Brandon Beachy's return from the disabled list was more of what fans have seen in recent days from Atlanta Braves pitching. The 24-year-old righty struck out 11 in six innings after missing over a month as the Braves swept the Toronto Blue Jays.
Taking his cues from Tim Hudson Monday and Mike Minor on Tuesday, Beachy shut down one of the most potent offenses in the majors. After giving up a lead-off single and stolen base to Yunel Escobar, Beachy struck out the side in order.
He then struck out eight more batters over the next five innings, throwing only 96 total pitches in the process.
"He pitched ahead of the count," manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "When you get that many strikeouts and that little pitch count, you're ahead in the count."
Beachy gave up only four hits and two walks. The single run he gave up came on Jose Bautista's 22nd homer of the year.
The Braves, in turn, also scored all their runs via the longball, the first coming in the second inning by Dan Uggla hitting a two-run bomb off Jo-Jo Reyes, his 10th of the year and his first off left-handed pitching.
Brian McCann then matched Uggla with his 13th home run of the season, also a two-run shot. McCann has hit seven of his 13 home runs this month.
"I feel good," McCann said. "I'm swinging at balls in the zone. I'm working counts. When you do those things and you're seeing the ball well, you're going to be successful."
Brooks Conrad hit a pinch hit homer in the seventh – his third of the season – but it took a little confusion before he could cross the plate. Bautista attempted to leap and catch the ball, but it hit the top of the wall and then ricocheted off the stands and back onto the field. He was originally called out at third, but an umpire review resulted in Conrad being able to trot the remaining 90 feet home.
The 5-1 win gave Atlanta a winning record on their nine-game homestand, despite starting it 2-4.
Braves pitchers held Toronto to just two runs and a .138 average over the three-game series. The Blue Jays are still ranked fifth in the majors with 82 home runs, but have fallen to 17th in average.
Julio Lugo started in place of Alex Gonzalez to give him the benefit of two days off with the travel day Thursday. The 11-year veteran went 1-for-3.
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