Toronto Blue Jays’ Kevin Pillar (11) slides in to score in the eighth inning of the team’s baseball game against the Atlanta Braves, Tuesday, in Atlanta. (Photo by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Stroman sharp as Blue Jays knock Braves out of NL East lead

ATLANTA — A rejuvenated Marcus Stroman outlasted Julio Teheran by forcing the Braves to consistently hit grounders.

Toronto’s batters did their part in a decisive eighth inning.

Russell Martin’s sharp single in Toronto’s five-run eighth drove in the go-ahead run, Stroman pitched seven strong innings, and the Blue Jays beat Atlanta 6-2 on Tuesday night to knock the Braves out of first place.

Stroman (2-6) frustrated the Braves by mixing his cutter and slider and recording 14 of his 21 outs on the ground.

“When I’m pairing the cutter and slider it makes it pretty hard on the hitters,” Stroman said.

Stroman said he has felt strong since returning from the disabled list on June 23. The Blue Jays have won three of his four starts since he missed six weeks with right shoulder fatigue.

“It was an outstanding effort,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. “It doesn’t surprise me. I think he has rounded back into shape the way we’ve seen him so many times.”

Stroman gave up one run and six hits with two walks in seven innings.

The Braves, who have lost six of their last seven, fell to second in the NL East after beginning the day tied with Philadelphia for the lead. The Phillies beat the Mets 7-3. Atlanta held at least a share of first since May 30.

Toronto was limited to three hits through seven innings by Teheran and Jesse Biddle, and the game was tied 1-1. The Blue Jays broke out with five hits off A.J. Minter (3-2) and Shane Carle in the eighth.

Aledmys Diaz doubled in two runs before scoring on a double by Devon Travis. Kevin Pillar had a run-scoring single in the big inning, which opened with a fielding error by Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson on Yangervis Solarte’s grounder.

Teheran stranded two baserunners in each of the first two innings before giving up Justin Smoak’s 13th homer with one out in the third.

Toronto protected the 1-0 lead until the sixth. Kurt Suzuki’s single off Stroman (2-6) drove in Ozzie Albies, who opened the inning with a bunt single.

Teheran allowed one run and three hits with three walks in 6 2/3 innings.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Blue Jays: Josh Donaldson, on the DL since May 29 with tightness in his left calf, has resumed baseball activities. … Gibbons said he couldn’t confirm reports that top prospect 3B Vladimir Guerrero Jr. could be promoted to Triple-A Buffalo when he returns from a minor left knee injury. … RHP Aaron Sanchez (right index finger) threw in the outfield with no issues and will next advance to throwing off a mound. … RHP Ryan Tepera (right elbow inflammation) threw off a mound.

Braves: OF Ronald Acuna was 0 for 4 after being held out of the lineup two straight days with left groin tightness. … RHP Brandon McCarthy (right knee tendinitis) is “not coming around like we hoped right now,” said manager Brian Snitker. McCarthy was placed on the 10-day DL on June 28.

NO RELIEF

Minter gave up four runs, three earned, while recording only one out.

“I just felt I didn’t have my A-plus stuff,” said Minter after seeing his ERA climb from 2.68 to 3.38. “I think I made a couple bad 0-2 pitches and 1-2 pitches. … They made me pay for it so you have to tip your cap to them.”

FLASHBACK

Stroman earned his second win in Atlanta in two seasons. He threw 5 2/3 scoreless innings and hit his first career homer in a 9-0 win over the Braves on May 18, 2017.

This time, he singled in his first at-bat in the second, clearing enjoying the opportunity to swing the bat. “I’m just trying to be aggressive in the box,” he said.

UP NEXT

Blue Jays: RHP Sam Gaviglio is 2-1 with a 4.91 ERA in five career interleague games, including four starts, entering Wednesday night’s game against the Braves.

Braves: RHP Mike Foltynewicz will start on regular rest against the Blue Jays. There was consideration of pushing back the start, but additional rest might have left Foltynewicz unable to participate in his first All-Star game on July 17.

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