Gomes' pinch homer lifts Braves to wild win over Blue Jays
By Dhiren Mahiban and Jamie Ross
TORONTO -- Two eighth-inning home runs gave the Braves the boost they needed to claim an Interleague series-opening 8-7 victory over the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre on Friday night.
Jonny Gomes went deep with a pinch-hit solo shot to break a 5-5 tie before Freddie Freeman sent a two-run shot over the wall to knock reliever Brett Cecil from the game and give the Braves necessary padding.
Homers factored large for both sides in the contest. The Blue Jays knocked five out of the park, with Josh Donaldson and Russell Martin each putting up a pair. Devon Travis led off the bottom of the first with a dinger.
Both starters were largely ineffective. Toronto righty Drew Hutchison lasted only 4 2/3 innings and allowed four earned runs, while his Atlanta counterpart, Julio Teheran, surrendered a career-high four home runs over five innings.
The Blue Jays made a game of it in the eighth on Martin's second solo shot, and a pair of subsequent singles that gave Toronto a pair of runners with one out.
Dalton Pompey scored on a fielder's choice to make it a one-run game, but the Blue Jays couldn't muster the tying run. Had Kevin Pillar not ran out of the baseline when he was caught in a rundown between second and third on a one-out grounder, the tying run could've been 90 feet away. But he was ruled out by second-base umpire Tom Hallion, and the Blue Jays rally was thwarted when Jim Johnson got Donaldson to ground out to end the inning.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Teheran gives up the long ball: Before allowing four homers, Teheran's previous high was three, which came May 3 of last season against the Giants. Entering the opener, Teheran had yet to give up a homer in his first two starts, but that changed on Travis' leadoff shot. Martin followed in the second before Donaldson went yard once in the third and again in the fifth. More >
Gomes comes through in a pinch: Gomes broke a tie in the top of the eighth with a pinch-hit homer. In for No. 9 batter Cameron Maybin, Gomes sent his 10th career pinch hit home run over the wall in center field to give the Braves a one-run advantage.Three batters later, Freeman cracked a two-run shot to the second deck in right field. More >
Martin snaps slump: Martin went yard in the second for his first home run of the season. The hit snapped an 0-for-22 slump for the 32-year-old. Martin had not registered a hit since the Jays' season opener on April 6 against the Yankees. Martin then took Luis Avilan yard in the eighth. Martin finished 2-for-3 with a walk and a pair of home runs for his ninth career multi-homer game. More >
Rough outing for Hutchison: After lasting just 4 1/3 innings Sunday, Hutchison didn't fare much better Friday. The right-hander went 4 2/3 innings, allowing four earned runs on seven hits while walking three and striking out six. In a 10-7 Blue Jays victory Sunday, Hutchison allowed seven earned runs on seven hits in a no-decision. More >
Donaldson swats pair: Donaldson went deep twice for his first two home runs as a member of the Blue Jays. It marks the fourth multi-homer game of the 29-year-old's career. Donaldson entered the game as the league leader among third basemen in RBIs (191) since 2013.
"I can read." -- Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez, when asked about the favorable matchup between Gomes and Cecil in the eighth (Gomes is 6-for-9 in 13 plate appearances against the left-hander)
"Obviously [I] want to go deep in the game. Our offense scored seven runs. To not win that game is embarrassing, to be honest." -- Hutchison, on short outing
"He's always in your way because he's never sitting down." -- Freeman, about what Gomes is like on the bench
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
With his dinger in the first, Travis became the first Blue Jays rookie to hit a leadoff homer since Russ Adams on Sept. 22, 2004, against the Yankees.
The Braves have multi-homer games in each of their past three games. It's their longest such streak since Aug. 17-19 of last season.
PILLAR FLASHES LEATHER AGAIN
Pillar with robbery: With two on and one out in the fifth, Pillar raced from deep left to shallow left center and laid out to make a huge diving grab on Freeman, robbing him of extra bases and keeping the score tied at 5. Roberto Osuna then struck out Chris Johnson to end the threat.
WHAT'S NEXT Braves: Left-hander Alex Wood will make his third start Saturday at 1:07 p.m. ET, facing Toronto for the first time. He didn't factor in the decision against the Mets his last time out, hurling 6 2/3 innings while allowing three earned runs on eight hits. Provided the roof is closed, pitching at Rogers Centre could work to Wood's advantage: He was 3-1 in four starts at closed-domed stadiums last year.
Blue Jays:R.A. Dickey will look to find the win column in his second start of the homestand Saturday. He walked in two runs in Toronto's 2-1 loss to the Tampa Bay on Monday. The right-hander is 0-1 with a 2.19 ERA after picking up a no-decision in his opening start, a 4-3 loss to the Yankees on April 8.