While there's something about playing in AL parks that brings out the worst in the Atlanta Braves , the Toronto Blue Jays have shined lately facing NL opponents.
The Braves hope to avoid a seventh consecutive interleague road loss Tuesday night when they visit a disappointing Blue Jays team looking to extend its home win streak versus NL clubs.
Edwin Encarnacion , Colby Rasmus and J.P. Arencibia hit home runs to help the Blue Jays (22-29) improve to 5-3 on their nine-game homestand with a 9-3 victory over NL East-leading Atlanta (30-20) on Monday.
Toronto has outscored its opponents 30-12 while winning all three interleague games this season to raise its home win streak to six against NL foes dating back to last season.
In contrast, Atlanta has been outscored 34-10 in four road losses versus AL opponents this season and has a six-game slide in interleague road games overall."Obviously, the results stink for me right now and for our club," said Monday's loser Tim Hudson , who extended his winless streak to four starts. "I feel confident that things are going to be a lot better, hopefully really soon."
The Braves will try to turn things around with Paul Maholm (6-4, 3.38 ERA) taking the ball in the finale at Rogers Centre before the series shifts for two games at Turner Field.
Maholm has won three of his last four starts, including the last two in which he's allowed two earned runs in 13 1-3 innings.
The left-hander is coming off his best start in more than a month, giving up only an unearned run over 7 1-3 innings in an 8-3 victory over Minnesota on Wednesday.
Though he hasn't faced them since 2011, Maholm is 1-1 with a 3.21 ERA in two career starts versus the Blue Jays.
He'll have to find a way to cool off Encarnacion, who is hitting .358 with four homers and 18 RBIs over his last 13 games. The first baseman is also batting .361 (13 for 36) with three doubles and a triple versus Maholm.
Teammate Jose Bautista has gone 15 for 29 with two homers and five RBIs in the past seven games.
Scheduled Toronto starter Brandon Morrow (2-3, 5.50) hasn't exactly been sharp, but the Blue Jays have won four of his last five starts while averaging 8.62 runs of support during that stretch.
The right-hander has allowed 11 runs and 17 hits - five homers - over 12 innings in his last two starts, getting tagged for six runs and a season-high 10 hits in seven-plus innings in a 12-6 win over Baltimore on Thursday.
Morrow left that outing after giving up back-to-back homers in the eighth inning."It's frustrating for me to go out give up the two home runs without getting an out there in the eighth," said Morrow, who has never faced the Braves. "It put a sour taste in my mouth."
B.J. Upton may be back in the lineup after sitting out Monday, though he's hitting .148 on the season and is 4 for 24 with 12 strikeouts lifetime against Morrow.
Catcher Evan Gattis went 3 for 4 with his 11th homer Monday and is 7 for 14 with four home runs over his last seven games.
Toronto's Brett Lawrie , who is 7 for 17 over his last five games, is day-to-day after spraining his left ankle sliding into second on a stolen base in the opener.
|May 18, 2013||Eric O'Flaherty||15-Day DL||Left elbow surgery - out for season|
|May 13, 2013||B.J. Upton||Day-to-Day||Left game - Left shoulder contusion|
|May 12, 2013||Jordan Walden||15-Day DL||Right shoulder inflammation|
|May 05, 2013||Juan Francisco||Day-to-Day||Sprained right ankle|
|April 25, 2013||Luis Ayala||15-Day DL||Anxiety disorder|
|April 21, 2013||Jason Heyward||15-Day DL||Appendectomy|
|Toronto Blue Jays|
|May 28, 2013||Brett Lawrie||Day-to-Day||Ankle sprain|
|May 19, 2013||Darren Oliver||15-Day DL||Left shoulder strain|
|May 11, 2013||Rajai Davis||15-Day DL||Strained oblique|
|May 10, 2013||Rajai Davis||Day-to-Day||Left game - strained oblique|
|May 08, 2013||J.A. Happ||60-Day DL||Head contusion|
|April 29, 2013||Josh Johnson||15-Day DL||Right triceps inflammation|
TORONTO (AP) -- For Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez, there's a lot to like about filling out the lineup card in American League ballparks.
Brian McCann hit two home runs, including a solo shot in the 10th inning that lifted the Braves over the Toronto Blue Jays 7-6 on Tuesday.
Freddie Freeman had three hits in the cleanup spot, rookie catcher Evan Gattis homered in the fifth spot and McCann, who started at designated hitter, went deep twice batting in the sixth spot.
"That's a pretty big three right there," Gonzalez said. "Too bad we're not in the American League. We've got to go back and play National League. But it's nice to have those three guys in the lineup all at one time."
McCann and Gattis hit back-to-back homers off Ramon Ortiz in the sixth, giving the Braves a 6-5 lead. It was the fifth time this season Atlanta has hit consecutive home runs.
"It's the way we're built," McCann said. "We hit a lot of home runs and we're going to strike out. But you put up seven runs, there's nothing bad about that at all."
Gonzalez has struggled to get regular at bats for Gattis, who's tied for third in the NL home run standings.
"We've got a good American League lineup, we've got a lot of power guys," Gattis said.
McCann connected for a leadoff drive in the 10th against Thad Weber (0-1), his sixth home run. It was McCann's first multihomer game of the season and the ninth of his career. He and Gattis have given the Braves an unexpected pair of sluggers behind the plate.
"It's a special thing we've got going," said reliever Cory Gearrin .
Braves starter Paul Maholm agreed.
"Gatt's making a name for himself," Maholm said. "He's done some damage. It's fun to watch."
Jordan Schafer also homered for the Braves.
Gearrin (2-1) pitched one inning for the win and Craig Kimbrel celebrated his 25th birthday by finishing for his 16th save in 19 chances.
Toronto closer Casey Janssen , who had shoulder surgery last November, was unavailable. Janssen, who last pitched May 22 against Tampa Bay, said his shoulder was "a little tender."
Blue Jays starter Brandon Morrow left after two innings with soreness in his forearm. He did not pitch between May 5 and May 18 because of neck and back soreness and of his 47 pitches against the Braves, only three were above 90 mph.
"We don't think it's much of an issue and the doctors don't think it's much of an issue," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "We took him out as a precaution."
Morrow said he first felt sore in his last start, May 23 against Baltimore, but hoped it wouldn't bother him against the Braves.
Atlanta scored three times in the first, taking advantage of some sloppy defensive play by the Blue Jays. Freeman opened the scoring with an RBI single and a second run scored on Jose Bautista 's throwing error from right field. One out later, Freeman scored on a throwing error by first baseman Edwin Encarnacion .
Toronto answered with four in the bottom half against Maholm. Encarnacion hit an RBI double, Mark DeRosa 's double scored two runs and Colby Rasmus singled home a run.
"The first inning wasn't too great on either side," McCann said.
Atlanta tied it again in the second on a two-out homer by Schafer.
Bautista made it 5-4 in the fourth by hitting a 62 mph slow curve from Maholm over the left-field bullpen for his 12th home run.
"Tip your cap, he stayed back on it well," Gattis said. "He didn't miss it."
Maholm allowed five runs and matched a season-high with 10 hits in six innings.
Gattis led off the sixth with his 12th homer and second in two days, tying it at 5. McCann followed with a drive to right to put the Braves ahead.
Toronto tied it again against Anthony Varvaro in the seventh. Bautista led off with a double and scored on a one-out double by J.P. Arencibia. Luis Avilan came on after DeRosa walked, and Arencibia was doubled off second on Rasmus' flare to shortstop, ending the threat.
Atlanta used a walk, a single and a wild pitch to put runners at second and third for Gattis in the ninth, but he struck out against Steve Delabar .
NOTES: Following the game, Toronto optioned Weber to Triple-A Buffalo and designated Ortiz for assignment. The Blue Jays will make corresponding moves to add two pitchers on Wednesday.... Blue Jays 3B Brett Lawrie , who left Monday's game with a sprained left ankle, was held out of the lineup, with DeRosa starting. Gibbons said Lawrie's ankle was still stiff and swollen. Lawrie is day to day. ... Braves OFs B.J. Upton and Justin Upton were both held out of the starting lineup. ...The Braves and Blue Jays begin a two-game series in Atlanta on Wednesday night. Toronto's Esmil Rogers (1-2) faces Kris Medlen (1-5) in the opener.