ATLANTA — Andrelton Simmons’ tiebreaking RBI single in the ninth inning snapped a 12-game home losing streak and the Atlanta Braves beat the AL East-leading Toronto Blue Jays 3-2 on Tuesday night.
Toronto began the night with a three-game lead over the New York Yankees, but the Blue Jays, despite the majors’ best record since the All-Star break, have lost two straight.
The Braves ended the longest home skid in franchise history. They began the game 14-46 overall since July 8.
Aaron Sanchez (7-6) took the loss, allowing four hits, one run and striking out one in 1 1-3 innings.
Arodys Vizcaino (3-1) faced the minimum in the ninth to earn the win.
Blue Jays sluggers Josh Donaldson and Jose Bautista went a combined 0 for 8 with four strikeouts. First baseman Edwin Encarnacion, Toronto’s other big bat, missed his second straight game with an injured finger.
Justin Smoak drew a leadoff walk in the second inning and Toronto took the lead on Cliff Pennington’s RBI single.
Atlanta went up 2-1 in the bottom of the inning when Simmons grounded out and Freddie Freeman reached on first baseman Smoak’s fielding error.
Mark Buehrle struck out two and gave up six hits, one walk and two runs — one earned — in five innings. The left-hander threw just 66 pitches after getting a cortisone shot in his throwing shoulder Sept. 8.
Julio Teheran allowed five hits, two runs, four walks and struck out seven in 5 2-3 innings. He threw 113 pitches.
Smoak’s 16th homer, a solo shot to start the sixth, made it 2-all.
Brett Cecil pitched a perfect sixth for Toronto, his 25th consecutive scoreless inning, most by an AL reliever this year.
TO THE ‘PEN
Blue Jays manager John Gibbons has moved RHP Drew Hutchison to the bullpen as RHP Marcus Stroman moves into the five-man rotation. Gibbons told Hutchison, who is 13-4 but has a 5.33 ERA in 27 starts, on Sunday. “He was fine,” Gibbons said. “He didn’t like it.” Stroman returned from a season-long knee injury to win Saturday at Yankee Stadium. Hutchison has a 9.44 ERA on the road this year.
BLUE JAYS: Gibbons said Encarnacion, who was out of the lineup for the second straight game with an injured finger, should return before “too much longer.”
BRAVES: Manager Fredi Gonzalez said RHP Mike Foltynewicz, out since Sept. 2 with a virus and rib injury, threw on flat ground Tuesday. Gonzalez said Foltynewicz is expected to throw a bullpen session “in the next day or two” and possibly return when a three-game series opens Sept. 21 at the New York Mets. Gonzalez will put Foltynewicz in the bullpen, adding “I think it would be unfair, because it’s been so much time,” for him to return to the rotation. … LHP Manny Banuelos was scheduled to visit Dr. James Andrews for an elbow exam. Banuelos has already undergone Tommy John surgery.
BLUE JAYS: LHP David Price (15-5) will make his ninth start since arriving in a trade with Detroit. Price is 6-1 with a 2.28 ERA for Toronto. He ranks second in the AL with a 2.46 ERA and is second with 201 1-3 innings pitched.
BRAVES: RHP Shelby Miller (5-14) will try to win for the first time in 22 starts, the longest career streak for a pitcher making an All-Star team in the same season. Miller, whose 2.86 ERA ranks sixth in the NL, has received by far the worst run support in the majors with less than 2.4 runs per start.
George Henry, The Associated Press