Brave Recap: Atlanta drops series as bullpen falters again
The Atlanta Braves came into Sunday's matinee with the Astros in desperate need of a victory. After dropping last nights game 6-3, Atlanta was in danger of being swept, and potentially falling out of first place in the NL East, the Braves turned to their ace Max Fried to try and stop the bleeding. Houston countered with Cristian Javier in what promised to be a low scoring affair.
Both pitchers delivered on that promise in the early going with Max Fried in particular being in top form. The left handed ace was in peak form for Atlanta. Fried threw 6 2/3 innings of shut out baseball striking out five versus only 3 walks and 3 hits on the day. Fried worked around a little bit of traffic all day with some help from his defense. The only real threat he faced came in the seventh inning. Fried walked both Alex Bregman and Kyle Tucker. With two outs, Brian Snitker went to the pen and Nick Anderson struck out Jeremy Pena looking to end the threat.
As good as Max Fried was, Cristian Javier was just as excellent. The right hander struck out a whoping ten Braves over the course of 6 innings. Javier was cruising until the fifth when the Braves got on the board with a solo shot from Kevin Pillar who got the start in left field today.
The Braves would extend the lead in the following frame. Ronald Acuna Jr doubled to lead off the frame, followed by a Matt Olson walk. From there the Braves got a little help. Austin Riley grounded into what should have been a double play, but Mauricio Dubon threw the ball away and Acuna was able to score with some heads up baserunning.
Unfortunately, the recently beleaguered Atlanta pen couldn't nail this one down. In the top of the 8th, Anderson stayed on and had two outs before running into some trouble. Anderson gave up a single and a walk to load the bases, and Snitker went to the pen to bring on A.J. Minter to face the always dangerous Yordan Alvarez. Minter wasn't quite up to the task, giving up a single to right that scored two to even the score at 2 all before striking out Jose Abreu to end the danger. The wheels fell off in the ninth as Minter gave up two singles and a walk before being lifted for Danny Young. Young hit the first batter he faced before giving up a 2 run single to Alex Bregman extending the lead to 5-2.
The Braves would briefly threaten in the bottom of the ninth as Matt Olson walked and Ozzie Albies was hit by a pitch to bring the tying run to the plate in the form of Eddie Rosario. Unfortunatly, he grounded into a double play before Sam Hilliard struck out to end the game. Atlanta will look to turn the page and start up another winning streak tomorrow when the fighting fish come to town. The Miami Marlins have had a surprisingly strong start to the season and find themselves coming in to the contest at 12-10 and within striking distance of the division lead. The Marlins will send Edward Cabrera to the mound while Atlanta will counter with Spencer Strider in what should be another great contest between two young pitchers.