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Right shoulder woes land Soroka back on DL

MLB.com @mlbbowman

ATLANTA -- A little more than a week after ending a month-long layoff, Braves rookie hurler Mike Soroka is once again on the disabled list with right shoulder inflammation.

The Braves placed Soroka on the 10-day DL and purchased outfielder Danny Santana's contract from Triple-A Gwinnett before Friday night's game against the Orioles.

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ATLANTA -- A little more than a week after ending a month-long layoff, Braves rookie hurler Mike Soroka is once again on the disabled list with right shoulder inflammation.

The Braves placed Soroka on the 10-day DL and purchased outfielder Danny Santana's contract from Triple-A Gwinnett before Friday night's game against the Orioles.

View Full Game Coverage

Soroka's average fastball velocity was a season-low 91.6 mph during Tuesday night's start in Toronto. Six days earlier, when he made his first start since May 12, his average fastball velocity was 92.6 mph -- the second-lowest mark among his five career starts.

Video: NYM@ATL: Soroka flirts with no-no in return from DL

When Soroka -- ranked No. 2 in Atlanta's system by MLB Pipeline -- made his Major League debut on May 1, his average fastball velocity was 93.5 mph. The 20-year-old right-hander was first placed on the DL because of the right shoulder discomfort he felt during his start in Miami on May 12. Soroka's average fastball velocity in that outing against the Marlins was 91.6 mph.

The Braves became concerned Tuesday night after Soroka's four-seamer touched 95.1 mph in the first inning but averaged just 90.3 mph during the fifth inning. He allowed eight hits, including six doubles, and he was charged with four runs over 4 2/3 innings against the Blue Jays.

Santana got off to a slow start this season for Gwinnett, but the veteran outfielder has hit .316 with seven home runs and a .978 OPS over his past 24 games.

Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com.

Atlanta Braves, Danny Santana, Mike Soroka

Acuna to begin rehab assignment at Triple-A

MLB.com @mlbbowman

ATLANTA -- Ronald Acuna Jr. will take another step toward rejoining Atlanta's lineup when he begins a Minor League rehab assignment with Triple-A Gwinnett on Friday.

The Braves have not revealed how long Acuna's assignment will last. But with Gwinnett scheduled to play a doubleheader on Friday, the 20-year-old phenom could compile enough plate appearances over the next couple days to position himself to be activated from the disabled list as early as Sunday.

ATLANTA -- Ronald Acuna Jr. will take another step toward rejoining Atlanta's lineup when he begins a Minor League rehab assignment with Triple-A Gwinnett on Friday.

The Braves have not revealed how long Acuna's assignment will last. But with Gwinnett scheduled to play a doubleheader on Friday, the 20-year-old phenom could compile enough plate appearances over the next couple days to position himself to be activated from the disabled list as early as Sunday.

Acuna has been sidelined since suffering a mild sprain of his left anterior cruciate ligament on May 27. The young outfielder ranks as baseball's top prospect per MLB Pipeline. He batted .265 with five home runs and a .779 OPS in 29 games before he suffered the injury after stepping on the first-base bag on an infield single.

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.

Atlanta Braves, Ronald Acuna Jr.

The Braves' most pressing question

MLB.com @AnthonyDiComo

Shifting powers within the National League East have created a new dynamic as the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline approaches, with more potential buyers than sellers dotting the landscape. The Braves, Nationals and Phillies all believe they have legitimate chances to make the postseason, while the Mets aren't quite counting themselves out yet, either.

Many general managers like to slice regular seasons into three segments, using the first to learn about their teams, the second to take action, and the third to let the chips fall where they may. But while each NL East team is well into Phase 2 of that plan, they all still have unanswered questions clouding their futures:

Shifting powers within the National League East have created a new dynamic as the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline approaches, with more potential buyers than sellers dotting the landscape. The Braves, Nationals and Phillies all believe they have legitimate chances to make the postseason, while the Mets aren't quite counting themselves out yet, either.

Many general managers like to slice regular seasons into three segments, using the first to learn about their teams, the second to take action, and the third to let the chips fall where they may. But while each NL East team is well into Phase 2 of that plan, they all still have unanswered questions clouding their futures:

Video: Byrnes breaks down Braves, Freeman's MVP chances

BRAVES
The question: Can Atlanta keep this up?

This question is layered deeper than it might appear. Every year, a rebuilding team or two tends to rise to contention sooner than expected, as the Braves have done in shooting out to first place. If they play their cards right at the Deadline, Atlanta could add a reliever, a bench bat or even a starting pitcher if its budget allows. But the Braves won't likely address all of those areas, knowing they needs to maintain a strong farm system and a responsible budget to keep the window of contention open as long as possible.

How Atlanta performs over the next three to four weeks could have a major impact on what it does at the Deadline. A strong run could prompt more aggression from the Braves in trade talks. Less dynamic play might convince them to stay conservative, knowing that no matter what happens this year, they're a team with oodles of potential for 2019.

Video: MIA@BAL: Realmuto crushes a 2-run homer to center

MARLINS
The question: Which veterans will be on the move?

There's little doubt the Marlins will sell off pieces prior to the Trade Deadline. The only question is which ones?

Teams seeking catching help -- the Red Sox, Brewers and Angels spring to mind -- will surely ask about J.T. Realmuto, but there's doubt within the industry that Miami would deal him. When the Mets checked in earlier this year, they came away with the impression that the Marlins wanted to keep their standout catcher.

That could change as the deadline nears, but even if it doesn't, Miami has assets to spare. First baseman Justin Bour, second baseman Starlin Castro, starting pitcher Dan Straily and reliever Kyle Barraclough all could fetch interesting returns, considering they are under contractual control for multiple seasons. Like Realmuto, all of them have been involved in trade rumors in the past.

In any event, Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill is about to become a popular man.

Video: NYM@COL: Syndergaard discusses progress on his injury

METS
The question: When will the superstars return (and will it be too late)?

Yoenis Cespedes and Noah Syndergaard have combined to miss more than two months with injuries that the Mets once considered relatively minor -- a strained right hip flexor for Cespedes, a strained right index finger for Syndergaard. The team still doesn't have much of a timetable for either, complicating its attempt to push back into playoff contention. With Cespedes and Syndergaard active and healthy, the Mets believe they can make a late run at an NL Wild Card berth. Without them, the team might be inclined to look toward 2019.

Last summer, general manager Sandy Alderson provided a blueprint of what a yard sale could look like before (and after) July 31, dealing away Lucas Duda, Addison Reed, Jay Bruce, Neil Walker and Curtis Granderson for a cadre of high-upside relievers. This year's inventory of pending free agents is not quite so robust, with only Jeurys Familia and Asdrubal Cabrera potentially attractive to buyers. The Mets could pivot on their longstanding philosophy and deal away Jacob deGrom or Syndergaard, but trading either would indicate a full-scale rebuild -- something they do not appear willing to undertake.

Right now, the Mets see deGrom, Syndergaard and Cespedes as critical parts of their 2019 team. A return to health for the latter two players would do wonders for the team's outlook in '18 and beyond.

Video: Is Harper putting extra pressure on himself?

NATIONALS
The question: When will Bryce Harper be Bryce Harper again?

The Nationals have performed well enough without the usual output from Harper, whose batting average, on-base percentage and slugging mark are all down significantly from last season -- some of his major offensive statistics are down even from 2016, when rumors of a shoulder injury dogged him all summer. But Washington hasn't been able to upend Atlanta, which features the division's best offense (and statistically speaking, it's not particularly close).

It's not as if Harper, who leads the NL with 19 home runs, has been unproductive. It's just that he's far from the NL MVP Award candidate the Nats expected him to be. The good news for Washington? Harper's breakout appears to be a matter of when, not if. His average exit velocity is at its highest point since his 2015 NL MVP Award-winning season, while his batting average on balls in play is at a career low. Certainly, defensive shifts have played a role in that, but Harper is too elite of a hitter to stay this unproductive for long. How quickly he turns it around could well determine the NL East title.

Video: STL@PHI: Morgan induces grounder to preserve the win

PHILLIES
The question: Can Phils survive (or thrive) without a closer?

Philadelphia's Opening Day closer, Hector Neris, lost the job in May, and it didn't stop there, as he slid all the way to Triple-A this week. For now, the Phillies are going closer-by-committee, with Adam Morgan nailing down a rogue save on Wednesday. As new-school as they come, manager Gabe Kapler doesn't believe in set bullpen roles, preferring to use his best relievers in the highest-leverage spots. But decades of history suggests that strategy doesn't often work over a 162-game season, and the Phils' ninth-inning issues don't appear to be disappearing.

A team with issues on the left side of its infield won't necessarily be able to splurge on a closer before the Deadline, even with Familia and Zach Britton among those potentially available. Instead, there's a good chance it will be up to Seranthony Dominguez, Edubray Ramos and the rest of the Phillies' in-house mix to make Kapler's strategies work.

Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo, Instagram and Facebook.

Atlanta Braves, Miami Marlins, Philadelphia Phillies, Washington Nationals, New York Mets

Inbox: Markakis part of Braves' offseason plans?

Beat reporter Mark Bowman answers fans' questions
MLB.com @mlbbowman

Will the Braves consider re-signing Nick Markakis during the offseason?
-- @DGD2018, via Twitter

This is a question that will likely linger into the early portion of December, if not longer. The Braves have internal options for third base, the starting rotation and the bullpen. Their internal options for an outfielder and a catcher consist of Markakis, Tyler Flowers and Kurt Suzuki, who will all be 33 or older by the time the 2019 season begins.

Will the Braves consider re-signing Nick Markakis during the offseason?
-- @DGD2018, via Twitter

This is a question that will likely linger into the early portion of December, if not longer. The Braves have internal options for third base, the starting rotation and the bullpen. Their internal options for an outfielder and a catcher consist of Markakis, Tyler Flowers and Kurt Suzuki, who will all be 33 or older by the time the 2019 season begins.

There's a chance at least one of those players will return next year, but each has been effective enough to expect contract offers that may be longer than the Braves will be willing to extend. Let me once again point out my belief that the primary disadvantage created by the designated hitter is that it provides American League teams the comfort of offering the extra year or two that a National League team can't responsibly offer to players on the wrong side of 30.

Now back to Markakis, whose resurgence during his age-34 season stands as a primary reason the Braves currently possess an NL-high 43 wins. He is a sound contact hitter and strong clubhouse leader -- qualities the Braves value significantly, and his defensive value has improved greatly, courtesy of the analytics that have aided a few Braves in the field this season. But the fact is that Markakis will turn 35 in November and has positioned himself to receive an offer of at least three years.

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This doesn't necessarily exclude the Braves as a potential suitor, but the team will most likely peruse the trade and free-agent markets for younger options before committing to Markakis. Maybe more importantly, a bulk of the club's financial flexibility might be utilized to fill other needs that extend beyond determining which outfielder will pair with Ronald Acuna Jr. and Ender Inciarte next year.

Yeah, the Braves will have approximately $50 million to spend. But as we sit here at the end of June, how that money is allotted will be influenced by a number of variables, including how Austin Riley -- the club's No. 8 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline -- has the team feeling about third base by the end of this year. If Riley isn't deemed ready, there could be a push to sign Manny Machado or Josh Donaldson.

While it's debatable whether third base will be viewed as a primary need, you can certainly expect the pursuit of a closer who may go by the name Craig Kimbrel. With the club's only legit catching prospect (No. 17-ranked William Contreras) still at the Class A level, you can also expect the pursuit of Yasmani Grandal or another available catcher. There's also a chance the Braves will target another outfielder or a frontline starter to pair with Mike Foltynewicz and Sean Newcomb.

Until we get a better feel for what the club's primary needs will be and how expensive it will be to address them, we really won't know the likelihood of a Markakis return.

What's Riley's status?
-- @REdfeldt, via Twitter

Riley has been sidelined since spraining his right posterior cruciate ligament on June 3. His knee has improved, and he now appears to be within two weeks of rejoining Triple-A Gwinnett's lineup. That timetable creates a six-week window for him to provide an indication of whether he can maintain his power potential while reducing his strikeout rate. Riley's production over the remainder of the season will heavily influence what the Braves do during the offseason.

Is Evan Phillips ready for a callup?
-- @dasboot1atl, via Twitter

Braves fans have been clamoring for the arrival of Phillips, a reliever with a 2.31 ERA and 50 strikeouts over 35 innings for Gwinnett. The team has remained patient, allowing the 23-year-old right-hander to further develop his slider. But it now sounds like he will be considered a top candidate the next time there is a need in Atlanta's bullpen.

How is the current arrangement helping Luiz Gohara's development?
-- @JUnderwood9, via Twitter

This has been a very rough year for Gohara, but it seems he's finally in a good place, thanks to some mental perspective. His Spring Training injuries were seemingly a product of the limited preparations he made while dealing with the death of his father and his mother's illness. The struggles he experienced over the past couple of weeks in Atlanta's bullpen appeared to be influenced by his inability to keep his arm fresh during his 10 days in Brazil after his mother's heart surgery.

But Gohara needed to make that visit for peace of mind. He accepted his recent demotion to Gwinnett and showed some promise, recording seven strikeouts over 3 1/3 innings. Each of the three runs he allowed was surrendered within the first inning of his first start since he faced the Phillies on May 23.

Gohara will continue to develop as a starter and could be an asset in Atlanta's rotation at some point this year. But if he fully regains the fastball velocity he had last year and rounds back into form, don't be surprised if the Braves once again give Gohara a chance to provide depth as a multiple-inning reliever who could consistently be used in high-leverage situations.

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.

Atlanta Braves

Early homers, late rally not enough for Braves

MLB.com @mlbbowman

TORONTO -- Having been damaged by the long ball nearly as frequently as any other pitcher since the start of 2015, Anibal Sanchez has learned it's in his best interest to make every effort to live on the corners of the plate.

Sanchez's ability to consistently command his array of pitches has enabled him to rejuvenate his career this season. But as he nibbled his way toward two walks during the key fourth inning of Wednesday afternoon's 5-4 loss to the Blue Jays, the Braves right-hander cost himself a chance to add another strong start to his ledger.

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TORONTO -- Having been damaged by the long ball nearly as frequently as any other pitcher since the start of 2015, Anibal Sanchez has learned it's in his best interest to make every effort to live on the corners of the plate.

Sanchez's ability to consistently command his array of pitches has enabled him to rejuvenate his career this season. But as he nibbled his way toward two walks during the key fourth inning of Wednesday afternoon's 5-4 loss to the Blue Jays, the Braves right-hander cost himself a chance to add another strong start to his ledger.

View Full Game Coverage

"He's a guy who is going to continue to make pitches. He's not going to give in to a hitter," Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said. "That's why he's been successful here. He doesn't give in. He might have been off a tick, but overall, he gave us a chance."

Video: ATL@TOR: Sanchez strikes out Solarte looking

As Sanchez allowed four runs and issued a season-high four walks over five innings, he wasn't as efficient as he'd been in most of his previous six starts. But once the Braves finally chased Blue Jays starter J.A. Happ in the process of tallying two ninth-inning runs, the decisive damage came courtesy of the seventh-inning run tallied against Shane Carle and A.J. Minter.

"Location-wise today, they didn't give me the opportunity to be ahead in the count, especially with the big guys," Sanchez said. "Every pitched we missed, we paid for."

Sanchez elevated a 2-0 fastball that Kendrys Morales drilled over the right-field wall for a two-run homer in the first inning. This wasn't exactly anything new for the right-hander, who entered this start having allowed MLB's second-highest home runs per nine innings rate since the start of 2015.

Video: ATL@TOR: Suzuki cracks an RBI single to left field

As Sanchez had posted a 2.10 ERA over his six previous starts, he had also minimized the damage created by the long ball. He allowed a homer within the first three innings of two of his previous three starts this month, and then he proceeded to limit his damage to two runs while pitching into the sixth inning on both occasions.

But Sanchez's bid to once again shake off the early damage began to unravel in the bottom of the fourth, when he issued Morales a leadoff walk after getting ahead with an 0-2 count. Two batters later, a 1-2 count against Russell Martin evolved into a walk. Randal Grichuk followed with an RBI double, and Martin scored on Aledmys Diaz's sacrifice fly.

"I think I threw pitches that could help me [retire] those guys, but I think I was a little bit off," Sanchez said. "I don't want to miss anything in the middle."

Video: ATL@TOR: Inciarte grounds an RBI single in the 9th

The damage done in the fourth inning was enough support for Happ, who allowed six hits over 8 1/3 innings. Kurt Suzuki homered in the second inning and Peter Bourjos added a solo shot in the third. But after Ozzie Albies followed Bourjos' homer with a double, Happ retired 13 straight and 20 of the final 23 batters he faced.

With Happ dealing, Sanchez had to live with the fact he was just a pitch or two away from extending his success. He had issued just three walks while limiting opponents to a .138 batting average with a 0.93 ERA over his previous three starts this month.

"Those two walks in the fourth inning, that was the difference," Sanchez said. "Giving up a homer in the first inning could be normal."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Decisive seventh: Devon Travis began the bottom of the frame with a double off Carle, who retired the next two batters he faced before exiting. Snitker then called upon Minter to force switch-hitter Yangervis Solarte to bat from the right side. Solarte hit just .221 (17-for-77) against lefties through June 1. But once he singled Travis home with the winning run, he found himself hitting .364 (8-for-22) against southpaws over his past 11 games.

Video: ATL@TOR: Solarte knocks an RBI single to right field

Ninth-inning rally: Happ surrendered just four hits before Freddie Freeman and Nick Markakis chased him with consecutive one-out singles in the ninth. Suzuki followed with an RBI single off Ryan Tepera, who then allowed the Braves to pull within one run on Ender Inciarte's two-out infield single. But the Blue Jays reliever ended the game with Johan Camargo's flyout to center field.

Video: ATL@TOR: Tepera retires Camargo to secure 5th save

"With this lineup, you've always got a chance," Markakis said. "You get a couple guys on, and anything can happen. Camargo put a good swing on it. He just got under it a little bit. That's how the ball bounces sometimes."

SOUND SMART
Following the lead of Camargo, who drilled his first grand slam in Tuesday's series opener, Bourjos provided some power from the bottom of the order. His one-out homer off Happ in the third inning was the seventh home run Atlanta has tallied from the ninth spot of its lineup.

Video: ATL@TOR: Bourjos hammers a solo homer to left field

Markakis started at one of the corner-outfield positions during each of the Braves' first 72 games this season before serving as the designated hitter in the series finale against the Blue Jays. Since undergoing neck surgery before the 2015 season, Markakis has logged more outfield innings (4,664 2/3) than any other Major Leaguer.

"It was good to get Nick a day off the turf by [serving as the DH]," Snitker said. "Now with the off-day, that will hopefully allow his legs to take a little break."

HE SAID IT
"He's always tough. He's got good life on his fastball, and he pitches. He's always been a thorn in the side. We got to him early, but then he settled down." -- Markakis, on Happ, who has a 2.72 ERA over eight career starts against Atlanta

UP NEXT
Sean Newcomb will attempt to enhance his All-Star credentials when the Braves welcome Kevin Gausman and the Orioles to SunTrust Park for the start of a three-game series on Friday at 7:35 p.m. ET. Newcomb has a MLB-high six scoreless starts of at least six scoreless innings. The 25-year-old southpaw has posted a 1.80 ERA over his past four home starts.

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.

Atlanta Braves, Peter Bourjos, Anibal Sanchez, Kurt Suzuki

Wright spins gem for Mississippi

MLB.com @GoldenSombrero

Here's MLB Pipeline's roundup of the top prospect performances in the Minor Leagues on Thursday.

Here's MLB Pipeline's roundup of the top prospect performances in the Minor Leagues on Thursday.

:: Complete prospect coverage ::

Making his sixth start for Class A Advanced Lynchburg, Eli Morgan turned in the best outing of his young career.

Morgan, the Indians' No. 28 prospect, did not allow a hit over six dominant innings, issuing one walk and matching his career high with nine strikeouts as he and a trio of Hillcats relievers combined to fire a one-hit shutout in a 1-0 victory against Myrtle Beach. He threw a season-high 91 pitches in the outing, 59 for strikes.

After retiring the first eight batters of the game, Morgan issued a two-out walk in the third inning that ended his bid at perfection. It was the only blemish on his performance, as the 22-year-old righty proceeded to set down the final 10 batters en route to facing one over the minimum.

Morgan has proved to be one of the biggest 2017 Draft steals in his first full season. The eighth-round selection out of Gonzaga has pitched to a 2.62 ERA with a 0.79 WHIP and 40-to-6 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 34 1/3 innings (six starts) with Lynchburg after a dominant start to his season at Class A Lake County, where he logged a 1.83 ERA with 56 strikeouts and eight walks in 44 1/3 innings.

Overall, Morgan owns a 2.17 ERA and 0.84 WHIP in 14 starts this season across the two levels. He's held opposing hitters to a paltry .186 average in that span while compiling 96 strikeouts and 14 walks in 78 2/3 innings.

Right-handed reliever James Karinchak (No. 22) locked down his seventh save of the season to seal the Hillcats' combined one-hitter. Another steal from the 2017 Draft, when he was a ninth-round pick out of Bryant University, Karinchak has dominated to the tune of a 0.68 ERA with a .180 opponents' average and 47 strikeouts in 26 1/3 innings (20 appearances) this season between Lake County and Lynchburg.

Offensively, Mitch Longo (No. 27) provided all the run support the Lynchburg hurlers would need when he led off the bottom of the first inning with a home run. The 23-year-old outfielder finished the game 1-for-2, also reaching base via a walk and a hit-by-pitch. He's hitting .289/.340/.417 with four home runs in 60 games this season -- matching the exact total he produced over 60 contests between Lake County and Lynchburg in 2017.

The rest of the best performances from top prospects Thursday

No. 6 overall prospect Nick Senzel (Reds' No. 1) hit a solo homer and later added a two-run shot to account for all of Triple-A Louisville's offense in a 13-3 loss against Durham. The multihomer performance, the third of Senzel's career, gives him six homers on the season and also pushed his hitting streak to 11 games, during which he's raised his average from .256 to .310 while recording nine multihit efforts.

Senzel's second homer

• No. 10 overall prospect Kyle Tucker (Astros' No. 1) is halfway to his second straight 20-homer, 20-stolen base season after recording his 10th home run and 12th stolen base in a 3-for-5 game for Triple-A Fresno. He's hitting .306 for the season, thanks largely to a 10-game hitting streak during which he owns a .449 average (22-for-44) with three homers, 10 RBIs and 11 runs scored.

• No. 13 overall prospect Royce Lewis (Twins' No. 1) hit a three-run homer in the third inning that proved the difference in Class A Cedar Rapids' 5-4 win over Wisconsin. He finished 2-for-4 at the plate in what was his fourth straight multihit game for the Kernels. The 19-year-old shortstop has been remarkable in his first full season, hitting .305/.347/.469 with 23 extra-base hits (7 HR), 40 RBIs and 16 steals in 56 games.

Lewis goes yard

• No. 27 overall prospect Kyle Wright (Braves' No. 3) struck out eight batters over seven innings, matching his career-best marks in both categories, as Double-A Mississippi downed Jacksonville, 11-2. He allowed two runs (one earned) on seven hits, throwing 67 of his 97 pitches for strikes, and did not issue a walk for the first time in 15 starts this season. It was the best home start of 2018 for the 22-year-old righty, who sports a 1.91 ERA (42 1/3 IP) on the road compared to a 6.82 ERA (34 1/3 IP) in Mississippi. Alex Jackson (No. 14) paced the M-Braves offensively by going 4-for-4 with two doubles, two runs scored and an RBI.

• No. 37 overall prospect Jesus Sanchez (Rays' No. 4) blasted a grand slam and went 3-for-4 to help power Class A Advanced Charlotte past Palm Beach, 10-1. The 20-year-old outfielder has homered nine times in 59 games and ranks among the Florida State League leaders with a .328 average (third), 124 total bases (first) and 45 RBIs (tied, first).

• No. 54 overall prospect Yordan Alvarez (Astros' No. 3) stayed red hot with a 3-for-4 performance that included a two-run homer in Double-A Corpus Christi's 4-2 win over Frisco. In five games since coming off the disabled list, the 20-year-old outfielder is hitting .478 with three home runs, 10 RBIs and four multihit performances. For the season, Alvarez owns a .331/.390/.608 batting line with nine homers and 36 RBIs in 32 games.

• Making his Triple-A debut, No. 96 overall prospect Griffin Canning (Angels' No. 5) posted zeros for the ninth time in 13 starts this season, tossing four scoreless frames in Salt Lake's win over Tacoma. He mixed two hits with three walks and six strikeouts while throwing 51 of his 87 pitches for strikes over four innings. Canning, a 2017 second-rounder, has been sensational in his first full season, pitching to a 1.54 ERA with 67 strikeouts and 33 hits allowed in 58 1/3 innings across three levels.

Blue Jays No. 12 prospect Miguel Hiraldo recorded his third four-hit performance in 16 games for Toronto's Dominican Summer League affiliate. He reached base in all five plate appearances, going 4-for-4 with a walk, two RBIs and a stolen base. The 17-year-old shortstop, signed for $750,000 a little more than a year ago, is slashing .429/.493/.667 with 10 extra-base hits and eight multihit efforts in 16 games to begin his career.

Royals No. 3 prospect Seuly Matias connected on his Minor League-leading 23rd home run, a two-run shot, in the sixth inning of Class A Lexington's 9-8 loss against Charleston. He reached base three times in the contest, finishing 1-for-2 with a walk and a hit-by-pitch. The 19-year-old slugger has gone deep nine times in 20 games this month after homering seven times in each of the season's first two months.

Royals No. 6 prospect Nicky Lopez hit for the cycle in order, tallying a single, double, triple and home run in the first six innings of Double-A Northwest Arkansas' 17-3 rout of Tulsa. He finished 5-for-6 with two RBIs and four runs scored out of the leadoff spot. The 23-year-old middle infielder is raking in the Texas League, as Thursday's performance gives him a .332/.398/.420 batting line and 91 hits through 71 games.

Lopez hits for the cycle

Tigers No. 11 prospect Mike Gerber went 2-for-5 with a pair of two-run homers as Triple-A Toledo fell to Gwinnett, 7-6. It was the 25-year-old outfielder's first multi-homer performance this season and fifth of his career. He owns a .220 average with seven homers in 37 games this season.

Twins No. 11 prospect Lewis Thorpe racked up a career-high 12 strikeouts and carried a no-hit bid into the fifth inning before completing seven scoreless innings of one-hit, one-walk ball in Double-A Chattanooga's 12-2 win over Biloxi. The 22-year-old left-hander faced two over the minimum in the outing, permitting a two-out single in the fifth and a one-out walk in the following frame. He recorded at least two strikeouts in each of the first five innings and ultimately threw 60 of his 84 pitches for strikes in the season-long outing. Thorpe has 86 strikeouts in 69 2/3 innings on the year to go along with a 4.26 ERA.

Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero.

Camargo slam, bottom of order key Braves win

Last four hitters of Atlanta lineup record 11 hits, nine RBIs
MLB.com @mlbbowman

TORONTO -- An early Mike Soroka exit combined with an off night from the top five spots of the lineup is not a recipe for success. But for this year's Braves, it was just an opportunity to display the potential depth of their offense, which could become more formidable if Johan Camargo and Ender Inciarte are rounding into form.

Camargo highlighted a career-high, four-hit performance with his first MLB grand slam and Charlie Culberson made his presence known as the Braves overcame Soroka's rocky homecoming to claim an 11-4 win over the Blue Jays on Tuesday night at Rogers Centre.

View Full Game Coverage

TORONTO -- An early Mike Soroka exit combined with an off night from the top five spots of the lineup is not a recipe for success. But for this year's Braves, it was just an opportunity to display the potential depth of their offense, which could become more formidable if Johan Camargo and Ender Inciarte are rounding into form.

Camargo highlighted a career-high, four-hit performance with his first MLB grand slam and Charlie Culberson made his presence known as the Braves overcame Soroka's rocky homecoming to claim an 11-4 win over the Blue Jays on Tuesday night at Rogers Centre.

View Full Game Coverage

Video: ATL@TOR: Culberson crushes a solo shot to left

Grand slams mean 40% off pizza

"Being on a team that's going to win, you have to have everyone doing well at some point," Culberson said. "You can't just rely on a few guys all the time because it just puts too much pressure on them. When other guys step up, it's fun to see and we can feed off of each other."

As the Braves have gained a 3 1/2-game lead in the National League East race, they have consistently benefited from Freddie Freeman and Nick Markakis. But Freeman's generously-awarded sixth-inning triple accounted for just one of the three hits the first five hitters in Atlanta's lineup recorded in 24 at-bats.

Video: ATL@TOR: Freeman drills a triple to center field

The bottom four hitters in the Braves' order combined to go 11-for-18 with two home runs and five doubles. While Camargo delivered the big blow and finished a triple shy of the cycle, Braves manager Brian Snitker seemed to be most encouraged by the three hits tallied by Inciarte, who had spent the afternoon hours honing his swing with hitting coach Kevin Seitzer.

Inciarte batted .167 over the 20 games leading up to him recording a pair of hits in two of the first three games of this past homestand. But it had been more than a month since he consistently hit the ball as solidly as he did when he delivered a two-run double in the fifth and added another RBI double in the ninth inning.

Video: ATL@TOR: Inciarte rips a 2-run double to right field

"Ender looked really good," Snitker said. "They were working on some things today and it was good. He was popping that bat. It was really good to see. He looked like his old self."

Camargo got the Braves rolling when he took advantage of consecutive two-out walks by drilling his monstrous grand slam off Jaime Garcia in the second inning. His impressive shot, which landed in the fourth level above the left-field wall, traveled a projected 413 feet with a 109.7-mph exit velocity -- the hardest hit ball of his career -- per Statcast™.

"You have those at-bats where you really know you can get a hold of it and tonight was one of those," said Camargo, who entered this series having hit .207 over his past 16 games.

Video: ATL@TOR: Camargo plates Inciarte from second

Culberson made a great catch to strand a pair of runners in the first and began the fourth inning with a solo home run off Garcia, who allowed five earned runs over three-plus frames. The early offensive contributions helped create an 8-2, fifth-inning lead for Soroka, whose bid to earn a win was erased when he lasted just 4 2/3 innings. 

"This team is just good up and down this lineup," Camargo said. "Tonight, the bottom of the lineup kind of got it done. But that's the big difference this year, everybody can hit in the lineup."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Key relief: Peter Moylan stranded two when he replaced Soroka in the fifth inning and retired the only two batters faced in the sixth before handing the ball to Sam Freeman, who recorded four strikeouts over 2 1/3 perfect innings. The outing was a confidence booster for Freeman, who allowed nine hits and issued five walks over an 8 1/3-inning span from May 23-June 15. His efficient multi-inning effort also could prove beneficial as Snitker will now have more bullpen flexibility during Wednesday afternoon's game.

"That was the biggest thing I could take out of that game, was he was able to stay out there and pitch," Snitker said. "I think it was really good for him to get an extended outing like that."

SOUND SMART 
Soroka joins Toronto's Marco Estrada (May 18 vs. the A's) as the only pitchers to allow six doubles in a game this year. The most recent Braves pitcher to allow six doubles in a game had been Luiz Gohara (Sept. 19 vs. the Nationals).

Soroka admitted his emotions might have influenced him as he progressed through the first inning while pitching in front of friends and family members who came from his hometown of Calgary to see him start in his native country for the first time.

Video: ATL@TOR: Soroka's father on seeing his son pitch

"It was everything I imagined, coming out there seeing a lot of Canadians and a lot of Canadian flags," Soroka said. "Hearing the anthem was pretty special."

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Culberson prevented the Blue Jays from tallying at least a pair of first-inning runs when he snared Kevin Pillar's long drive just before crashing into the left-center-field wall to end the first inning. The Braves' left fielder covered 83 feet in five seconds to record a four-star catch (48% catch probability).

Video: ATL@TOR: Culberson races 83 ft for wall-crashing grab

"That was a great catch," Snitker said. "I didn't think he had any chance of catching it. I thought it was a homer when he hit it. Then to keep himself together to catch the ball, it was a great play."

HE SAID IT
"You know our lineup can do that, and they have every night. It's just fun to watch those guys. It's amazing when you get four on the board in the second and then you can go out there and keep attacking. Even after a leadoff double, you don't have to pitch around guys. Even if you give up the run, it's not the biggest thing." -- Soroka

UP NEXT
Anibal Sanchez will attempt to extend his recent success when the Braves conclude their two-game series against the Blue Jays on Wednesday at 12:37 p.m. ET. Sanchez has limited opponents to a .138 batting average over three starts (19 1/3 innings) this month, allowing just two earned runs in that span. Toronto will counter with J.A. Happ in a game that will be shown exclusively on Facebook

Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com.

Atlanta Braves, Johan Camargo

Anderson fans eight for Florida

MLB.com @GoldenSombrero

Here's MLB Pipeline's roundup of the top prospect performances in the Minor Leagues on Wednesday.

The least-known prospect acquired by the Marlins in the January blockbuster trade that sent Christian Yelich to Milwaukee, Jordan Yamamoto is doing his best to shed that distinction this season in the Florida State League.

Here's MLB Pipeline's roundup of the top prospect performances in the Minor Leagues on Wednesday.

The least-known prospect acquired by the Marlins in the January blockbuster trade that sent Christian Yelich to Milwaukee, Jordan Yamamoto is doing his best to shed that distinction this season in the Florida State League.

:: Complete prospect coverage ::

Yamamoto, Miami's No. 20 prospect, set a career high with 13 strikeouts and allowed just two hits, both singles, over seven scoreless innings as Class A Advanced Jupiter blanked Florida, 2-0. He did not issue a walk in the outing, ultimately facing two over the minimum and throwing 64 of 89 pitches for strikes.

Dealt to Miami during the offseason, along with outfielders Lewis Brinson and Monte Harrison and second baseman Isan Diaz, Yamamoto began the season on the disabled list with a right shoulder impingement but has been on a roll since making his Marlins organizational debut on May 27. The 22-year-old right-hander is 3-0 in five starts, with a 1.63 ERA, 0.94 WHIP and 33-to-6 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 27 2/3 innings.

Selected by Milwaukee in the 12th round of the 2014 Draft out of the Hawaii prep ranks, Yamamoto broke out in earnest last year, when he logged 111 innings for Class A Advanced Carolina -- his second straight campaign with at least 100 innings pitched after working a career-high 134 1/3 frames in 2016 -- struck out 113 and sported a 2.51 ERA that topped Carolina League pitchers reaching 100 innings.

Yamamoto was especially good down the stretch, too, as he allowed just one earned run over his final five starts and 33 innings -- a trend that has followed the young right-hander into 2018.

The rest of the best performances from top prospects Wednesday

No. 12 overall prospect Mitch Keller (Pirates' No. 1) turned in his fourth straight quality start as he pitched Double-A Altoona past Richmond in Game 1 of a doubleheader to record his eighth win in 13 starts. The 22-year-old righty gave up one unearned run on four hits and one walk while striking out four and racking up 10 ground-ball outs. He's now completed at least six innings in seven straight starts, during which he's 5-0. Overall, Keller ranks among the Eastern League leaders with his eight wins (tied, first), a 3.00 ERA (seventh) and 78 1/3 innings pitched (fourth).

• No. 43 overall prospect Ian Anderson (Braves' No. 5) was outdueled by Yamamoto, but still impressed plenty by tossing six innings of two-run ball with a season-best eight strikeouts in a quality start for Class A Advanced Florida. Anderson permitted seven hits (six singles) and one walk and flooded the strike zone with 63 of his 92 offerings. The 20-year-old righty sports a 3.51 ERA through 13 starts on the season, with 70 strikeouts and just two home runs allowed in 59 innings.

• No. 57 overall prospect Shane Baz (Pirates' No. 3) worked a career-high five scoreless innings to earn the win in his season debut for Rookie-level Bristol. The 2017 first-rounder (No. 12 overall) gave up four hits while compiling one strikeout and three walks in the outing. Baz, a 19-year-old righty, recorded eight ground-ball outs and threw 45 of his 80 pitches for strikes. Outfielder Conner Uselton (No. 16), selected with the No. 72 pick in the '17 Draft, went 2-for-3 with a double, two RBIs and two runs scored.

• No. 92 overall prospect Sean Murphy (A's No. 6) went 3-for-3 and reached base in all five of his plate appearances in Double-A Midland's loss to Frisco. Two of those hits were doubles, giving Murphy a Texas League-leading 24 two-baggers on the season, and he also reached twice via walks and scored two runs. The 23-year-old is proving this season that he's one of the Minor's top catching prospects, as the performance gives Murphy a .315/.367/.539 batting line with 33 extra-base hits through 56 games.

Blue Jays No. 7 prospect Eric Pardinho took the loss but impressed in his professional debut, tossing four innings of one-run ball with five strikeouts and seven ground-ball outs for Rookie-level Bluefield. The 17-year-old right-hander threw 39 of his 65 pitches for strikes in the outing, allowing two hits and two walks. Signed for $1.4 million out of Brazil at the outset of the 2017-18 international period, Pardinho boasts a three-pitch mix that includes a plus fastball-curveball pairing and a promising changeup. That mature arsenal, along with his advanced feel for using it, is why Toronto felt comfortable jumping him straight to the Appalachian League for his Minor League debut.

Dodgers No. 24 prospect Drew Jackson hit a pair of two-run homers as he powered Double-A Tulsa past Springfield, 7-1, with his first career multi-homer game. The 24-year-old middle infielder has gone deep seven times in 54 games this year after homering just once in 29 Double-A contests in 2017.Will Smith (No. 8) also homered in the victory, his eighth this season. Both players finished 2-for-4 and scored two runs.

Watch: Jackson homers twice

Padres No. 11 prospect Jacob Nix was a tough-luck loser despite tossing seven innings of one-run ball with a season-best eight strikeouts for Double-A San Antonio in a 1-0 loss against Corpus Christi. The 22-year-old right-hander -- making his fifth start of 2018 after beginning the season on the disabled list -- allowed four hits, did not issue a walk and induced eight ground-ball outs. He's pitched to a 1.27 ERA and 0.71 WHIP, with 20 strikeouts, six walks and a .147 BAA, in 28 1/3 innings.

Pirates No. 7 prospect Kevin Newman and Kevin Kramer (No. 8) combined for five hits and four RBIs in Triple-A Indianapolis' 5-3 win over Norfolk. Newman paced the offense out of the leadoff spot by going 3-for-5 with a double and two RBIs. It was his second three-hit performance during his seven-game hitting streak. Kramer, meanwhile, finished the game 2-for-4 after hitting his 16th double and a two-run homer, his 11th of the season and third in the last six games.

Pirates No. 11 prospect Luis Escobar posted six scoreless innings of two-hit ball in Class A Advanced Bradenton's 9-1 win over Clearwater. The 22-year-old righty issued two walks and struck out six while finding the strike zone with 51 of his 77 pitches. The outing was a step back in the right direction for Escobar after he entered the day having allowed nine earned runs and eight walks in eight innings between his previous two starts.

Escobar's sixth strikeout

Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero.

Culberson crashes into wall to save two runs

Utility man cracks solo home run against Blue Jays
MLB.com @mlbbowman

TORONTO -- Charlie Culberson might not have a lot of experience as an outfielder. But the Braves' utility player still knew that even though he was having trouble breathing, it was important to show he had made what could have been described as both a jaw-dropping and jaw-aching catch.

"It didn't feel great," Culberson said. "I couldn't breathe. It knocked the breath out of me. I immediately thought, 'Let me show the ball.' I was thinking, 'I'm going to sit here for a second because I can't really move.'"

View Full Game Coverage

TORONTO -- Charlie Culberson might not have a lot of experience as an outfielder. But the Braves' utility player still knew that even though he was having trouble breathing, it was important to show he had made what could have been described as both a jaw-dropping and jaw-aching catch.

"It didn't feel great," Culberson said. "I couldn't breathe. It knocked the breath out of me. I immediately thought, 'Let me show the ball.' I was thinking, 'I'm going to sit here for a second because I can't really move.'"

View Full Game Coverage

Culberson saved at least two runs when he snared Kevin Pillar's long drive on the warning track and then slammed into the left-center-field wall during the first inning of Tuesday's 11-4 win over the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre. Culberson also once again proved that he is capable of hitting home runs that do not end games.

Video: ATL@TOR: Culberson crushes a solo shot to left

"I thought it was a home run off the bat," Braves starting pitcher Mike Soroka said. "I looked up and I saw Charlie just giving it [his all] and when he came down with it on the track and went into the wall. ... That's one of the first 'Holy Cow' plays I've seen. I definitely owe him dinner."

Soroka was laboring through the first inning of his first career start in his home country. It looked like he was going to encounter an early deficit when Pillar came to the plate with two on and two outs. The Blue Jays' outfielder jumped on a hanging 2-2 slider and then saw Culberson turn what seemed to be an extra-base hit into a defensive gem.

"Off the bat, I knew he hit it really well," Culberson said. "I was just trying to take a shot at it. I ended up getting to it and just wanted to get to the ball. That was a fun play. It was neat to watch it on TV afterwards."

Per Statcast™, Culberson ran 83 feet in five seconds to record a four-star catch on the long drive that had a 48% catch probability. That's not bad for a guy who has made 36 career starts as an outfielder. Twenty of those starts were made for the 2013 Rockies. The other 16 have been tallied since May 28, when he began playing left field in place of the injured Ronald Acuna Jr.

Acuna closing in on start of rehab assignment

"I'm still getting used to reads off the bat in left field," Culberson said. "I feel like you don't get the same one twice. So I'm doing my best to take the best routes and just being athletic. That one just turned out well for us."

After slamming into the wall, Culberson fell on his back and raised the ball toward the sky in his right hand. He remained on the ground for a minute and then made his way toward the dugout under his own power.

"I was just wondering if I was going to be able to make it out there," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "I said, 'He'll be healed by the time I get out there.'"

Culberson capped a two-hit night with a ninth-inning leadoff double and began it with a fourth-inning solo shot, just the sixth of his 10 career home runs that have not ended a game. He has hit .323 with four homers and a .944 OPS over the 66 plate appearances totaled since he became Acuna's primary replacement.

"Down the road, this will benefit Charlie and us to amass all of these at-bats," Snitker said. "You couldn't ask anybody to do any better than he has."

Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com.

Atlanta Braves, Charlie Culberson

Freeman, Braves dominating ASG ballot

MLB.com @mlbbowman

ATLANTA -- Freddie Freeman and Nick Markakis have drawn more All-Star votes than any other National League players, while Ozzie Albies is also still positioned to be an All-Star starter. Seems safe to say the Braves have drawn notice across the baseball world.

VOTE: 2018 Camping World MLB All-Star Ballot

ATLANTA -- Freddie Freeman and Nick Markakis have drawn more All-Star votes than any other National League players, while Ozzie Albies is also still positioned to be an All-Star starter. Seems safe to say the Braves have drawn notice across the baseball world.

VOTE: 2018 Camping World MLB All-Star Ballot

When MLB released the latest NL All-Star balloting updates on Monday afternoon, Freeman had garnered a league-leading 1,433,140 votes, approximately 250,000 more than Markakis, who ranks second with 1,173,653 votes. Albies ranks seventh with 915,736 votes, nearly 150,000 more than any other NL second baseman.

Kurt Suzuki is another Braves player who could possibly be voted into the NL's starting lineup for this year's All-Star Game. Suzuki ranks third among NL catchers. He has drawn approximately 125,000 fewer votes than Buster Posey's leading total of 686,253.

Fans may cast votes for starters at MLB.com and all 30 club sites -- on computers, tablets and smartphones -- exclusively online using the 2018 Camping World MLB All-Star Ballot until Thursday, July 5, at 11:59 p.m. ET. On smartphones and tablets, fans can also access the ballot via the MLB At Bat and MLB Ballpark mobile apps. Each fan can vote up to five times in any 24-hour period, for a maximum of 35 ballots cast.

As Freeman currently owns the top NL MVP Award credentials, he seems destined to earn his third All-Star selection. He also seems primed to draw his first start. He has gathered more than 860,000 more votes than Anthony Rizzo, who ranks second among NL first basemen with 566,382 votes.

Freeman has produced the NL's best on-base percentage (.427) and slugging percentage (.585). His .337 batting average ranks second, just behind Matt Kemp's .338. He leads the league in three defining categories -- Fangraphs' WAR model (3.6), Weighted Runs Created Plus (171) and OPS (1.012).

Markakis has drawn a little more than 170,000 votes more than Bryce Harper (1,002,696), who ranks second among NL outfielders, and nearly 250,000 votes more than Kemp (925,697), who is positioned to earn the last of the starting spots reserved for this group. Charlie Blackmon (678,831) ranks fourth with approximately 500,000 fewer votes than Markakis, who has never previously earned a All-Star selection.

Markakis leads the NL with 92 hits (one more than Freeman). The 34-year-old veteran ranks second among NL outfielders with a .327 batting average and a .389 on-base percentage. He ranks with third with a .488 slugging percentage, and second in both fWAR (2.2) and wRC+ (138).

Albies has garnered approximately 150,000 votes than Javier Baez (767,417) and Scooter Gennett (743,979), who rank second and third respectively, among NL second basemen. The Braves' 20-year-old leadoff hitter has slumped lately, but he is still tied for the NL lead in runs (53) and doubles (21).

The Braves are also well-positioned at each of the other positions through the early stages of the balloting process. Ronald Acuna Jr. (617,151) and Ender Inciarte (528,943), rank fifth and sixth, respectively, among outfielders. Dansby Swanson (568,400) ranks second among shortstops, but he is more than 500,000 votes behind Brandon Crawford's leading total of 1,120,031.

Following the announcement of this year's All-Star starters, reserves and pitchers, fans should return to MLB.com and cast their 2018 Camping World MLB All-Star Final Vote for the final player on each league's roster. Then on Tuesday, July 17, while watching the 2018 All-Star Game presented by Mastercard live on FOX, fans may visit MLB.com to submit their choices for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet with the 2018 MLB All-Star Game MVP Vote.

The 89th Midsummer Classic, at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., will be televised nationally by FOX Sports; in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS; and worldwide by partners in more than 180 countries. FOX Deportes will provide Spanish-language coverage in the United States, while ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide exclusive national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network, MLB.com and SiriusXM also will provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information about MLB All-Star Week and to purchase tickets, please visit AllStarGame.com and follow @MLB and @AllStarGame on social media.

Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com.

Atlanta Braves

Teheran throws 6 no-hit innings in win over SD

Righty fans 11 in return from DL, exits due to cramp, high pitch count
MLB.com @mlbbowman

ATLANTA -- Following Mike Soroka's lead, Julio Teheran came off the disabled list and created the possibility of a no-hitter. It was just that kind of homestand for the Braves, who exited this homestand justifiably feeling good about the makeup of their starting rotation.

A refreshed Teheran regained normal fastball velocity and had his trusty slider working as he recorded a season-high 11 strikeouts and completed six no-hit innings to help the Braves claim a 4-1 win over the Padres on Sunday afternoon at SunTrust Park. His bid to extend his gem was denied by the combination of a high pitch count and a hamstring cramp.

View Full Game Coverage

ATLANTA -- Following Mike Soroka's lead, Julio Teheran came off the disabled list and created the possibility of a no-hitter. It was just that kind of homestand for the Braves, who exited this homestand justifiably feeling good about the makeup of their starting rotation.

A refreshed Teheran regained normal fastball velocity and had his trusty slider working as he recorded a season-high 11 strikeouts and completed six no-hit innings to help the Braves claim a 4-1 win over the Padres on Sunday afternoon at SunTrust Park. His bid to extend his gem was denied by the combination of a high pitch count and a hamstring cramp.

View Full Game Coverage

"I wanted to stay in, but when I got to the dugout, I was still cramping and that's not a good sign," Teheran said. "I wanted to go, especially when you're feeling good and have all your stuff."

Video: SD@ATL: Teheran, Snitker, Flowers on no-hit outing

Looking like the Teheran of old, the Braves veteran battled through command issues during a 24-pitch first inning and retired 15 straight batters before issuing consecutive one-out walks in the sixth. His right hamstring began cramping during this inning and truly bit him when he threw the last of his 95 pitches to strike out Jose Pirela.

As much as Teheran might have wanted to extend his effort, he didn't put up much of a fight after he limped toward the dugout and arrived still feeling the effects of the cramp. He was starting for the first time since he jammed his right thumb while batting during his June 4 start in San Diego.

Video: SD@ATL: Camargo drives a 2-run double to left field

"He hadn't been out there in the heat, and the first two innings he had to work pretty hard," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "I told him, 'You're not going nine innings anyway.' He did exactly what we wanted him to do."

Atlanta's bid for a combined no-hitter was erased when right-handed reliever Shane Carle allowed Cory Spangenberg to single to center with one out in the seventh inning. Pirela produced a sacrifice fly against A.J. Minter in the eighth, but Arodys Vizcaino then escaped trouble with a scoreless ninth that ended with Nick Markakis' diving catch near the right-field line.

Video: SD@ATL: Carle loses Braves' no-hitter in the 7th

The Braves, who now have a season-high 3 1/2-game lead in the National League East race, began this 5-1 homestand with Mike Foltynewicz delivering five solid innings before exiting with right triceps tightness. Foltynewicz is lined up to start next weekend, and Soroka, who allowed one hit over 6 1/3 innings on Wednesday, will start Tuesday's game in Toronto.

With the returns of Teheran and Soroka, the Braves are feeling good about a rotation that has posted a 2.20 ERA over the past 17 games.

"It allows you to take a big step forward, getting those two guys back," Snitker said. "Both were really good. It was just really good to see the crispness on Julio's stuff again."

Video: SD@ATL: Teheran strikes out Reyes for 10th K

Teheran's command was suspect as he walked Travis Jankowski and then hit Pirela with a pitch before recording the game's second out. But the veteran hurler then proceeded to strike out each of the next six batters he faced.

"When you have your arm feeling good, you don't have anything else to worry about," Teheran said. "You just go out there and make pitches. Today, it felt like everything was working."

Video: SD@ATL: Snitker on Teheran's start, Suzuki's injury

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Two was enough: Markakis' two-out infield single in the first inning accounted for the only hit allowed by Matt Strahm, who served as the starter in what was the Padres' latest bullpen game. Padres left-handed reliever Jose Castillo had limited opponents to one hit in 21 at-bats before allowing Tyler Flowers' single and Camargo's decisive double in the fourth.

Flowers added a two-run homer in the eighth off Brad Hand. He was forced to enter the game after Kurt Suzuki was hit in the head with Raffy Lopez's backswing to end the second inning.

Suzuki passed all necessary tests and will be available to play when the Braves return to action Tuesday.

"It was fate," Suzuki said. "I was meant to come out of that game. Flo came in and did an unbelievable job."

Video: SD@ATL: Suzuki injured by backswing and exits game

SOUND SMART
Teheran's four-seam fastball averaged 91.4 mph, which matched last year's average. He had averaged 89.5 mph with this pitch in the 13 starts he made before going on the disabled list.

"I think the uptick in velocity definitely helps his off-speed a little more," Flowers said. "He had good feel with his changeup and slider. His curveball, not so much. But when you've got three out of four with some confidence, those are some good weapons."

Teheran threw 19 sliders, six of which induced a swinging strike and three registered a called strike. The effective combination of these pitches helped him notch his ninth career double-digit strikeout game and first since notching a career-high 12 against the Tigers on Oct. 2, 2016.

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
After Spangenberg and Freddy Galvis recorded consecutive singles to begin the ninth, Vizcaino notched consecutive strikeouts. But his escape wasn't completed until Markakis denied Franmil Reyes of an extra-base hit with his game-ending diving catch. 

Video: SD@ATL: Markakis dives for stellar game-ending catch

UP NEXT
Soroka will experience a thrill when the Braves open a two-game series against the Blue Jays at 7:07 p.m. ET Tuesday. Soroka will be pitching in front of a number of friends and family members, who will come from his hometown of Calgary to see him start for the first time in Canada. The 20-year-old right-hander carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning of Wednesday's start against the Mets. The Blue Jays will counter with Jaime Garcia, who spent last season's first four months in Atlanta's rotation. 

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.

Atlanta Braves, Tyler Flowers, Nick Markakis, Julio Teheran

Suzuki avoids serious injury when hit by bat

Tests reveal catcher did not sustain concussion; available to play Tuesday