ATLANTA -- When the Braves traded Andrew Albers to the Mariners for cash considerations on Aug. 11, he was viewed as a Minor League journeyman who didn't fit within an Atlanta rotation, which at the time was being anchored by an impressive form of Mike Foltynewicz.Given a chance to face
ATLANTA -- When the Braves traded Andrew Albers to the Mariners for cash considerations on Aug. 11, he was viewed as a Minor League journeyman who didn't fit within an Atlanta rotation, which at the time was being anchored by an impressive form of Mike Foltynewicz.
Given a chance to face his former organization at SunTrust Park on Monday night, Albers was not overly dominant, but he proved to be much more efficient than Foltynewicz as he helped the Mariners stay in the thick of the American League Wild Card race with Monday night's 6-5 win over the Braves.
"I was thankful for the opportunity I got [with Atlanta] and them making the trade to get me here with this opportunity," Albers said. "It was nice to go out there and give the team a chance to win. Whether it is against them or anyone else, right now with the [Wild Card] race, wins are big."
Albers recorded his first career hit as the ball deflected off Foltynewicz and stayed in the infield.
• Cut4: Albies' errant throw has everyone laughing
Despite committing four errors, the Mariners won for the fifth time in their past six games, and pulled to within a game of the second AL Wild Card spot. The victory was aided by Yonder Alonso's three hits, two of which were run-producing doubles.
"I thought he threw the ball well and got it going back and forth with the changeup," Mariners manager Scott Servais said. "We didn't do a lot defensively to help him out. It created some longer innings and pitch counts, but we tightened up the defense."
Foltynewicz seemed to be establishing himself as a legitimate frontline starter, but he has allowed at least five earned runs in four of his past five starts. The Braves' right-hander struggled to control his breaking pitches as he allowed five of his six runs through the first four innings. Ozzie Albies highlighted his two-hit night with a two-run triple during a three-run sixth that brought the Braves to within one run.
"It's probably more mental than mechanical [for Foltynewicz]," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "He's free and easy throwing. He's aware of it and he's working hard at it. But it's easier said than done. When you're standing on that hill and all of the attention is on you, it's a different place. But it's not something he can't work through. It's a tough stretch right now, but I believe in him."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Frustrating fourth: Foltynewicz began to unravel in the fourth as he hit Leonys Martin with a pitch and issued a two-out, four-pitch walk to Jean Segura. After an errant pickoff attempt at second base moved both runners up, Alonso followed with a two-run double. The veteran first baseman added another double in the sixth inning that ended the night for Foltynewicz, who has allowed 26 earned runs over his past 22 innings (five starts).
"When you get hit around out there like that multiple times in a row, it definitely does something to your confidence," Foltynewicz said. "But it's a game where you have to forget about things. I have in the past, but it's tough when things like this keep happening."
Thwarting rallies: Mariners catcher Mike Zunino thwarted a couple of late rallies with his strong arm. Zunino's strong throw to second base in the seventh inning left Brandon Phillips unsuccessful in each of his past three stolen-base attempts. Ender Inciarte singled to begin the ninth, but with one out and Freddie Freeman at the plate, he too, was thrown out attempting to steal second base.
"We know [Inciarte] is one of their better runners and Edwin Diaz did a good job throwing a couple picks over there to keep him close," Zunino said. "We just had to be on our toes and ready to make a throw."
We were just saying, 'If he doesn't knock it down with his hand, I would have probably gotten thrown out at first anyway.' It was a little bit of luck involved as I was happy to put the ball in play and it worked out.-- Albers, on his first career hit
"He's not hitting his spots and command has been a problem. You look at the ball-strike ratio, it's not good. He's not finishing guys off. It's just something he's going to have to work through and get back to where he was when he was getting on that roll and being effective" -- Snitker, on Foltynewicz, whose ERA has risen from 3.82 to 4.95 over his past five starts.
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
With three singles Monday night, Nick Markakis collected his 162nd career three-hit game. The mark ranks as the second most in the Majors since 2006, the year that Markakis made his MLB debut.
Lane Adams was unsuccessful with his aggressive attempt to score from second base on a grounder that Robinson Cano bobbled on the infield grass. The out call stood after the Braves issued a challenge.
"I thought it was a good aggressive play," Snitker said. "He's coming around there and he bobbled it. If [Cano] doesn't throw it right on the money... it was a good slide and then you leave it in the hands of the replay. But that's a good aggressive play. It happens."
Mariners:Marco Gonzales takes the mound against Atlanta at SunTrust Park as the series continues Tuesday at 4:35 p.m. PT. Gonzales is making his fifth start and has a 7.11 ERA in his last three outings.
Braves:Lucas Sims will take the mound when the three-game series resumes Wednesday at 7:35 p.m. ET. Sims earned his first career win on Thursday as he allowed two runs over five innings at Coors Field.
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Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.
Jaylon Thompson is a reporter for MLB.com based in Atlanta and covered the Mariners on Monday.