Mike Foltynewicz made it into the eighth inning of today's game against the Brewers, and although he wasn't able to make it a full eight innings, he exited the game with a one-run lead. The Braves kept that slender lead to win 2-1 and take the four-game series against Milwaukee.
The first five-and-a-half innings of this game were all about pitching, as Jimmy Nelson and Mike Foltynewicz both traded scoreless frames. Braves radio commentator Jim Powell referred to the exchange of scoreless innings as "nothing but bagels." I prefer donuts, but that's neither here or there. The point is that for the first half of this game, there wasn't much hitting going on, but it wasn't just futile swinging on the Brewers part. Folty was outstanding today, and he only gave up two hits during this scoreless period of the game.
By the bottom of the sixth inning, the deadlock was finally broken. Obviously, the Braves were having a tough time figuring out Brewers pitcher Jimmy Nelson, but they finally solved the puzzle in this frame. Cameron Maybin led off the fifth with a single, and made it to second base shortly afterwards when a pickoff throw by Nelson went awry. Freddie Freeman and Nick Markakis both walked to load the bases, and eventually the onus fell on A.J. Pierzynski to bring home a run or two. Pierzynski managed to hit a tricky liner to second, which Gomez got a glove on. Unfortunately for Milwaukee, he only managed to knock it down instead of getting a solid grab on it. That meant that Maybin was able to score, making it 1-0. The next batter was Andrelton Simmons, and instead of making things complicated, he just lined one into left field for a base hit to make it 2-0, and the scoring ended there.
The Brewers responded in the seventh inning, though, and it started off with Carlos Gomez taking one of the more painful HBPs that you'll see. Although there's no video of it, I'll just say that I'm impressed that Gomez stayed in the game. After a one-out single from Khris Davis, Elian Herrera hit a sacrifice fly to make it 2-1. Fortunately, Folty was able to mitigate the damage and escaped the inning with only one run allowed.
Folty's final stand came in the eighth inning, and after he got the first two Brewers out, he gave up a single to Luis Sardinas. Sardinas would be the final batter Folty faced, and he exited afterwards to a standing ovation. Even better, Luis Avilan came on and struck out Gerardo Parra to make sure that the lead stood.
Jason Grilli entered in the bottom of the ninth and locked down his 13th save of the season by striking out the side. The win gave the Braves an always-lovely series win in a four-game series, and it also put the Braves above .500 heading into Memorial Day. It's definitely pleasant to see that the Braves have played okay baseball through the first third of the season, and it's always nice to see Foltynewicz pitch the way he did today. These 2-1 games are the type of games we figured that the Braves were going to have to manage to win in order to avoid being horrible in 2015, and they did just that today.
<iframe src="http://www.fangraphs.com/graphframe.aspx?config=0&static=1069756&type=livewins&num=0&h=450&w=450&date=2015-05-24&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=2015-05-24&team=Braves&dh=0&season=2015">FanGraphs</a></span>