ATLANTA — The Atlanta Braves have scored 27 runs in taking three straight Interleague games against the Toronto Blue Jays, but the latest victory may have been costly.
Freddie Freeman, who leads the National League with 14 homers, was forced to leave Atlanta’s 8-4 victory on Wednesday after being hit in the inside of the left wrist by a fastball from Blue Jays reliever Aaron Loup in the fifth inning.
The Braves announced after the game that X-rays of Freeman’s wrist were inconclusive and that the first baseman would have more tests on Thursday.
Kurt Suzuki hit a three-run homer to cap a six-run first inning for the Braves, but his thoughts were with Freeman afterward.
“That’s the No. 1 thing,” Suzuki said. “A win is a win. We’ll take it. But we’re kind of looking at the big picture. When your best player goes down, and he’s hit in kind of a freak spot, you’re just hoping for the best.”
The loss of Freeman for any length of time would be costly for the Braves, who have won five of six games to get their record to 16-21.
Freeman, who is batting .341, missed considerable time in 2015 dealing with a right wrist injury.
“When the best hitter in the game goes out, it really (stinks),” said Braves starter Mike Foltynewicz, who worked six innings for the victory.
Freeman was the seventh batter hit by the Blue Jays in the three games, and things got testy late in the game.
The Braves were upset about Freeman being hit, and the Blue Jays obviously weren’t happy about the way the interleague series was going.
“Guys are frustrated,” Toronto manager John Gibbons said. “Those guys have taken it to us the last couple days.”
Benches emptied in the seventh inning when words were exchanged after the Blue Jays’ Kevin Pillar thought he was quick-pitched by reliever Jason Motte.
Then players congregated near home plate again in the eighth inning when Jose Bautista, who had three hits, did a pronounced bat flip after hitting his sixth homer of the season, against reliever Eric O’Flaherty.
“Nobody ever seen that before?” Gibbons said of the bat flip.
O’Flaherty and the Braves didn’t appreciate it, though.
“That’s something making the game tough to watch. It’s turned into look-at-me stuff,” O’Flaherty said. “He hit a home run with (the Braves holding) a five-run lead and throws the bat around. I’m just tired of it. I’ve seen it from him enough.”
Foltynewicz (2-4) was the beneficiary of Braves’ early offense, winning his second straight start. He allowed six hits and three runs, most of the damage against him coming on a homer by Justin Smoak.
Blue Jays right-hander Joe Biagini (1-2) had thrown five scoreless innings last Friday in Toronto during a victory over the Seattle Mariners, but the Braves were up 6-0 before the converted reliever got an out in his third career start.
“I felt good the first three pitches, and then it went downhill from there,” Biagini said. “What I’ve noticed (as a starter) is that my fastball has been a little bit up early. Maybe I need to make an adjustment in my pregame preparation.”
Biagini hurt himself by committing a throwing error on a possible double play in the first inning. He soon walked in a run, gave up a two-run hit to Nick Markakis and then grooved a 0-1 fastball to Suzuki, who blasted his second homer of the season into the seats in left-center for a three-run shot.
Biagini retired the final 12 batters he faced in his four-inning outing. He wound up charged with six runs (five earned) on three hits and two walks with three strikeouts.
Smoak hit a two-run homer in the fourth inning, turning around a 1-2 fastball that registered 99 mph for his ninth of the season, and Foltynewicz allowed a fifth-inning run to score on a wild pitch.
The Braves scored two runs in the sixth, one unearned, to pad the lead before Bautista connected on a 2-2 pitch from O’Flaherty and tempers flared.
“I’m surprised he’s ready to fight after last year,” said O’Flaherty, alluding to the punch Bautista took to the chin from Rougned Odor of the Texas Rangers.
The Braves posted their 16th victory in the past 22 games against the Blue Jays dating back to 2009.
NOTES: The Braves recalled rookie INF Johan Camargo from Triple-A Gwinnett after placing 3B Adonis Garcia (left Achilles tendinitis) on the 10-day disabled list. … Blue Jays SS Troy Tulowitzki (strained right hamstring) won’t come off the DL any earlier than this weekend in Baltimore. Tulowitzki, who was hurt April 21, will play his third minor league rehab game Thursday. … Wednesday was the first anniversary of Brian Snitker taking over as Braves manager after Fredi Gonzalez was fired. … The four-game, home-and-home interleague series concludes Thursday night, with Braves RHP Julio Teheran (3-3, 4.08 ERA) trying to end a personal three-game home losing streak against Blue Jays RHP Marcus Stroman (3-2, 3.38 ERA).