The visiting Atlanta Braves will be out to complete a nine-game road trip undefeated Sunday afternoon when they play the finale of a three-game series with the struggling Baltimore Orioles.
The Braves improved to 8-0 for the trip Saturday night with a 5-4 victory that gave the Orioles their 17th straight loss. It was the first time in their losing streak that the Orioles had not lost by two or more runs.
“It’s never easy to lose,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said. “It’s always tough to lose. I think we’ve played pretty good baseball the last two nights. I’m encouraged by that. I don’t think we played well for a while.”
The Braves have won 15 of their past 17 games and are on a franchise-best 12-game road winning streak.
Atlanta will start right-hander Touki Toussaint (2-2, 4.01 ERA) Sunday against Baltimore left-hander John Means (5-5, 3.44).
Means will be making his first start against Atlanta. Toussaint lost his only career start against Baltimore last Sept. 14, when he allowed eight runs (five earned) on seven hits in 2 2/3 innings of a 14-1 loss.
Atlanta placed catcher Travis d’Arnaud on the paternity leave list before Saturday’s game and recalled catcher William Contreras from Triple-A Gwinnett.
The day before, d’Arnaud signed a two-year, $16 million contract and hit a two-run homer.
“It was a blessing to get reached out to and given the opportunity to come back,” d’Arnaud said. “This team is built to win for the next couple of years — even longer than that, actually — and I’m just thankful to be a part of it. I wanted to come back, regardless of if I made it to free agency or not. Just to get that out of the way is nice and refreshing. It’s going to be fun.”
“He had a lot going on (Friday), I know, in his mind,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said Saturday. “It was a pretty good day for him with the extension, the homer. At some point here. … he adds a new member to his family.”
Contreras was available off the bench for the game on Saturday. Stephen Vogt played the game at catcher and was 1-for-4 with a run scored. Contreras is scheduled to catch Sunday, Snitker said.
Snitker had said Friday that he probably would use d’Arnaud as the designated hitter on Saturday. Instead, Jorge Soler was the DH and was 1-for-3 with a walk and a sacrifice fly.
d’Arnaud is 7-for-24 (.294) with two home runs in six games since returning from the injured list (torn thumb ligament) last week.
Contreras hit .313 with eight home runs and a .951 on-base plus slugging percentage in 32 games at Gwinnett. Earlier this season, he hit .204 with seven homers and a .666 OPS in 44 games with the Braves.
Before Saturday’s game, Hyde said that right-hander Jorge Lopez (3-14, 6.35) will move to the bullpen. His next scheduled start was to have been Wednesday against the Los Angeles Angels. His replacement has not been determined.
“I just think he needs to try something different a little bit, and we’re not closing the door on him from being in the rotation, but I’d like to take a look to see what it looks like coming out of the bullpen,” Hyde said. “He’s going through a lot, and this might take a little bit of pressure off of him, putting him in the bullpen here for a little while.”
–Field Level Media