There was an air of excitement surrounding Mike Foltynewicz's first career start as both a Brave and a Major Leaguer, and that excitement turned out to be warranted. Folty went five innings and while he only struck out two, he also managed to deliver 2 RBI to his team's cause, helping the Braves break a 3-game losing streak by beating the Reds 4-3.
In stark contrast to the past few games that started off well for the Braves but ended horrifically, this one started well for the opponents. Thanks to two singles, a double steal, and a walk, the Reds had the bases loaded in the very first frame of the contest. However, Folty only had one out left to get, so the light at the end of the tunnel was within reach. Unfortunately, Brandon Phillips managed to somehow get enough wood on a curveball to bloop it out into center field for a 2-run single. It was a foul start to Folty Friday.
After a few scoreless innings, the fourth inning was when things started to heat up again, and once again, it was the Reds who were on the attack. After a single from Brandon Phillips and a walk from Marlon Byrd, the Reds got a bit of a gift when both of those runners were able to move up a base thanks to a passed ball. This gave Reds pitcher Anthony DeSclafani the opportunity to score a run for the Nets by just hitting the ball deep enough in play. He did just that, and the Reds went up by three. Folty Friday was looking frail.
However, in the bottom half of the fourth inning, the Braves offense came alive. With nobody on and two outs, Andrelton Simmons swung on the first pitch he saw and put it into right field for a single. This moment of rashness from Simmons ended up sparking an unlikely rally, and after Eric Young Jr. got on base thanks to a walk, it was time for Mike Foltynewicz to try his best to keep the inning alive. Not only did Folty keep the inning alive, he electrified Turner Field by hitting a first-pitch gapper into center field. Simba and EY Jr. scored, and Folty collected his first career RBI in his first career start. Folty Friday was on fire.
After Folty kept the Reds from adding another run to the scoreboard in the top half of the fifth, the Braves kept the good times rolling in the bottom half of the inning. With Freddie Freeman on second base (after he was credited with a stolen base. You might want to look outside your window tonight to check and see if there's a blue moon out) and two outs, Kelly Johnson came up to bat. KJ proceeded to absolutely crush a 92-mph fastball into the night sky for a two-run homer that put the Braves ahead for the first time. Everybody was feeling fine on Folty Friday by this point.
Foltynewicz exited the game after the fifth inning, and relief duties were handed to Cody Martin. Martin successfully made it through 1.2 innings before handing the baton to Luis Avilan, who got Joey Votto to ground out to end the seventh inning. Jim Johnson pitched a clean eighth inning, and Jason Grilli eventually finalized Folty Friday by only allowing one baserunner on in the ninth before getting the 27th and final out of the game for the Braves.
So, the first Folty Friday ended up being fantastically fruitful for Mike Foltynewicz. Just look at all the firsts he picked up tonight:
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-partner="tweetdeck"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">A bunch of firsts for <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Braves?src=hash">#Braves</a> Mike Foltynewicz tonight: 1st start 1st win 1st hit 1st RBI(s) Nice job, <a href="https://twitter.com/Folty25">@Folty25</a>!</p>— Grant McAuley (@grantmcauley) <a href="https://twitter.com/grantmcauley/status/594323713371287553">May 2, 2015</a></blockquote>
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Additionally, Folty later told the media that this was his first hit since high school. We're certainly glad that it came in a Braves uniform, and we're even happier that it came in a victory for the Braves.
<iframe src="http://www.fangraphs.com/graphframe.aspx?config=0&static=1055857&type=livewins&num=0&h=450&w=450&date=2015-05-01&team=Braves&dh=0" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" height="450" width = "450" style="border:1px solid black;"></iframe><br /><span style="font-size:9pt;">Source: <a href="http://www.fangraphs.com/livewins.aspx?date=2015-05-01&team=Braves&dh=0&season=2015">FanGraphs</a></span>