaned up the final innings for the Braves, allowing zero runs to preserve Atlanta's 24th home victory.

>Atlanta will host Arizona this weekend

, the final series before the All-Star break.

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