Atlanta's late offensive surge backs dominant outing by Spencer Strider

Jun 26, 2023; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Spencer Strider (99) throws
Jun 26, 2023; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Spencer Strider (99) throws / Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Spencer Strider had been struggling a bit in recent months for the Atlanta Braves but his last start against the Phillies showed he was back on the right track.

Strider's velocity was back to the level fans expect from the flamethrowing right-hander. He faced a Minnesota Twins offense on Monday night that has struggled a bit offensively but an offense that hits a lot of homers.

Strider was up to the task as he looked completely locked in on Monday evening. He was pitching with confidence the entire game. Joey Gallo was able to tag Strider for a solo home run in the top of the second inning but that's all the Twins would get.

Strider settled in nicely after that and went on to strike out 10 batters through 7 innings. He allowed just one run on three hits and only issued two walks. There wasn't a lot of stress for Strider on the mound and seeing him pitch so dominantly was encouraging to see.

His fastball was great, his slider was nasty, and his changeup was a perfect compliment to keep the Twins batters off balance. The Braves offense struggled early on against Sonny Gray but eventually, they scored in the fourth inning.

With two runners on, Travis d'Arnaud hit a ground ball that should have been a double play. However, Austin Riley scored as there was an error by Minnesota first baseman, Alex Kirilloff. d'Arnaud was safe at first and advanced to second since the ball ended up in the Braves' dugout.

The game remained in a pitcher's duel at that point as Gray and Strider kept both offenses at bay. In the seventh inning, Marcell Ozuna decided that was enough and hit a solo home run to left field to give Atlanta a 2-1 lead.

Michael Harris II would then single to reach first base and give the current NL MVP frontrunner, Ronald Acuña Jr an opportunity to bust things open. Ronald did just that as he absolutely obliterated a pitch down the middle to give Atlanta a 4-1 lead heading into the eighth inning.

Collin McHugh was the first man not named Spencer Strider to take the mound for the Braves. McHugh was a little shakey as he allowed two singles in the inning but was able to get to two outs in the inning. Brian Snitker decided not to take any chances and brought in Ben Heller to face Carlos Correa.

Heller was able to induce a pop out on a nice cutter going away from Correa. Acuña caught the final out of the inning and sent things to the bottom of the eighth inning.

The bottom of the eighth was pretty quiet for Atlanta outside of a walk by Travis d'Arnaud. This led us to the ninth inning where Kirby Yates would attempt to get his first save since 2020. Yates got the first batter to pop out and then allowed a single to Donovan Solano. He then struck out Joey Gallo and Byron Buxton to earn the save.

Yates has a 2.08 ERA through his last 8.2 innings pitched allowing just 2 runs on 7 hits with 13 strikeouts. His WHIP sits at 0.81 during that time frame as well.

Atlanta now has 51 wins on the season and continues to show why they are one of the best offenses in all of baseball. The pitching isn't far behind and it's crazy to think the team is just a month or so away from adding Max Fried back to the rotation.

Game two of Atlanta's series with the Twins gets underway at 7:20 PM EST and will feature Bryce Elder and Joe Ryan.