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The better J.A. Happ pitches for the Toronto Blue Jays Dion Dawkins Jersey , the better the chance he finishes the season with another team.

Happ pitched a season-high 8 1/3 innings to win his fifth straight decision, Kendrys Morales hit a two-run home run and the Blue Jays beat the Atlanta Braves 5-4 Wednesday for Toronto’s seventh win in eight home games.

Happ (9-3) allowed four runs and six hits, walked none and struck out eight. The veteran left-hander is the first big league pitcher to record four starts this season with at least eight strikeouts and no walks.

”He’s got good life on his fastball,” Atlanta’s Nick Markakis said. ”He’s always been a thorn in the side.”

With Toronto well behind in both the AL East and the wild card standings, Happ could be a candidate for a midseason trade to a contender.

”I know he’s in demand and I can see why,” Toronto manager John Gibbons said. ”If we were on the other end of it, I’d want him, too.”

Happ is in the final season of a three-year, $36 million contract.

”I signed to play here and try to help this team get to the playoffs,” Happ said. ”I know there may be rumors out there, but I like it here and my focus is here.”

Happ improved 4-0 with a 2.72 ERA in nine career starts against the Braves.

”We knew going in it was going to be a tough ride,” Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said.

Happ had retired 18 of 19 before Freddie Freeman and Markakis hit back-to-back singles with one out in the ninth.

Ryan Tepera came on and gave up an RBI single to Kurt Suzuki, struck out Charlie Culberson Eddie Yarbrough Jersey , then allowed an RBI single to Ender Inciarte, putting the tying run at second. Tepera finished it by getting Johan Camargo to fly out, earning his fifth save in eight opportunities

Morales, who turned 35 Wednesday, went 2 for 3 and scored twice. He homered in the first, walked and scored in the fourth, singled in the fifth, and flied out in the eighth.

Suzuki and Peter Bourjos hit solo home runs for the Braves, who lost for the second time in eight games. Atlanta began the day with an NL-best record of 43-29.

Braves right-hander Anibal Sanchez (3-1) allowed four runs and five hits in five innings.

”It wasn’t bad, wasn’t great,” Snitker said. ”He kept us in the game, gave us a chance.”

Sanchez is 0-2 with a 9.19 ERA in his past three starts against the Blue Jays.

After Morales hit a two-out drive off Sanchez, his sixth homer of the season Star Lotulelei Jersey , Suzuki connected in the second, his eighth, and Bourjos tied it in the third with his first homer of the season.

Toronto broke the deadlock in the fourth when Randal Grichuk hit an RBI double and Aledmys Diaz followed with a sacrifice fly.

Blue Jays infielder Yangervis Solarte made it 5-2 with a two-out RBI single off A.J. Minter in the seventh.

WALK THIS WAY

Blue Jays C Russell Martin has walked at least once in eight straight games, matching a career-long stretch. Martin, who walked twice Wednesday, also walked in eight straight in 2013.

BIRTHDAY BLASTS

Morales has four home runs and eight RBIs in eight career games on his birthday.

THRIVING WITH FIVE

Toronto is 28-1 when scoring five or more runs.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Braves: Markakis started at designated hitter, the first time this season he hasn’t played one of the corner outfield spots.

Blue Jays: RHP Marcus Stroman (shoulder) will be activated off the disabled list to start at the Angels on Saturday, Gibbons said. Stroman is 0-5 with a 7.71 ERA in seven starts. … 3B Josh Donaldson (left calf) left the team Wednesday and will continue working out at Toronto’s spring training facility in Florida. Donaldson will not begin a rehab assignment until he is able to run the bases at full speed.

UP NEXT

Braves: Atlanta is off Thursday before opening a three-game home series against Baltimore on Friday. LHP Sean Newcomb (8-2, 2.70 ERA) starts for the Braves. Newcomb has won eight of his past nine decisions. The Orioles have not named a starter.

Blue Jays: RHP Aaron Sanchez (3-5, 4.35) starts the opener of a four-game series against the Angels. Sanchez is 1-0 with a 2.95 ERA in three June starts. LHP Tyler Skaggs (6-4, 2.81) starts for Los Angeles.



Kyle Freeland has a silhouette of a mountain range tattooed along his right arm.

So, no, the Denver native doesn’t mind pitching in a little thin air.

Freeland elevated his game once again at Coors Field and the Colorado Rockies scored the go-ahead run in the seventh on a throwing error by shortstop Brandon Crawford to rally for a 5-2 win over the San Francisco Giants on Monday night.

Freeland (8-6) settled in to go seven strong innings after surrendering a homer to Gorkys Hernandez on the first pitch of the game.

That mistake hardly weighed on him.

”There were a lot more pitches to be thrown Russell Bodine Jersey ,” said Freeland, who allowed three hits. ”You have to have faith in your offense they’ll come through for you.”

The left-hander hardly feels intimidated by the hitter’s park. Freeland has allowed three or fewer runs in all but one of his seven starts at Coors Field this season.

”To me, it’s still the game of baseball. You have to make your pitches,” Freeland said of his approach at Coors. ”If you don’t make your pitches, there’s a strong chance they’re going to get whacked – hard.”

Part of Freeland’s good groove of late has to do with the development of his changeup. He’s throwing it with confidence – and success.

”There is a poise factor that comes into play when you’re playing this game,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. ”He’s learning this at the highest level. … I love the day that Kyle pitches.”

Scott Oberg threw the eighth and Wade Davis worked his way around a one-out double by Buster Posey in the ninth for his 24th save. He struck out Crawford to end the game.

Madison Bumgarner (1-3) was cruising along until the seventh when he began to unravel. After allowing three straight singles, he was replaced by reliever Reyes Moronta, who walked Nolan Arenado and then allowed the tying run on a double play. Ian Desmond followed with a roller that Crawford gobbled up only to throw wide to first, allowing the tiebreaking run to score.

”Just didn’t throw it 100 percent. I gave it about an 80-percent throw,” Crawford explained. ”One-hopper, I had time.”

Pinch-hitter Tom Murphy added an insurance run in the eighth, with Charlie Blackmon bringing in another on a sacrifice fly. Arenado finished 2 for 3 with two walks.

Bumgarner ran his streak to 22 scoreless innings before it came to a halt in the seventh when he was charged with three runs, two earned. Before Monday Phillip Gaines Jersey , the left-hander hadn’t allowed a run since June 16 in Los Angeles against the Dodgers.

”I don’t care about the streak. I’m just trying to win,” Bumgarner said. ”That’s a tough loss. Everything was going our way early on and didn’t go our way late. That’s all there is to it.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Giants: RHP Johnny Cueto (elbow) was schedule to throw a bullpen session Monday in Sacramento, while RHP Jeff Samardzija (shoulder) was slated to make a rehab start for Triple-A Sacramento. ”It’s a fairly big day in Sacramento,” manager Bruce Bochy cracked. ”Tomorrow, we’ll have a plan.”

Rockies: RHP Bryan Shaw (right calf strain) had a bullpen session Monday and ”threw the ball well,” Black said. Shaw will throw a simulated game Wednesday and may soon go out on a rehab assignment. … RHP Chad Bettis wore white tape on his middle finger after developing a hot spot during Sunday’s start. Bettis was pulled after three innings. ”We’re concerned about him for sure,” Black said.

GREAT GRABS

Austin Slater played a big role in keeping the Rockies off the scoreboard early by making a sliding catch in left field to end the third with the bases loaded. Slater also had a diving catch in the second.

UP NEXT

Giants: RHP Chris Stratton (8-5, 4.45 ERA) faces the Rockies on Tuesday for a second time in less than a week. He allowed five runs over four innings last Thursday.

Rockies: RHP Antonio Senzatela (2-1, 6.23) will be recalled from Triple-A Albuquerque and make his first start of the season Tuesday. He takes the place of opening day starter Jon Gray, who was optioned to Triple-A over the weekend.



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