After splitting two games north of the border, the Atlanta Braves and Toronto Blue Jays are set to play two more at Turner Field.
While Atlanta struggled in Monday's 9-3 loss at Toronto (22-30), manager Fredi Gonzalez's club bounced back Tuesday with a 7-6, 10-inning win - its ninth victory in 11 games. After Gattis and McCann hit back-to-back homers in the sixth inning, McCann went deep again in extras to put the Braves ahead for good.
Freddie Freeman also came up big with three hits and an RBI.
"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."
With the game being played in an AL ballpark, Gonzalez played McCann - the club's primary backstop - at DH, while Gattis started at catcher. Though Gattis only has 20 plate appearances over the team's last 11 games, he's hit five homers and driven in 12 runs over that stretch.
"We've got a good American League lineup, we've got a lot of power guys," said Gattis, who leads the team with 32 RBIs.
The Braves (31-20) will try to keep things going behind Kris Medlen (1-5, 3.16 ERA). The right-hander's winless stretch reached eight starts after he allowed three runs over six innings Friday in a 7-5, 10-inning road win over the New York Mets - a result that wasn't decided until the following day.
Medlen's average run support of 2.59 per nine innings ranks as one of the lowest in baseball. The Braves have backed him with just three runs over four home starts, during which he's gone 0-2 despite a superb 2.08 ERA.
Since giving up a career-high five runs over three-plus innings in his big league debut May 21, 2009, Medlen has allowed three earned runs or fewer in each of his 17 regular-season home starts dating to 2010 - including one or none in 10 of his last 14.
Medlen will need to be careful against sluggers Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista . Encarnacion is batting .345 with four homers and 19 RBIs over his last 14 games, and Bautista is 17 for his last 33 with three long balls.
Medlen has never faced Toronto, which gives the ball to Esmil Rogers (1-2, 4.56) for his first start since 2011. Coming off a pair of three-inning efforts, Rogers has thrown 7 1-3 scoreless frames over his last four appearances.
"I wasn't looking for the opportunity, but they gave it to me. I'll take it, and I'll try to do my best," he told MLB's official website. "As a reliever, I just used three pitches, but as a starter, I'll have to use my changeup. ... My confidence is there, so we'll see how it goes in the game."
The right-hander is 6-8 with a 6.24 ERA over 22 career starts. He's allowed 12 runs over two appearances - one start - spanning three innings versus Atlanta.
Justin Upton is 5 for 9 with a homer against Rogers. Brother B.J. has also taken him deep, going 1 for 2.
The Blue Jays have gone 22 for 109 (.202) with runners in scoring position while dropping 12 of 17 on the road. They've lost eight of nine in Atlanta.
Toronto third baseman Brett Lawrie is uncertain to be available after sitting out Tuesday with a sprained left ankle. Lawrie, hitting .209, is listed as day to day.
|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|
|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|
ATLANTA (AP) -- The Toronto Blue Jays came up with a winning formula to address their pitching woes.
First, start a reliever. Then, bring in two guys just called up from the minors.
The result was a four-hitter against the Atlanta Braves , who looked downright feeble in a 3-0 loss to the last-place Blue Jays on Wednesday night.
Four pitchers combined on Toronto's second shutout of the season, with Casey Janssen working a 1-2-3 ninth to finish it off.
But the most important work was turned in by the three pitchers who came before the closer.
Esmil Rogers lasted 3 1-3 innings in his first start since 2011. He was followed to the mound by two pitchers called up from Triple-A Buffalo before the game: Juan Perez (1-0), who went 2 2-3 hitless innings with four strikeouts for the win, and Neil Wagner , who got through the seventh and eighth allowing just one hit.
"You tip your hat to those guys," manager John Gibbons said. "They all stepped up, did a great job. Going in, you really don't know what you're going to get out of Rogers, how many innings. And then Perez comes in, shuts them down, then Wagner, against a really good-hitting team."
Janssen got the final three outs for his 11th save.
"It felt good," Wagner said. "I was excited to get the opportunity and hoping to justify their confidence in throwing me out there in a pretty close game late."
Melky Cabrera had three hits, scored Toronto's first run and drove in the other two with a second-inning single.
Atlanta starter Kris Medlen (1-6) failed to last even as long as Rogers.
Medlen took a liner off the left leg in the second and didn't return the next inning because of a contusion to his upper calf. He is expected to make his next start, though his leg was heavily wrapped after the game.
"I've been hit by a lot of balls in my life. That's one of the harder ones I've felt," Medlen said. "I knew right away (that he'd have to leave the game), but I at least wanted get through the inning."
Cabrera led off the game with a single and wound up scoring Toronto's first run on a fielder's choice grounder by J.P. Arencibia. With one out in the second, Emilio Bonifacio lined one off the back of Medlen's leg, reaching on the infield single. The Braves trainer came out, and Medlen walked gingerly around the mound before deciding to stay in the game.
That might've been a mistake. Munenori Kawasaki walked, Rogers bunted the runners over and Cabrera singled to left to drive in two more runs. Medlen finished the frame but was done for the night, having allowed four hits, a walk and all three Toronto runs in the shortest start of his career.
Rogers had pitched 22 games in relief for the Blue Jays this season. He gave them as much as they could've hoped for as a starter, surrendering three hits and two walks before Gibbons lifted the right-hander in the fourth with two runners aboard.
Perez escaped the jam by retiring Juan Francisco on a popup, then striking out B.J. Upton, who has grown so frustrated during a season-long slump that he slung his bat into the dirt and slammed down his helmet with both hands, bouncing it high in the air.
"I've got to try to flush this as fast as possible," Upton said, his voice barely above a whisper after his average dropped to .146. "I don't know what to say. I'm at a loss for words."
Upton had plenty of company in misery. Younger brother Justin fanned three times and the Braves finished with 11 strikeouts on the night, the 24th time in 52 games they've reached double figures in that category. Appropriately, Brian McCann whiffed to end the game.
The Blue Jays made a flurry of moves to deal with their injury-plagued pitching. The 34-year-old Perez wound up getting the win, just his second in the big leagues. The first came on July 8, 2011, with Philadelphia.
"They weren't even through the lineup one time, and all of sudden they're bringing in another guy," said Freddie Freeman , who had two of Atlanta's hits. "It's tough when you don't get to see guys a few times."
After Medlen departed, four Atlanta relievers shut down Toronto the rest of the way. But it didn't matter on an otherwise grim night for the home team, which made two errors and squandered a sure double play when Andrelton Simmons dropped a line drive, though he was able to throw out the hitter at first.
Notes: Rogers' most recent start came with the Colorado Rockies in 2011. ... The Blue Jays left 10 runners on base. ... B.J. Upton is one of three Atlanta regulars hitting below .200, joined by OF Jason Heyward (.152) and 2B Dan Uggla (.186). ... The Braves activated RHP Jordan Walden off the disabled list before the game and optioned RHP Cory Rasmus to Triple-A Gwinnett. ... Wagner made his first big league appearance since working six games for Oakland in 2011. ... The Braves are going with 11 pitchers but manager Fredi Gonzalez said they may have to consider going back to 12 after Medlen's short outing.
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