TORONTO – Johan Camargo hit his first career grand slam and drove in five runs as the Atlanta Braves defeated the Toronto Blue Jays 11-4 on Tuesday in the opener of a two-game interleague series.
The nine-hole hitter was 4 for 5 with the homer _ that was crushed to the third deck at Rogers Centre _ a double and two singles to raise his batting average from .221 to .240.
Charlie Culberson also homered for the first-place Braves (43-29), who opened play with the best record in the National League. Ender Inciarte had three RBI’s and Ozzie Albies and Dansby Swanson each drove in one.
Luke Maile and Yangervis Solarte had two RBI’s apiece as the Blue Jays (33-39) saw their seven-game home winning streak come to an end.
Neither starter went deep into the game.
Jaime Garcia (2-6) lasted just three-plus innings and allowed five hits and five runs while walking three batters.
Canadian right-hander Mike Soroka, in his second start since returning from a shoulder injury, allowed four runs and eighth hits over 4 2/3. Sam Freeman (2-3) pitched 2 1/3 innings of scoreless relief to earn the win.
Soroka, a 20-year-old from Calgary, became the youngest Canadian-born pitcher to start a MLB game north of the border.
After a quick first inning, Garcia ran into trouble in the second, allowing a two-out double and back-to-back walks to load the bases before Camargo’s slam.
Culberson homered to lead off the fourth, giving the Braves a 5-1 lead after a Maile groundout had put Toronto on the board in the second. Garcia followed by allowing consecutive singles with nobody out to end his night.
Reliever Danny Barnes got three quick outs to end the fourth, but allowed three runs in the fifth on a double from Inciarte and a single from Camargo.
Maile brought in Kevin Pillar with a single in the bottom of the fourth and Solarte tacked on two runs with a double in the fifth to halve the deficit at 8-4.
Back-to-back doubles from Camargo and Albies put the Braves up 9-4 in the eighth and Inciarte and Swanson made it 11-4 in the ninth with a pair of run-scoring doubles.
Culberson made a spectacular catch to rob the Blue Jays of a pair of runs in the first inning. With two on and two out, Pillar sent a deep liner to left-centre and Culberson smashed into the scoreboard to make the catch before tumbling to the ground. He held up the ball while laying on his back to show the final out.
The Braves outhit Toronto 14-8.