The Atlanta Braves look to extend their winning streak to a season-high five games when they host former teammate Rafael Furcal and the Los Angeles Dodgers in the opener of a three-game series on Monday.
Atlanta (27-23) powered its way to a three-game sweep of the Chicago Cubs on Sunday, hitting a club-record eight home runs in a 13-12 win in 11 innings. The Braves concluded a 6-3 road trip with the sweep and now begin a 10-game homestand against Furcal and the Dodgers (28-22).
Furcal will be facing his former team for the first time in Atlanta since leaving the Braves for a $39 million, three-year deal with the Dodgers. Furcal, who spent his first six seasons with the Braves, went 4-for-14 (.286) with five runs as the Dodgers lost two of three to the Braves in Los Angeles to open the season.
On Sunday, Edgar Renteria and Adam LaRoche each hit two homers, Marcus Giles hit a three-run shot and Atlanta also got solo home runs from Andruw Jones, Ryan Langerhans and Brayan Pena to break the club record set on Aug. 3, 1967.
“It definitely was a crazy game. A lot of things happened, a lot of runs put up, a lot of home runs. Back and forth. It was a bizarre game but the best part about it is we came out on top,” Giles said.
With the victory, the Braves tied their longest win streak of the season and improved to 15-5 in their last 20 games. The surge has moved Atlanta—looking for its 15th straight division title—within 3 1/2 games of the NL East-leading New York Mets.
John Thomson (2-3, 3.04) will try to extend the Braves’ winning streak when he takes the mound Monday. The right-hander has been hit hard in his last two starts, but is 1-0 despite posting a 6.92 ERA over that span.
Thomson allowed two runs and two hits in 3 1-3 innings of relief against the Dodgers, but didn’t receive a decision in Atlanta’s 9-8 win on April 5. He is 0-4 with a 6.40 ERA in nine appearances against Los Angeles.
The Dodgers come into this series with two losses in their last three games after falling just twice in their previous 11 contests. Los Angeles had a seven-game winning streak snapped with a 10-4 defeat to Washington on Friday, beat the Nationals 3-1 on Saturday and again lost 10-4 on Sunday.
Dodgers right fielder J.D. Drew missed his second straight game with a sore shoulder Sunday and second baseman Jeff Kent sat out with a sprained left wrist. Los Angeles manager Grady Little said he’s hoping to have both players back for this game.
Brad Penny (5-1, 2.31) will try to help the Dodgers avoid consecutive losses for the first time since early May as he looks for his fourth straight win. The right-hander allowed four hits over five scoreless innings to beat Colorado 8-1 on Tuesday.
“It’s nice to have the good numbers, but I’d like to have more innings,” said Penny, who threw 104 pitches. “Guys have been fouling off a lot of pitches right now and I’ve been getting into deep pitch counts, but I’m pleased with the way things are going.”