BALTIMORE — DJ Stewart hit the first of three Baltimore homers in a nine-run third inning, and the Orioles pounded the Atlanta Braves 14-1 late Monday to open the teams' three-game set by ending a five-game losing streak.
After winning three of four in Washington to extend their NL East lead to a season-high 3 1/2 games, the Braves were handed their most lopsided defeat of the year, enabling second-place Miami to shave a game off the margin.
A solo home run by Freddie Freeman was the extent of Atlanta's offense over seven innings against Jorge López (2-0), who entered with a 6.38 ERA.
“Had the curveball, a really good changeup, everything was working really good," López said.
Recalled from Atlanta's alternate site to make his fifth start of the season, Touki Toussaint (0-2) absorbed the brunt of the damage during Baltimore's biggest inning since a nine-run outburst in April 2016 in Texas.
Stewart hit a three-run homer and Ryan Mountcastle followed with a shot over the center-field wall. An error and two walks loaded the bases for Cedric Mullins, who greeted reliever Luke Jackson with a two-run single.
José Iglesias capped the binge with his first home run of the year, a three-run drive that made it 10-0.
“When they hit it, it was just kind of out of our reach and if you made a bad pitch, you just didn’t get it back,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “Just not a real good night.”
And so, Snitker had to deal with another game in which he called upon his bullpen way earlier than he would have preferred.
“These are tough," he said. “We’ve been fighting this all year with some short starts and you know, we’ve done an unbelievable job of being where we are with all of them we’ve had.”
HOUSE OF PAIN
The Braves haven't won at Camden Yards since June 12, 2009, and have not won a series in Baltimore since 2004.
Braves: Snitker said LHP Max Fried (back spasms) is healthy and will probably come off the injured list Friday, two days after LHP Cole Hamels (triceps tendinitis) is slated to be activated from the IL to make his season debut.
Braves: Huascar Ynoa (0-0) started the second game of the series late Tuesday.
Orioles: Thomas Eshelman (3-0, 3.96 ERA) made his fourth start and 10th appearance of the season.
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