Jaime Garcia quiets Dodgers in start, also slugs grand slam

Jaime Garcia was back on the mound Friday night -- for the Atlanta Braves.

And his performance only helped his trade value.

Garcia, the veteran left-hander at the center of trade talks with the Minnesota Twins just 24 hours earlier, took the ball for Atlanta and gave up three runs and seven hits over seven innings as the Braves rolled to a 12-3 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers.

And just to boot, Garcia also hit a grand slam off Alex Wood in the fifth inning -- the first for a Braves pitcher since 1966.

"Very impressed how he put everything aside and did his job. He was really good again, just like he was the other day, on Sunday," Braves manager Brian Snitker said, referring to Garcia's win over the Diamondbacks in which he allowed one run in seven innings. "I'm pretty impressed with how he separated everything and stayed focused and gave us a great start."

On Thursday, the Twins reportedly were in the final stages of acquiring Garcia in a trade that would have landed Atlanta a minor leaguer.

"I was aware stuff was going on because of family members and friends reaching out," Garcia said after Friday's win. "Last night when I went home, my focus was 100 percent getting ready for this start.''

Indeed, Garcia seemed unfazed by the speculation. He held the best team in the majors quiet behind four strikeouts and one walk before leaving to start the eighth after 91 pitches.

His offense -- something he wouldn't showcase if traded to the Twins -- wasn't too shabby, either.

The grand slam was the first by a major league pitcher since Madison Bumgarner in 2014, the eighth overall by a Braves pitcher and only the third by pitcher on an 0-2 count (dating to 1930).

"That was pretty unbelievable," Garcia said. "I've never hit a grand slam in my life, not even in Little League."

Twins manager Paul Molitor wouldn't specifically address Garcia on Friday but acknowledged the rumors. His team is 48-47, just 1½ games behind the first-place Cleveland Indians in the AL Central.

"Our guys are very open-minded about certain situations," Molitor said, according to MLB.com. "I saw rumors this morning about what was going on. That's just the nature of how these things go."

Entering Friday, Garcia had gone 3-7 with a 4.33 ERA in 17 starts over the past three-plus months for the Braves, who picked up the 31-year-old in an offseason trade with the St. Louis Cardinals for a trio of prospects.

Garcia has spent the majority of his injury-interrupted career with the Cardinals, going 62-45 with a 3.57 ERA in eight seasons for St. Louis. He was third in Rookie of the Year voting in 2010, went 13-7 the following season while helping St. Louis win the World Series and threw 171⅔ innings in 2016 -- the second most of his career.

But the veteran starter, who is making $12 million this year, has a history of shoulder trouble and was just 10-13 with a 4.67 ERA for the Cardinals last season.