Braves slugger Brian McCann is congratulated after hitting the go-ahead homer in the 10th inning to lift Atlanta past Toronto, 7-6, on Tuesday.
TORONTO — Brian McCann hit two of the Atlanta Braves’ four home runs Tuesday, saving his best for the last in a 7-6 victory against the Toronto Blue Jays in 10 innings.
McCann, who was just activated off the disabled list earlier this month following offseason shoulder surgery, led off the 10th with his sixth homer of the season and his second of the game before a crowd of 45,224 at Rogers Centre. The Braves (31-20) gained a split of a two-game series with the Blue Jays (22-30) before returning to Atlanta today to play Games 3 and 4 of the rare home-and-home series.
Jordan Schafer and Evan Gattis also homered for the Braves, while Jose Bautista homered for the Blue Jays.
“We hit a lot of home runs and we’re going to strike out,” said McCann, the Braves’ starting catcher who was the designated hitter Tuesday. “But you put up seven runs, there’s nothing bad about that at all.”
It was a difficult day for the Blue Jays because they lost right-handed starter Brandon Morrow after two innings with soreness in his right forearm.
Morrow said he first felt it halfway through his previous start last week.
“We didn’t think it was an issue,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. “The doctors don’t think it’s much of an issue. It’s just one of those things. We took him out as a precaution.”
Andrelton Simmons and Freddie Freeman each had three hits for Atlanta. J.P. Arencibia had three hits for the Blue Jays.
“That big three there of Freeman and Gattis and Mac did a hell of a job for us, kept us in the game,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “That’s a pretty big three right there. Too bad we’re not in the American League. We’ve got to go back and play National League. But it’s nice to have those three guys in the lineup all at one time.”
Right-hander Thad Weber (0-1) gave up McCann’s go-ahead homer to take the loss. After the game, he was sent to Class AAA Buffalo.
Right-hander Ramon Ortiz, who gave up two runs on successive homers by Gattis and McCann in the sixth as he pitched three-plus innings in relief of Morrow, was designated for assignment.
The Blue Jays were to make two roster moves later.
Right-hander Cory Gearrin (2-1) pitched the ninth to pick up the win.
Craig Kimbrel worked around a leadoff walk to secure his 16th save. Braves left-hander Paul Maholm allowed five runs and 10 hits in six innings, including Bautista’s home run.
Morrow allowed four hits, including Schafer’s home run, and four runs (two earned).
“It’s sore,” Morrow said. “It’s the top of the forearm, not towards the ligament or anything like that (so) put any of those theories to rest. I think I strained it midway through the game last time out.
“The amount of throwing I did through the week it didn’t feel too bad, I was optimistic it would feel OK today. It felt like the muscle wasn’t firing and I couldn’t get anything on the ball.
“The ball wasn’t coming out of my hand real well. Rest and treatment and everything I hope to make (the next) start.”
The Blue Jays led 4-3 after a bizarre first inning.
The Braves scored three runs, one earned, in the first with the help of two Blue Jays throwing errors, one by Bautista from right field and the other by first baseman Edwin Encarnacion.
Schafer doubled and Simmons singled to open the game. Freeman had the only other hit and the only RBI in the first when he singled to right. It scored Schafer, and Simmons came home on Bautista’s errant throw.
Freeman scored when Encarnacion grabbed McCann’s rap to first but threw wildly, behind Morrow, from his knees for an error, allowing Freeman to score from second.
The Blue Jays answered with four runs in the home first on five hits, one of which was an Arencibia double on a popup that dropped between second baseman Dan Uggla and right fielder Jason Heyward.
Encarnacion had an RBI double, Mark DeRosa had a two-run double to snap an 0-for-8 drought and Colby Rasmus had an RBI single.
“The first inning wasn’t too great on either side,” McCann said.
Schafer hit his second homer of the season with two out in the second to tie the score at 4.
Bautista clubbed his 12th homer of the season with two out in the fourth on a pitch clocked at 61 mph to put the Blue Jays up 5-4. Gattis led off the sixth with his 12th homer and McCann followed with his fifth of the season ands the Braves led 6-5.
Bautista led off the seventh with a double against right-hander Anthony Varvaro and scored on Arencibia’s third hit of the game, a one-out double to tie the score at 6. DeRosa walked, but Rasmus lined softly into a double play against left-hander Luis Avilan.
The Blue Jays already have had injuries to starters J.A. Happ and Josh Johnson that put them on the disabled list and shortstop Jose Reyes has been injured most of the season.
“It’s part of baseball and you deal with it,” Gibbons said. “Just go with whatever you’ve got.”
NOTES: Blue Jays 3B Brett Lawrie didn’t play because of a sprained left ankle he suffered while stealing second in the sixth inning of Monday’s 9-3 Toronto win. He’s listed as day to day. … RHP Josh Johnson (triceps strain) is scheduled to return to the Toronto rotation June 4 to start against the San Francisco Giants, after he pitches for Triple-A Buffalo on Thursday, his final rehabilitation assignment outing. … Braves LF Justin Upton didn’t start for the Braves, but Heyward was back in right field after being rested on Monday. … Braves CF B.J. Upton sat for the second straight day as he makes some hitting adjustments. … The teams move to Atlanta for two games with RHP Esmil Rogers (1-2, 4.56 ERA) starting Wednesday for Toronto against Braves’ RHP Kris Medlen (1-5, 3.16 ERA).