Ozzie Albies’ first career multihomer game was special.
Making his mother’s wish come true was even better.
Albies snapped Atlanta’s power drought with two homers, and the Braves beat the Toronto Blue Jays 9-5 on Wednesday to move back into a tie for the NL East lead.
Albies’ mother, Judari, arrived from their Curacao home on Tuesday night. It was a rare opportunity for the 21-year-old second baseman to play with his mother in the stands.
He made the most of the night by fulfilling his mother’s request to reach 20 homers — a level not expected of 5-foot-8, 165-pound middle infielders.
“It feels amazing. She told me before I left Curacao she wants 20 this year,” he said. “To have it right in front of her, she saw it live, so I hope she’s happy today.”
Albies leads the Braves in homers, even though first baseman Freddie Freeman, who has 16, will participate in next week’s All-Star Home Run Derby.
“They asked me if I wanted to participate,” Albies said. “I said yes. I guess I didn’t make it. … I’ll bring him Gatorade.”
Albies is the first Atlanta player since Andruw Jones, also a native of Curacao, in 2006 to hit 20 home runs before the All-Star break.
“It must be a Curacao thing, I guess,” Albies said.
Headed to All-Star Game
Albies, headed to his first All-Star Game next week, led off the sixth with a drive off Luis Santos that ended Atlanta’s season-long stretch of five games without a homer. He also had a sacrifice fly in the Braves’ six-run second.
Mike Foltynewicz (7-5) and the Braves led 7-0 before Toronto scored five runs in the seventh on Justin Smoak’s leadoff homer and a grand slam by Devon Travis . But Albies hit a two-run shot in the eighth to help Atlanta hold on for just its second win in eight games.
Coupled with Philadelphia’s loss to the New York Mets, the Braves moved into a tie with the Phillies for the division lead.
Foltynewicz allowed only one hit through six scoreless innings before giving up Smoak’s 14th homer high into the right-field seats to open the seventh.
The Blue Jays loaded the bases with two-out singles from Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Aledmys Diaz and Luke Maile before Travis hit his third career grand slam, knocking Foltynewicz out of the game.
“After all that work, for that to happen is disappointing,” Foltynewicz said.
Foltynewicz, also selected to his first All-Star Game, has completed seven innings in only two of his 18 starts this season.
A safety squeeze by Foltynewicz drove in Johan Camargo in the second. Ender Inciarte and Nick Markakis had run-scoring doubles in the inning. Freeman and Tyler Flowers singled in runs.