MLB: Braves seek offense in rematch with Blue Jays
Offense was hard to come by in the Friday series opener between the Atlanta Braves and Toronto Blue Jays.
Especially so for the Braves, who will aim to rebound from a 3-0 loss when they face the Blue Jays on Saturday in the middle contest of the three-game set.
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Toronto right-hander Chris Bassitt tossed a shutout — the second of his career — while handcuffing Atlanta batters. The complete-game shutout was the first by a Blue Jays starter since Mark Buehrle tossed one against the Washington Nationals in 2015.
Eddie Rosario and Ronald Acuna Jr. had the only Atlanta hits.
“He was just on, man,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said of Bassitt. “We didn’t barrel up too many balls, that’s for sure.”
Toronto outfielder George Springer was impressed with the way Bassitt silenced the Atlanta bats.
“That’s an incredible lineup over there, and it felt like he was in complete control with everything he threw,” Springer said. “He knows how to pitch, and he never gives in. He just has a way about him, and he’s an extremely confident guy.”
The Braves have lost two straight games after winning 11 of their previous 14. The series-opening setback dropped their major-league-leading road mark to 15-4.
The Saturday contest is the second of a 10-game homestand for the Blue Jays, who are happy to be spending extended time at home. They are 10-3 at the Rogers Centre, having played the fewest home games in the majors.
“Other teams are saying that it’s going to be a tough series when they come in here, too,” Toronto manager John Schneider said. “It’s about understanding that and getting back to what we’re good at, which is having good at-bats, getting good starting pitching and making good defensive plays.”
Springer singled to drive in Toronto’s first run, and Daulton Varsho slugged a homer for the final one.
The Blue Jays had just six hits as they were often overpowered by rising Braves star Spencer Strider, who struck out 12 in 6 2/3 innings.
Right-hander Jose Berrios (3-3, 4.91 ERA) will start for Toronto on Saturday while seeking his third win over his past four starts.
Berrios beat the Pittsburgh Pirates on May 6 when he gave up two runs and five hits over 6 1/3 innings. He struck out seven and walked one.
Berrios’ best outing of the season came in a 7-0 victory over the Chicago White Sox on April 25. He yielded four hits and one walk while striking out a season-high nine in seven innings.
His lone career start against the Braves came when he was a member of the Minnesota Twins, and it was a disaster. Berrios allowed nine runs and nine hits — including two homers — in 5 2/3 innings of a 12-7 loss on Aug. 6, 2019.
Matt Olson is 6-for-19 (.316) with a homer against Berrios, and Acuna (3-for-3) went deep against him in the 2019 contest.
Atlanta will send right-hander Bryce Elder (3-0, 1.74 ERA) to the mound on Saturday.
Elder, who turns 24 on Friday, hasn’t allowed an earned run in four of his seven starts. He received a no-decision against the Baltimore Orioles on Sunday when he gave up one run and four hits over 5 1/3 innings.
–Field Level Media
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