Atlanta Braves win series against Giants
After building a big lead on a hot day, the Atlanta Braves ended up holding on for dear life against a Giants team desperate for a comeback.
The Atlanta Braves are now halfway through this week’s gauntlet of games as they finished off a 4-game set against San Francisco with a 7-6 victory… taking the series by a 3-1 margin.
It wasn’t entirely a dominating set of wins — particularly since yesterday’s huge 9th inning comeback was required to secure one victory — but against teams like the Giants, there’s almost never such a thing as “domination”.
Nonetheless, it started looking like the day might be a cakewalk early on… with temperatures hot enough to bake a cake, it seemed. Officially, temps peaked this afternoon at 98 degrees in the metro area… and that was in the shade.
Accordingly, manager Brian Snitker gave the day off to a couple of his regular players. Ronald Acuna was one of those; he was replaced in right field by Guillermo Heredia.
Oddly, though, Austin Riley was the other. It’s odd because he was given a day off on Wednesday also. That said, Riley did enter Wednesday’s game as a late-inning pinch hitter, staying in to play third base.
That hints at maybe Riley being a bit banged up, but since we’ve heard nothing specific, we’ll just expect that he’s good to go for the weekend series against the Dodgers.
The Braves jump out big early
Kyle Wright struggled early, but was bailed out by double plays in multiple innings… like four of them. That certainly kept the Giants down for quite a while.
Despite a lot of early extra pitches and the heat, Wright managed to get into the 6th inning before ending his day with 91 pitches thrown. He was charged with 4 of San Fran’s runs overall with 10 hits and 4 strikeouts, but the walks (! by Wright) were kept to a minimum by the entire staff… something that certainly helped out today.
Alex Wood — Wright’s opposite number — didn’t fare as well. He was greeted rudely by Dansby Swanson, who did his best Acuna impersonation by ritually killing a baseball to center field… some 430-ish feet away.
It was the second inning, though, that became Wood’s unmanageable obstacle course.
After a walk to Arcia, Phil Gosselin punched a ball between third baseman Evan Longoria and shortstop Thairo Estrada. It was ruled a hit.
Heredia then walked and Michael Harris II — our newest wunderkid — singled in the second Braves run.
Rather than pitch to a red-hot Dansby Swanson, Wood then hit him. Okay, that’s probably not exactly the reason he was thumped, but it might have saved (or at least deferred) the Giants a couple of extra runs. Either way, this still accounted for the second run of the inning.
Another near-miss single came from Travis d’Arnaud… mind you, there’s still nobody out in the inning and now 4 runs are on the board… but Wood’s day is now done.
A sacrifice fly later (Ozuna) and it’s 6-1 in favor of the Braves… with a total of five tallies for the inning as Olson and Contreras made outs to finish up the frame.
In the 4th… another homer by Swanson (you thought I was maybe kidding about hitting him earlier?). That made it 7-1.
In case you’re counting, that made 3 homers totaling over 1250 feet in length over his prior 3 official at-bats. That’s pretty stout. It also gives him 12 homers for the season… second in the majors and tops in the National League.
The Giants didn’t quit. A homer in the 5th. A double (Tommy La Stella) in the 6th (which had followed a ground-out RBI). Now it’s 7-4.
Will Smith handled the 8th inning, but he was touched up for a run… 7-5.
Kenley Jansen came in to close out the 9th inning, but Joc Pederson — of course — drilled a 3-2 pitch into the Chop House. 7-6.
At least at that point there were already 2 outs and nobody else was on base.
A fly out from Longoria ended the contest and gave Atlanta the win… their 40th of the season.
The Atlanta Braves are now 41-30 on the year and have clawed themselves up to a deficit of just 4 games in the NL East behind the idle Mets.
Their 18-3 June record is the best in baseball at this moment (with Houston leading the Yankees late).
New York heads to Miami while the Braves host the (suddenly vulnerable) Dodgers.
It’s not who you play sometimes, but when you play them. It’ll be a fun weekend to watch more baseball.