ATLANTA -- Mike Foltynewicz bested Gerrit Cole through the first five innings and Ender Inciarte recorded a career-best five hits as the Braves received another stellar effort from their bullpen during Monday night's 5-2 win over the Pirates at SunTrust Park.
Brandon Phillips belted his 200th career home run during a two-run third inning, and Matt Adams hit his first home run with the Braves to cap a three-run fifth inning against Cole, who allowed five earned runs for the first time since Opening Day and surrendered a season-high 10 hits over 4 2/3 innings. The Pirates' ace entered having allowed two earned runs or fewer in each of his past seven starts.
"Their ability to put the bat on the ball tonight was very good," Cole said. "I definitely made my fair share of mistakes in pitch selection and execution. They did a good job -- a handful of broken bats fell for hits, a lot of screamers either at guys or in the gap."
Foltynewicz allowed just one run through the first five innings, but exited after John Jaso's RBI single accounted for the Pirates' third consecutive hit to begin the sixth inning. Jason Motte entered and promptly retired three straight to strand runners at the corners and highlight the efforts of the recently stingy Braves bullpen, which hasn't allowed a run in its past 20 1/3 innings or a hit over its past 15 1/3 innings.
"[Motte] is the player of the game," Foltynewicz said after winning his third straight start. "It's a very tough situation to put anybody in, with no outs and runners at the corners. To come out like that, that was the whole game right there. It's awesome to see that. We've got one of the best bullpens in the game right now. So turning the ball over to any of them is no problem."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Sixth-inning save: After Josh Bell, Alen Hanson and Jaso chased Foltynewicz with three consecutive singles, the Braves called upon Motte, who hasn't allowed a run over his past 10 1/3 innings. The former Cardinals closer recorded consecutive strikeouts of Francisco Cervelli and Jordy Mercer before inducing a Jose Osuna groundout that ended what proved to be the Pirates' final threat.
"That's a big situation; you've got the tying run up," Motte said. "I was just coming in to try and leave it where it was. I came in trying to make my pitches, and I was able to do so and keep the ballgame where it was."
It starts with Ender: Proving yet again the value of his production in the leadoff spot, Inciarte matched his previous career-best hit total through his first four plate appearances, then secured his first five-hit game with an eighth-inning single. His third-inning RBI single accounted for Atlanta's first run, and his fifth-inning leadoff single helped extend that frame long enough for the recently acquired Adams to hit a two-run homer that traveled a projected 390 feet, per Statcast™.
"Inciarte just had a really good evening," Cole said. "He was able to spoil a bunch of pitches in the first and had good at-bats throughout the game."
"It feels good to do it in front of the family and the friends, even though it was raining. But they were still here to support me. For me to do it in a Braves uniform was a blessing, and I want to thank the Braves for the opportunity." -- Phillips, an Atlanta native, on his 200th homer
"Definitely was a fascinating inning, for sure. I don't remember having another inning like that in my life. ... Good pitches, bad pitches, foul balls, close pitches. Just one of those innings." --Cole, on his scoreless, 31-pitch first inning
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Phillips now stands as just one of 48 players in MLB history to tally 200 home runs and 200 stolen bases in a career. His third-inning solo shot traveled a projected 430 feet -- his second-longest distance in the Statcast™ Era.
WHAT'S NEXT Pirates: Right-hander Tyler Glasnow will start for the Pirates as they continue their four-game series against the Braves on Tuesday at 7:35 p.m. ET. Glasnow allowed four runs over five innings against the Nationals on Thursday but earned his second Major League win as the Bucs broke out for 10 runs. Pittsburgh has averaged 6.13 runs in Glasnow's eight starts this season.
Braves:R.A. Dickey will take the mound when Atlanta and Pittsburgh resume the series Tuesday night. The knuckleballer has allowed eight home runs at home in 30 1/3 innings pitched.