It was another impressive showing from the Atlanta Braves offense on Friday night. The offense tagged Mitch Keller for 8 runs and 3 of those runs came via the home run ball. The remaining 5 runs were scored on base hits.
Bryce Elder started for the Braves and he looked excellent as he was able to complete 7 innings of 4 hit, 2-run ball with 1 walk, and 9 strikeouts. Elder looked more like his former self as he had better control and did a great job mixing his pitches. His slider looked the best it's looked in a while.
Mitch Keller has been one of the bright spots for the Pirates but he did not have his best tonight as the Braves tagged him for 8 runs on 12 hits with 4 strikeouts. Atlanta's offense scored 3 runs via home run and the remaining 5 runs were scored on RBI singles.
Ronald Acuna Jr. was 3-for-4 including his 35th homer of the season and drove in 2 runs during the game. Eddie Rosario performed well as he was 2-for-4 with a home run and 3 RBI. Orlando Arcia also had a great evening as he was 3-for-4 with an RBI.
It was smooth sailing for the Braves offense after scoring those 8 runs. The bullpen checked in after the 7th inning and kept the Pirates from scoring more than 2 runs. Dylan Lee, who is just now returning to the mound after an injury, allowed two singles in the inning but was able to escape with no further damage done.
Ben Heller pitched the bottom of the ninth and was able to set the Pirates down in order with a 1-2-3 bottom of the ninth inning. This gave Atlanta 92 wins on the season and dropped their magic number to 9 games. The Philadelphia Phillies later lost to the Marlins on Friday which dropped the Braves magic number down to 8.
Atlanta has kept pace with the 2019 Minnesota Twins who hit 307 homers in 2019 with 272 of them on the season now. Atlanta is just 35 home runs away from tying that record and 36 away from breaking it. It's definitely possible they could do so before the season ends.
Ronald Acuna Jr. hitting his 35th homer meant he is now just the 5th player in MLB history to record a 35 HR/35 SB. The other players to accomplish this feat are Alfonso Soriano, Barry Bonds, Boddy Bonds, and Willie Mays.
Everyone in this lineup is contributing at the moment and showing why they are the best team in baseball. Even the pitching is starting to come around so that's exactly what Atlanta needs as they approach the offseason
It was announced after the game that Dylan Dodd would be getting the start in game two as Atlanta pushes for a series win. Dodd with be opposed by Pirates pitcher Johan Oviedo as that game starts at 7
To make room for Dodd the club once again optioned Ben Heller back down after the game.