Mike Foltynewicz flirts with no-hitter in Atlanta Braves' win over Oakland A's

By Eric Gilmore, The Sports Xchange  |  July 1, 2017 at 3:13 AM
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OAKLAND, Calif. -- Atlanta Braves right-hander Mike Foltynewicz came within three outs of pitching the first no-hitter of his life -- at any level -- on Friday night at Oakland Coliseum.

But after giving up a leadoff homer to rookie Matt Olson in the bottom of the ninth inning, Foltynewicz still savored a 3-1 victory, not the mention the standing ovation he received from a large contingent of fans behind the Braves' dugout as he walked off the field.

"It was a very cool feeling," Foltynewicz said. "It's something I'll never forget."

Foltynewicz (6-5) struck out eight, walked four and threw a career-high 119 pitches in eight innings, giving up one run and one hit. He extended his winning streak to three games.

Entering the game, Foltynewicz hadn't pitched more than seven innings in an outing this season. He matched his career high of eight innings set May 14, 2016, in a 5-0 victory at Kauffman Stadium.

Olson hit a 3-2 fastball high and deep into the right field seats, ending Foltynewicz's no-hit bid and his night.

"He fouled off some good pitches," Foltynewicz said. "I threw some good pitches. At the end of the day, it's 3-2 and I got to come at you with the fastball and he's ready for it.

"The fourth time through the lineup it gets a little tougher. They start seeing you a little better. You just got to tip your hat to him. He put the bat on the ball and he put it out of the park."

Olson's homer was his fourth of the season.

"I was just trying to have a good at-bat, the way he was throwing against us," said Olson, a native of Atlanta. "Hitting a home run to break up the no-hitter was just the cherry on top. I was seeing him fairly well all night and just missing. He had a lot of life on his fastball."

Jed Lowrie greeted former A's reliever Jim Johnson with a double to left, but Johnson struck out the next three batters he faced for his 17th save of the season.

A's right-hander Sonny Gray (3-4) allowed one run and two hits in a season-high eight innings. He struck out four, walked one and threw 98 pitches.

"He's been consistent with his stuff," A's managers Bob Melvin said of Gray. "Finally got results tonight. We just didn't score any runs for him."

The Braves grabbed a 1-0 lead in the third on doubles by Johan Camargo and Dansby Swanson. They extended their lead to 3-0 in the ninth, scoring twice off reliever Sean Doolittle. Swanson worked a leadoff walk and Ender Inciarte bunted into a forceout, but he stole second and scored on Brandon Phillips' single to right.

Phillips took second on the throw home and scored from third on Matt Kemp's one-out single.

Foltynewicz retired the first 12 batters he faced in order before issuing a leadoff walk to Khris Davis in the fifth. He retired the next three A's hitters in order, including Rajai Davis on a line drive to left fielder Danny Santana, who made a nice play, going back on the ball.

"Off the bat I was like, 'That's a double, maybe even a triple,' and then he got there," Braves catcher Tyler Flowers said of Santana. "He covers a lot of darn ground out there."

Foltynewicz issued two walks in the sixth but also struck out two, and the A's didn't get a runner past second base.

Foltynewicz kept the A's off-balance with a mixture of mid-to-high 90s heat and sharp breaking balls.

"Been through a lot with that kid the past couple of years," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "This is really cool to watch him grow up. Just proud of him."

NOTES: A's RHP Paul Blackburn will be called up from Triple-A Nashville on Saturday and start against Atlanta in his major-league debut. Blackburn will start in place of RHP Jharel Cotton (right thumb blister). According to A's manager Bob Melvin, Cotton's start will be pushed back a couple days and he's not expected to go on the DL. ... Braves 1B Matt Adams was out of the lineup with a left foot contusion and remained day-to-day. Adams left Thursday's game against San Diego after fouling a ball off his left foot in the second inning. He was still limping before Friday's game. "He wasn't moving around too good," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. ... Braves C Tyler Flowers (left forearm contusion) returned to the starting lineup after missing one game. He left Wednesday's game against San Diego in the sixth inning after being hit by a pitch. ... A's 1B Yonder Alonso (right knee contusion) was out of the lineup for the second straight game but pinch hit in the eighth and struck out. He left Wednesday's game against Houston after fouling a ball off his knee in the eighth inning. ... A's rookie 3B Matt Chapman (left knee cellulitis) fielded ground balls and took batting practice for the first time since going on the disabled list June 19. He'll go through a pregame workout again Saturday, and if all goes well, he could go on a rehab assignment Sunday, Melvin said.

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