Swanson, Freeman go deep to lift Braves over Blue Jays 9-5

May 17, 2017
Atlanta Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson is congratulated in the dugout after hitting a solo home run against the Toronto Blue Jays during seventh inning interleague baseball action in Toronto, Tuesday, May 16, 2017. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP)

TORONTO (AP) — Braves manager Brian Snitker calls first baseman Freddie Freeman “a boring professional.”

Snitker’s only half right. These days, there’s plenty of excitement whenever Freeman swings the bat.

Dansby Swanson hit a tiebreaking homer in the seventh inning, Freeman added a two-run shot and the Atlanta Braves beat the Toronto Blue Jays 9-5 on Wednesday, sweeping their two-game series.

Swanson snapped a 5-all tie with a leadoff drive to center off Danny Barnes (0-1).

“I felt like I hit it so well that you kind of don’t even feel it,” Swanson said. “You just catch it right on the sweet spot.”

Freeman hit his NL-leading 14th home run, matching Yankees slugger Aaron Judge for most in the majors. It was Freeman’s second homer in two games.

Freeman, who has four home runs in seven games at Rogers Centre, has said playing for Canada in the World Baseball Classic helped him get off to a strong start this season.

“I’ve felt locked in since March,” Freeman said. “I guess I’ve got to go play winter ball (next year).”

Swanson said the ultra-consistent Freeman is “a joy to watch.”

“It’s truly remarkable what he’s able to do,” Swanson said. “He doesn’t change anything ever. He’s so good at staying within himself, understanding what he does best and going up there and doing that. He does it day in and day out.”

Matt Kemp had two hits and four RBIs for the Braves, who have won four of five after losing eight of their previous nine.

“We’ve been swinging the bats well and the pitching is coming around,” Freeman said. “We’re all starting to play together.”

Kevin Pillar homered and had two hits for Toronto. Pillar’s sixth homer, a solo shot off Jamie Garcia, was his ML-leading 51st hit.

The Blue Jays have lost two straight following a season-high five game winning streak.

“We just couldn’t stop their offense,” manager John Gibbons said.

Jose Ramirez (2-1) pitched 1 2/3 innings for the win.

Kemp hit a two-run single in the first and the Braves took a 3-0 lead on Jace Peterson’s RBI single in the fourth.

Garcia held Toronto hitless until Pillar doubled to begin the fourth. Justin Smoak drew a two-out walk and both runners scored on a double by Devon Travis.

Freeman made it 5-2 by connecting off Marco Estrada in the fifth, but Pillar replied with his homer in the bottom half.

Toronto chased Garcia and tied it in the sixth. Ramirez came on after Smoak’s one-out walk and gave up a double to Travis, an RBI single to Darwin Barney and an RBI groundout by Ezequiel Carrera.

The Blue Jays put runners at first and second with none out against Arodys Vizcaino in the eighth but couldn’t score. Travis struck out after failing to get a bunt down and Barney lined into a double play with pinch-runner Darrell Ceciliani doubled off second.


The Blue Jays are 1-6 in interleague play.


Swanson went 2 for 4 to finish the road trip at 9 for 23 (.391). He has at least one hit in eight straight games, and has reached safely in 18 of 19.


Travis has 12 doubles this month, a new Blue Jays record for doubles in a month by a second baseman. Aaron Hill had 11 in September, 2009.


Braves: OF Emilio Bonifacio was sent home Monday suffering from the same illness that bothered RHP Bartolo Colon. Bonifacio did not participate in batting practice Tuesday, but was expected to report to the stadium later in the game.

Blue Jays: Toronto recalled Ceciliani from Triple-A Buffalo and optioned RHP Leonel Campos to Triple-A. ... SS Troy Tulowitzki (right hamstring) went 0 for 2 with a walk in a rehab game at Class A Dunedin. He’s expected to come off the DL on Thursday. ... LHP Francisco Liriano (shoulder) played catch Monday and is expected to try throwing off the mound later this week. ... LF Steve Pearce (right calf) will head to Florida on Wednesday to continue his rehab at Toronto’s spring training facility.


Braves: RHP Mike Foltynewicz (1-4, 4.04) is coming off his first win in six starts this season, giving up one run in six innings against Miami on May 12.

Blue Jays: RHP Joe Biagini (1-1, 2.28) will make his third start since joining the rotation. Biagini pitched five shutout innings to beat Seattle for his first win of the season on May 12.


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