Published May 03, 2016
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Atlanta Braves are back at Turner Field for the next six games, starting with Tuesday's opener of a brief two-game set with the Tampa Bay Rays.
The Braves closed a nine-game road trip with a three-game sweep of the Miami Marlins and went 4-5 on the 10-day trek. They pulled off the trifecta with Sunday's 6-0 pounding of the Marlins behind a stellar pitching performance from Shelby Miller.
Miller came within one out of throwing a no-hitter, as Justin Bour broke up the hitless gem with a two-out single up the middle in the bottom of the ninth inning. Miller ended up allowing two hits, walked one batter and struck out four to push his record to 5-1.
"Obviously things didn't finish the way we wanted, but we got a sweep," Miller said. "And at the end of the day, I had a lot of fun. That's all that matters."
Jace Peterson finished 2-for-4 with two RBI and a run scored, while Freddie Freeman, A.J. Pierzynski, Pedro Ciriaco and Cameron Maybin all drove in a run for the Braves, who have won four of their last six games.
The Braves will host the Milwaukee Brewers for four games on this modest homestand and hope Mike Foltynewicz can get the stay going smoothly when he takes the mound Tuesday. Foltynewicz is 2-0 with a 4.24 earned run average in three starts and did not record a decision in last Tuesday's 4-3 loss at Cincinnati.
Foltynewicz allowed three runs, two of which were earned, and six hits across 6 2/3 innings with seven strikeouts and a season-high four walks. He has struck out seven batters in back-to-back outings and has won both of his starts at Turner Field. The right-hander is facing the Rays for the first time.
While the Braves sit four games off the National League East lead, the Rays are only one game behind the New York Yankees in the AL East race.
Tampa Bay has won four of six and six of its last 10 games, including Sunday's 11-3 pounding of the Minnesota Twins in the finale of a three-game series at Target Field. The win salvaged the set for the Rays, as Chris Archer threw six innings of one-run ball to even his record at 4-4.
Archer struck out four batters, walked one and scattered four hits for the Rays, who piled it on with a five-run sixth inning and used a 19-6 advantage in hits to keep pace in the division.
James Loney had four hits and three RBI, Evan Longoria knocked in three runs and both Kevin Kiermaier and Logan Forsythe finished with two hits and a pair of runs scored.
"To kind of come out today and pour it on was nice," Rays manager Kevin Cash said.
Cash will reshuffle his rotation Tuesday with Erasmo Ramirez on the hill Tuesday and Jake Odorizzi going Wednesday. Ramirez is 1-1 with a 6.66 earned run average in 10 games (3 starts) and picked up his first win of the season in Thursday's much-needed 6-1 victory over the Yankees.
Ramirez fired five scoreless innings, allowed one hit and fanned four batters with two walks. The right-hander and first-year Ray struggled in his only career start against the Braves, charged with five runs in only three innings.
Atlanta is 17-7 all-time against Tampa Bay and will visit Tropicana Field for two games in mid-August.