BALTIMORE — The Atlanta Braves are finding absolutely no margin for error during a slump that is threatening to render the last two months of the season meaningless.
Right-hander Mike Foltynewicz held his own in a matchup with Orioles ace Chris Tillman on Wednesday night, except for two pitches that made the difference in Baltimore’s 2-0 victory.
Home runs by Jonathan Schoop and J.J. Hardy were enough to enable the Orioles to complete their first three-game sweep of the Braves since 1999.
Recalled from Triple-A before the game, Foltynewicz (3-3) gave up two runs and six hits in six innings. He struck out eight and walked two.
“He pitched great,” manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “He threw some split-fingers that we wanted him to go down to the minor leagues and work on. You saw some of it there in tonight’s game. He pitched terrific. He really did.”
But Tillman was better.
“Some positives out there,” Foltynewicz said. “With all the runners on base, I’ll take two solo shots any day over that, to get out of there giving up two runs like I did.”
That might be good enough to get a win on some nights, but the Braves got only two runners as far as second base in their 10th shutout loss of the season.
Tillman (8-7) allowed four hits and no walks in 8 2-3 innings. He retired 13 straight before Cameron Maybin hit a two-out double in the ninth.
Zach Britton got the final out for his 26th save.
Since reaching .500 on July 7, the Braves have lost 13 of 17 overall and 10 of 11 on the road.
Baltimore, in contrast, has won five straight to close within a game of Minnesota for the second AL wild-card berth.
“They pitched good during the series and got some big home runs,” former Oriole Nick Markakis said. “They closed out games. They have a good ball club over there.”
With hope for a playoff berth fading quickly, there is speculation that Atlanta is ready to deal away talent before Friday’s non-waiver trade deadline.
“The only thing I can say is I got here, turned my phone on and there’s nothing on my phone,” Gonzalez said in his office. “I am not talking about Twitter. I am not on Twitter. I didn’t get anything from our general manager or anything like that. So, as far as I am concerned, there’s no truth to those rumors right now.”
After the start of the game was delayed by rain for 33 minutes, Tillman went to work. He faced the minimum nine batters over the first three innings, the lone runner reaching on an error before being erased on a double play.
Schoop hit Foltynewicz’s first pitch of the third inning over the wall in center field for a 1-0 lead.
Markakis got Atlanta’s initial hit leading off the fourth but was wiped out on a double play. Hardy homered in the bottom half, extending his hitting streak to 12 games.
Foltynewicz ended his outing by striking out the side in the sixth.
“Here he is, 103, 104 pitches and what more can you ask,” Gonzalez said. “There was nothing else more that he could do. He gave up two solo home runs.”
Braves: 1B Freddie Freeman, who made the final out, is 2 for 18 since coming off the DL on July 25. … Atlanta has been swept five times this season.
Orioles: 1B Ryan Flaherty went 0 for 3 and is hitless in his last 22 at-bats.
Braves: LHP Manny Banuelos (posterior elbow spur) will report to the team’s spring training facility in Florida, Gonzalez said. There is no timetable for his return from the DL. … RHP Williams Perez (bruised left foot) is up to 80 pitches per outing on his rehabilitation assignment, according to Gonzalez.
Orioles: 1B/OF Steve Pearce (strained left oblique) is at least a week away from starting baseball activities.
Braves: Atlanta opens a four-game series in Philadelphia on Thursday night. Braves starter Shelby Miller is 2-0 with a 0.84 ERA against the Phillies this year.
Orioles: Former Oriole Alfredo Simon takes the mound for Detroit on Thursday night to open a four-game series at Camden Yards.