What a series! The Braves may not have swept the Pirates, but they definitely broke out offensively and were able to score multiple runs an inning, all through the lineup. Starting pitching also continued to go well for the Braves, and in the last three games of the series, the bullpen was much better than we’ve seen.
Game One: Drew Smyly vs. Wil Crowe, Braves lost 6-4
Drew Smyly’s start for the Braves started out looking like it was going to be a rough one, but he turned that around and pitched a good quality six innings for the Braves. He allowed six hits, three runs, only one walk, and he had seven strikeouts. Although the three runs he gave up were all via home run, it was nice to see Smyly be able to hold the score for the Pirates at 3 and give his team a chance to come back.
The Braves tried hard for the comeback! In the bottom of the second inning, William Contreras hit a three run homer to left field, giving the Braves the lead at 3-2. Then, in the bottom of the sixth inning, (after the Pitsburg Pirates scored their third run) Dansby Swanson hit a two run bomb to left field, making it 4-3 Braves.
Sean Newcomb started the seventh inning for the Braves. He got two outs in his appearance, but he also surrendered the lead and made it a tied ballgame. The game remained tied and went into extra innings.
Jacob Webb came on to pitch the top of the tenth inning. This was his first appearance on the mound for the Atlanta Braves since he hit Mets’ player Kevin Pillar in the face on May 17. You could tell that Webb was still uncomfortable on the mound, and he did not pitch inside to the Pirates players at all. He left everything over the plate and the Pirates didn’t miss a pitch. Webb gave up a lead off single and then an RBI single to Kevin Newman to make it 5-4 Pirates on top. He then got a forceout that advanced Newman to third, and then Grant Dayton came on in relief of Webb. He gave up a sac fly to make it 6-4 Pirates.
The Braves had no luck in the bottom of the ninth inning to make a comeback.
Game Two: Ian Anderson vs. Tyler Anderson, Braves won 20-1
Hehe. This was certainly a super fun game to watch. I mean, it’s not every day the Braves score 20 runs in a game, right?! The Braves scored early in this game, and didn’t stop scoring until it was over.
Ian Anderson did a fantastic job pitching for the Braves in this game. He went six innings, allowed six hits, gave up zero runs, and ZERO walks. Not to mention he also had six strikeouts. It was nice to see Anderson be able to have command over his ball-to-strike ratio and not give up any walks. That is a huge component to have from your starting pitcher. Free baserunners pretty much always come around and score, and those hurt your team the worst. But Anderson didn’t not pitch himself into any trouble and had a great outing.
In the bottom of the first inning, Ozzie Albies had an RBI double, his thirteenth of the season, which scored Ronald Acuña Jr. and gave the Braves a 1-0 lead. After my man Ozzie got the scoring started, the Braves they were on fire offensively!
In the bottom of the second inning, Dansby Swanson led off with a double, followed by a walk to Kevan Smith, who was making his Atlanta Braves’ debut as catcher. That walk was followed by a single to Guillermo Heredia to load the bases. After Ian Anderson struck out, Ronald Acuña Jr was in the batter’s box for the Braves. After working a full count, Acuña got a pitch off the plate and drove it into the seats of the Chop House for a grand slam. The Braves extended their lead to 5-0. Acuña once again added onto the scoring in the bottom of the fourth inning with a sac fly that scored Guillermo Heredia making it 6-0, all Braves.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, Ozuna led off with a four pitch walk. Ozzie Albies was up to bat, and after working a 2-1 count, Ozzie hit a home run to left center field making it 8-0 Braves. Yay! After Ozzie had gotten his Panda hug in the dugout, Austin Riley sent a bomb out of the ballpark for a solo home run making it 9-0. That was just the second time the Atlanta Braves had gone back-to-back with home runs all season.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, the Braves hit yet another home run. This one was by Marcell Ozuna. He hit it to left field and extended the lead to 10-0, all Braves. The very next inning, the Braves once again added on. Austin Riley hit another home run and then following his homer, Dansby Swanson hit one out of the park. That made it 12-0 Braves and the third time the Braves had hit back-to-back homers this season… the second of that night!
As if the Braves hadn’t scored enough… they added on big time to their already huge lead in the bottom of the eighth. Freddie Freeman led the inning off with a walk. Ozuna followed his walk with a double, and then Ozzie had a walk. The bases were loaded with no one out. Riley had a sac fly to score Freeman and make it 13-0. Swanson came up to bat and he had a walk. Then the Braves catcher Kevan Smith, had an RBI single that score Ozuna, making it 14-0. The Braves still had the bases loaded. Heredia was up to bat next and he had another RBI single making it 15-0 Braves. The Braves played their other baserunner station to station, so they still had the bases loaded with one out.
Ehire Adrianza came on to pinch-hit for Josh Tomlin, who pitched two scoreless innings for the Braves in relief of Anderson. On the FIRST PITCH he saw Adrianza hit a GRAND SLAM into the Chop House making it 19-0 Braves. Following the grand slam, Acuña struck out then Freeman had a double and Ozuna scored him with another double making it 20-0 Braves. Wow!
It would’ve been amazing for the Braves to have shut out the Pirates 20-0. Jacob Webb pitched the ninth inning for the Braves. He was still looking for a bounce-back start after hitting Kevin Pillar of the Mets in the face on May 17. He got the first guy out with no problem, but then Webb allowed a walk to Erik Gonzalez. It was the only walk a Braves pitcher gave to the Pirates in the entire game. It would’ve been so great to see the Braves pitching staff go an entire game without giving up a walk, but that wasn’t meant to be. After the walk, Webb gave up a single to Ben Gamel. Gonzalez advanced to third base on a throwing error by Webb. He then got a strikeout of Cole Tucker, and then gave up a RBI single to Will Craig making the score 20-1. Webb got the final out of the inning without giving up anymore runs. The one run that the Pirates score was the walk that Jacob Webb gave up… walks always come back to haunt a pitcher.
Following that bullpen appearance, Jacob Webb was sent down to Triple-A Gwinnett. I think that was a smart move for the Braves to make, and I personally thing that the Atlanta Braves coaching staff should have made that move a long time ago.
Game Three: Bryse Wilson vs. Mitch Keller, Braves won 6-1
Most of the time after a team has a blow out game, they don’t always score a lot of runs or win the next game. The Braves however took the momentum of the night before and carried it into this game.
Bryse Wilson pitched very well for the Braves. He went 6.2 innings allowing only five hits, one run, two walks, and he struck out four Pittsburgh batters. Wilson never really struggled in this outing. He had a few baserunners scattered here and there and gave up a solo home run to Michael Perez in the top of the third, but that was it.
The Braves started the scoring early. In the Bottom of the first inning, Ronald Acuña Jr. led the game off with a first pitch solo home run giving the Braves a 1-0 lead. It’s impressive to see Acuña be able to hit a homer on the first pitch, especially with how far he can hit them! The Braves added onto their lead in the bottom of the first on an RBI single by Austin Riley that scored Freddie Freeman and made it 2-0 Braves. In the bottom of the third inning, Freeman had an RBI single that scored Ender Inciarte, making it 3-0 Braves still on top.
Braves were up 3-1 in the bottom of the fifth inning. Freeman led off the inning with a four-pitch walk. Marcell Ozuna followed him with a flyout, and that brought Ozzie Albies up to the plate. (He was hitting from the left side.) On the first pitch he saw, he hit a BOMB into the seats in right center field for a two-run homer making it 5-1 Braves. And then, as if one home run wasn’t enough, Ozzie hit a solo home run in the bottom of the seventh inning from the right side of the plate, making it 6-1 Braves.
Ozzie may be little, but he has gigantic power! He really showed that with those two home runs. He definitely powered the Braves, along with good pitching, into another Braves win against the Pirates.
Game Four: Max Fried vs. JT Brubaker, Braves won 7-1
Max Fried got off to a shaky start for the Braves but settled down and pitched a great game. He went seven innings allowing only four hits, one run, three walks, and had two strikeouts.
The one run that Fried gave up was on an RBI double by Bryan Reynolds. That gave them a 1-0 lead, but Max was able to stop the Pirates there and give his Braves a chance to score.
The Atlanta Braves offense did just that. Acuña grounded out, and Freeman struck out to start off the inning. The Braves now had two outs, Ozuna had a single to keep the Braves alive in the inning. Ozzie followed Ozuna with an in-field single. Austin Riley came up to bat and he turned the game around for Atlanta with a three run home run. Whew! This kid’s got some home run power.
Austin Riley added onto the Braves lead in the bottom of the third with another home run! This one was a two-run shot, making it 5-1 Braves. The Braves scored one more time in the bottom of the sixth inning on a two-run home run by Dansby Swanson, making it 7-1 Braves. That was the final score of the game.
One fun fact about all three home runs in game four of the series was that Ozzie was on base for all of them! He had a single in the first, was hit by a pitch in the third, and had another single in the bottom of the sixth. Albies really started to come to life in this series, and I’m sure it has made him and the coaching staff happy. It’s made me happy for sure!