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News » Braves-Blue Jays Preview 2008-06-28

Braves-Blue Jays Preview 2008-06-28

Braves-Blue Jays Preview 2008-06-28
While pitching in the National League, A.J. Burnett faced the Atlanta Braves regularly. He's hoping his struggles against them are over since switching leagues.

Burnett takes the mound Sunday when the Toronto Blue Jays close out a three-game series with the Braves.

Burnett (7-7, 5.07 ERA) was 4-9 with a 4.20 ERA in 15 starts and one relief appearance against the Braves (40-42) while a member of the Florida Marlins from 1999-2005. He's faced them once since signing with the Blue Jays (39-43), but did not receive a decision in that 2006 start despite allowing two runs and four hits in six innings of Toronto's 3-2 win.

On Sunday, Burnett will look for his first win against Atlanta in seven starts since July 22, 2002. The nine losses are his most against any team, though he is 3-2 with a 1.59 ERA versus the Braves when pitching at home.

The right-hander is looking to win back-to-back starts Sunday following his best outing of the season against Cincinnati on Tuesday. Burnett pitched eight-innings - matching a season high - allowing one run and four hits while striking out seven in the 14-1 win.

With the victory, he improved to 4-3 and lowered his home ERA to 6.75.

Manager Cito Gaston said Burnett "pitched like a champion."

The Blue Jays will try to win the series after a 9-5 victory on Saturday. Vernon Wells homered and drove in three runs for the Blue Jays, and is 8-for-22 (.364) with six RBIs on the current six-game homestand.

Toronto has scored 43 runs and a team batting average of .319 while winning four of its last six.

"I think guys are finally realizing how good they are," said Jays catcher Rod Barajas, who also homered, to the team's official Web site. "I think early on, it was a struggle. We weren't getting hits. We weren't moving runners over and doing the little things. But once you put three, four or five out of six games together where you are successful, your confidence shoots out the roof."

Mark Teixeira homered for the sixth time in as many games for the Braves, who rallied within 6-5 in the eighth before the bullpen gave up three in the bottom half of the inning.

"We made a nice comeback," manager Bobby Cox told the Braves' official Web site. "But then we couldn't hold them again."

Teixeira - batting .333 (16-for-48) with 14 RBIs in interleague play - is 9-for-20 with 11 RBIs his last six games.

Toronto, which has won four of its last six, faces Atlanta's Jo-Jo Reyes (3-5, 4.48), who is looking to bounce back from one of his worst outings of the season. The left-hander allowed four runs and six hits in 2 1-3 innings against Milwaukee on Monday in his shortest start of the season.

Reyes, who has never faced the Blue Jays, is 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA in three interleague starts this year.

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: June 29, 2008

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