Braves-Blue Jays Preview
The Braves hope to avoid a seventh consecutive interleague road loss Tuesday night when they visit a disappointing Blue Jays team looking to extend its home win streak versus NL clubs.
Edwin Encarnacion, Colby Rasmus and J.P. Arencibia hit home runs to help the Blue Jays (22-29) improve to 5-3 on their nine-game homestand with a 9-3 victory over NL East-leading Atlanta (30-20) on Monday.
Toronto has outscored its opponents 30-12 while winning all three interleague games this season to raise its home win streak to six against NL foes dating back to last season.
In contrast, Atlanta has been outscored 34-10 in four road losses versus AL opponents this season and has a six-game slide in interleague road games overall.
"Obviously, the results stink for me right now and for our club,'' said Monday's loser Tim Hudson, who extended his winless streak to four starts. "I feel confident that things are going to be a lot better, hopefully really soon.''
The Braves will try to turn things around with Paul Maholm (6-4, 3.38 ERA) taking the ball in the finale at Rogers Centre before the series shifts for two games at Turner Field.
Maholm has won three of his last four starts, including the last two in which he's allowed two earned runs in 13 1-3 innings.
The left-hander is coming off his best start in more than a month, giving up only an unearned run over 7 1-3 innings in an 8-3 victory over Minnesota on Wednesday.
Though he hasn't faced them since 2011, Maholm is 1-1 with a 3.21 ERA in two career starts versus the Blue Jays.
He'll have to find a way to cool off Encarnacion, who is hitting .358 with four homers and 18 RBIs over his last 13 games. The first baseman is also batting .361 (13 for 36) with three doubles and a triple versus Maholm.
Teammate Jose Bautista has gone 15 for 29 with two homers and five RBIs in the past seven games.
Scheduled Toronto starter Brandon Morrow (2-3, 5.50) hasn't exactly been sharp, but the Blue Jays have won four of his last five starts while averaging 8.62 runs of support during that stretch.
The right-hander has allowed 11 runs and 17 hits - five homers - over 12 innings in his last two starts, getting tagged for six runs and a season-high 10 hits in seven-plus innings in a 12-6 win over Baltimore on Thursday.
Morrow left that outing after giving up back-to-back homers in the eighth inning.
"It's frustrating for me to go out give up the two home runs without getting an out there in the eighth,'' said Morrow, who has never faced the Braves. "It put a sour taste in my mouth.''
B.J. Upton may be back in the lineup after sitting out Monday, though he's hitting .148 on the season and is 4 for 24 with 12 strikeouts lifetime against Morrow.
Catcher Evan Gattis went 3 for 4 with his 11th homer Monday and is 7 for 14 with four home runs over his last seven games.
Toronto's Brett Lawrie, who is 7 for 17 over his last five games, is day-to-day after spraining his left ankle sliding into second on a stolen base in the opener.