It was yet another impressive showing from the Atlanta Braves as there were plenty of hits to go around and the pitching staff continued to flourish.
Atlanta came into this game off an 18-hit, 14-run barrage from Monday night. The hits kept on coming as the offense collected 15 of them. There were plenty of baserunners but the offense was only able to plate 3 runs during Tuesday's game.
Marcell Ozuna hit his 30th home run of the season and continued his impressive work offensively. He was the first run scored and Eddie Rosario just missed going back-to-back with him but was able to leg out a triple. Rosario then scored on a single from Sean Murphy to give Atlanta a 2-0 lead early on.
The 3rd and final run came in the 5th inning via a single from Marcell Ozuna that scored Austin Riley from third base. That's all the runs the team would score.
Ronald Acuna Jr. came very close to reaching the 30/60 club tonight with a three-run homer on a ball that was absolutely smashed to left field but fell just short. He hit the ball 418 feet with a 32-degree launch angle and an exit velocity of 107 mph. It would have been a home run in 28 of 30 MLB parks. Unfortunately for Ronald, he was hitting in the cavernous arena known as Coors Field.
Fans will have to wait another day to celebrate a historic moment for Acuna and the Braves organization. One more game at Coors Field and then Atlanta heads to Dodger Stadium for a four-game set with Los Angeles. Part of me wants him to accomplish the feat against the Dodgers instead.
The Braves held on to win the game 3-1 after a well-pitched game all around. The Rockies scored their lone run in the bottom of the second on a ground out to Matt Olson. Olson tagged first to get the second out of the inning and threw home to try and get the double play to end the inning.
However, his throw was just a tad late as the runner was able to score before the tag could be applied. It was a nice try on Olson's end but not a huge deal as the pitching hunkered down after that with no more runs allowed and just 3 total hits allowed.
Morton and the bullpen looked incredible
Morton looked more like the pitcher fans expected from the 2021 season as continued to mix his pitches well. He has relied less on the fastball/curveball mix and has started implementing his cutter even more and it's given him some great results.
Charlie completed 6 innings allowing just the 1 run on 3 hits with 2 walks and 8 strikeouts. He threw a total of 97 pitches (63 strikes) and kept his walk total low compared to what it has been at some points this season. This is the version of Charlie Morton we need to carry into the postseason.
As mentioned above, the Rockies only got 3 hits all game and that was during the 6 innings Morton pitched. After that, the Braves bullpen went to work and held Colorado scoreless through the final 3 innings.
Pierce Johnson faced his former team and struck out two batters in the inning. He's been a really nice addition to the Atlanta bullpen. He was followed by A.J. Minter who pitched a scoreless frame with a strikeout. Finally, Raisel Iglesias came in to close things out for the save and struck out a batter in a scoreless 9th as well.
The hunt for October continues
This earned the Braves their 86th win of the season as they inch closer to their sixth consecutive division championship. They still have the best record in baseball and show no signs of slowing down.
Atlanta's starting pitching has been great most of the year despite some struggles and injuries to key pitchers. They currently have 3 starters in the top 10 for ERA in the National League including Charlie Morton (3.29), Spencer Strider (3.46), and Bryce Elder (3.50).
The bullpen has been great too despite having a rough start to the second half. They still have the best relief ERA in the NL and second-best in all of baseball with a 3.40 ERA.
When you add great pitching alongside the best offense in all of baseball, you get results like this. Atlanta is on pace to win 100+ games on the season and have the depth to make an incredible postseason run.
Marcell Ozuna's home run on Tuesday gave the Braves their 247th homer of the season and puts them just 3 home runs away from breaking the franchise record (249) for home runs in a single season. That record was set by the 2019 Braves and is certainly going to be passed by a decent margin.
He is also the 3rd Brave to reach 30 homers this season and there are two more players right on the doorstep of 30 homers which would give the Braves 5 players with 30 or more homers. That would tie an MLB record set by the 2019 Minnesota Twins who also hold the MLB record for homers in a season with 307 of them.
Fun fact: Eddie Rosario was a part of the 2019 Twins team and was one of the players with 30 homers that season.
Atlanta is on pace for 307 homers at the moment and likely will at least break the NL record for most homers in a season. The 2019 Dodgers hold the NL record with 279 homers in a single season. It just feels like this Braves team is meant to make history.