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Foltynewicz tightens hold on rotation spot

JUPITER, Fla. — Right-hander Mike Foltynewicz continues to pitch like he’s ready to forget 2016.

Making his third spring start, Foltynewicz gave up one run and allowed three base runners over four innings in the Braves’ 2-2, 10-inning tie against the St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday afternoon. Foltynewicz has allowed two runs in nine innings to tighten his hold on the fifth spot in the rotation.

Braves right-hander Akeel Morris took a 2-1 lead into the ninth, but issued a one-out walk, made an error on a pickoff throw and allowed two singles to even the score.

Foltynewicz made what he called was one of his few bad pitches when he served a first-pitch fastball that Matt Adams slugged over the right-field fence with one out in the fourth. Dexter Fowler tripled with two outs in the third for the Cardinals’ other hit off Foltynewicz, and he also issued a two-out walk in the second.

“Early on, everything was there,” said Foltynewicz, adding that he started “fading a little” as his pitch count climbed to more than 50. “We’re at a point where we’re putting everything together and have everything really start clicking. I’m pretty dang close.”

Foltynewicz said he has a “whole new mentality” after posting a 4.31 ERA in 123 1/3 innings over 22 starts in 2016 when his emotions sometimes affected his performance.

“I know he’s aware of keeping things in check and not letting things spiral out of control,” manager Brian Snitker said. “There was a couple of times today where it was teetering that way, but he kept himself together.”

“I’m going out there and giving it all I’ve got every game,” Foltynewicz said. “I have all the confidence in the world. I have to keep the walks down, trust my defense, and I know we’re going to score runs.”

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