Braves > Gomes Homer Helps down Jays

| April 20, 2015

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TORONTO — Atlanta’s Shelby Miller has added to his arsenal since shutting out the Blue Jays last season.

He didn’t blank them again Sunday, but he did beat them again.

Jonny Gomes drove in four runs to back Miller (2-0), and the Atlanta Braves defeated the Toronto Blue Jays 5-2.

“He did a nice job, gave us the innings we needed,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said of Miller.

Miller pitched a three-hit shutout against Toronto for St. Louis last June, his only prior start against Toronto.

“I was kind of a little bit of a different pitcher then,” Miller said. “I didn’t have the cutter or the sinker that much.”

The cutter, a pitch he has focused on refining this season, featured more prominently.

“It’s more of a feel, pitch, a confidence pitch,” Miller said. “You’ve just got to have confidence in it and throw it and let it do what it does. That’s a pitch that’ll help but it’s still got a lot of room to grow.”

This time, Miller kept the Blue Jays scoreless through five before Russell Martin’s two-out, two-run double in the sixth. Miller gave up two runs and five hits in six innings, raising his ERA from 0.90 to 1.69.

“You’ll take both of those outings against the Blue Jays at home,” Miller said. “You’re coming into their home field, where they hit great. Coming out with a win is a positive thing.”

Andrew McKirahan got two outs in the seventh, Cody Martin pitched 1 1/3 innings, and Jason Grilli finished to remain perfect in six save chances.

Gomes hit a three-run double in the first off rookie Daniel Norris (1-1) and added a sacrifice fly in the third as the Braves took two of three from Toronto.

“That’s what he gets paid for, is to hit left-handers,” Gonzalez said.

Toronto has lost five of the first seven games on its opening homestand.

Gomes’ two-out, bases-loaded double in the first ticked off the glove of rookie center fielder Dalton Pompey, who fell down on the play and appeared to have trouble tracking the ball.

Pompey acknowledged he has been “playing somewhat scared” all season out of fear of making a mistake.

“We lose that game because I don’t make that play, and I take full responsibility for that,” Pompey said.

Pompey was guilty of another mistake as Atlanta made it 5-0 in the third. Freddie Freeman walked, Chris Johnson singled to center and Freeman scored on Pompey’s throwing error. Johnson took third on the throw and scored on Gomes’ fly ball to left.

Norris allowed all five runs — four earned — and six hits in 2 2/3 innings.

“I’m going through a little bit of a dead arm phase,” Norris said.


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