As the Braves sought their eighth straight win, they began a four game home series against the sub-par Pirates, with an extremely favorable pitching matchup to boot.
Each pitcher worked through some first inning traffic for scoreless first innings, although the Pirates had some favorable BABIP luck, while the Braves did not. Max worked a perfect second and the Braves struck first in the bottom of the frame, as a d’Arnaud leadoff walk came around to score courtesy of an Adam Duvall single, despite an Ozuna GIDP that erased an Ozzie Albies single. Max worked around some more bad BABIP luck in the third to keep the Pirates scoreless. Ronald was hit on the first pitch of the bottom third and promptly swiped second. A bloop single from Dansby brought Ronald home. Travis d’Arnaud delivered with two outs as he smoked a double down the third base line as Dansby streaked around the bases to score from first, making the score 3-0 Atlanta.
Fried finally conceded a run in the fourth, on a one out solo homer (with a .430 xBA) to the rookie Jack Suwinski. That was the only baserunner in the fourth inning. The fifth and sixth innings were very quiet and Fried was pulled at the beginning of the seventh. Fried was fantastic, despite some rotten BABIP luck, as he worked 6.0 innings of one run ball with 8 strikeouts and no walks. Will Smith came on in relief and was actually quite good, striking out two in a perfect inning. Brubaker came back out for the seventh and got groundouts from Ozuna and Duvall before a Michael Harris single and a Ronald Acuna walk spelled trouble. The manager came out to remove Brubaker, but Brubaker apparently convinced him to let him try to finish the inning, and he struck out Dansby on a fastball down the middle to do just that.
AJ Minter, who has been fantastic this season, got the call in the eighth. It was more of the same from AJ, as he punctuated a 1-2-3 inning with a strikeout. Brubaker was finally yanked in the eighth, but the Braves offense didn’t get anything going against Chase DeJong. Kenley Jansen came in to close the game out with a two run lead and had a nice, easy 1-2-3- inning with two strikeouts. It wasn’t exactly a blowout, but it felt like a fairly comfortable win for Atlanta’s eighth straight.
Join us again tomorrow, same time, same place, same opponent.