NLDS Game 2: Braves even series behind Mike Foltynewicz's brilliant outing

Mark Townsend
Yahoo Sports Contributor

The Atlanta Braves got back on track in Game 2 of the National League Division Series.

Behind a strong pitching effort from Mike Foltynewicz, timely hitting from Josh Donaldson and a pinch-hit blast from Adam Duvall, the Braves were able to even the series with a 3-0 win against the St. Louis Cardinals.

The game had an old school postseason feel as Foltynewicz and Cardinals ace Jack Flaherty matched zeroes for most of the afternoon. The Braves scratched out a first-inning run when Ozzie Albies singled and was wild pitched into scoring position. Donaldson was able to cash him in with a two-out single.

That stood as the game’s lone run until pinch hitter Adam Duvall smacked a two-out home run against Flaherty in the seventh inning.

Foltynewicz was nothing short of brilliant. The 27-year-old right-hander shut St. Louis out over his seven innings, allowing just three hits while striking out seven. On the rare occasion he did face trouble, Foltynewicz made a big pitch to escape. That included inducing an inning-ending double play from Kolten Wong in the seventh.

Flaherty carried his strong regular season into the postseason by tossing six innings of one-run ball. His effort kept St. Louis in the game, but unlike Game 1, the Cardinals offense was unable to capitalize.

Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Mike Foltynewicz (26) works in the first inning during Game 2 of a best-of-five National League Division Series against the St. Louis Cardinals, Friday, Oct. 4, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

WHO MADE THE DIFFERENCE

• Mike Foltynewicz: "Folty" picked a great day to pitch the game of his life. He became the first Braves starting pitcher to complete five innings in a postseason start since Freddy Garcia in Game 4 of the 2013 NLDS. In the five games in between, Atlanta’s starters totaled just 18 innings.

• Adam Duvall: The veteran outfielder has been up and down between Atlanta and Triple A over the last two seasons. But Duvall was ready to deliver when Brian Snitker called his number in a pinch. His 3-2, two-out home run cemented the victory for Atlanta.

• Jack Flaherty: The breakout season continues. Flaherty posted an MLB-best 0.91 ERA in 15 starts after the All-Star break, and looked every bit as good in his postseason debut. He made one big mistake in the seventh inning and it cost him. Otherwise, he deserves a big tip of the cap.

MUST-SEE MOMENT

The postseason spotlight shined on Adam Duvall, and he delivered.

WHAT THEY'LL BE TALKING ABOUT

Based on their 2019 results, it was fair to wonder if Braves manager Brian Snitker made the right decision starting Mike Foltynewicz over ace Mike Soroka in what was nearly a must-win. There's no questioning it now. Foltynewicz, who was demoted to Triple-A during the season, provided an ace-like performance himself. The outing helped Atlanta win a game where St. Louis could have taken command of the series.

WHAT'S NEXT

The series continues Sunday in St. Louis with a pivotal Game 3. The Cardinals will look to maintain home-field advantage with veteran Adam Wainwright (14-10, 4.19) on the hill. The Braves will counter with their ace, Mike Soroka (13-4, 2.68). First pitch is scheduled for 4:10 p.m. ET.

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