Game Recap: Braves fail to overcome Strider’s shortest outing of season, fall to PIT

The Atlanta Braves dropped their third game in a row, this time a defeat at the hands of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Spencer Strider had his shortest outing of the season and the bats were unable to climb all the way back.
Atlanta Braves v Pittsburgh Pirates
Atlanta Braves v Pittsburgh Pirates / Justin K. Aller/GettyImages
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Braves fans got an unexpected feeling at the end of Spencer Strider day. That feeling was overwhelming sadness as they sat through a rain delay only to watch the Braves fail to climb back from an early hole.

The final score was a 7-6 Pirates victory, making it three straight losses for the Atlanta Braves. Strider’s final line was one of his roughest of the season, 2.2 IP (season low), 5 H, 6 ER, 3 BB, and just 3 Ks (previous season low was 6).

Rookie pitcher Osvaldo Bido had a strong first inning as he got two outs on five pitches, then proceeded to strike out Austin Riley on a good slider. Spencer Strider followed the same format script as he got two flyouts on four pitches and struck out Andrew McCutchen to end the first inning of action.

Bido continued his stellar work as he picked up two more strikeouts in the top of the second. Endy Rodriguez registered the first hit of the night when his two-out double broke up an early string of three consecutive strikeouts. Strider was able to get out of it unscathed though as he got a flyout to center to end the second inning.

I looked down at my phone and the Braves had already been retired by Bido in the third. A quick 1-2-3 inning got Bido through three innings on less than 30 pitches. The Pirates created the best initial scoring opportunity of the night when Liover Peguero doubled to lead off the third.

Pittsburgh was able to cash in with a little ABC baseball. Peguero scored on a groundout, despite a drawn in infield a bobble from Orlando Arcia allowed the first run to score. Then Strider ran into a lot of two out trouble as the Pirates started to string together some offense.

It all started with a two-out walk as it often does. McCutchen then doubled off the centerfield wall to score another run, and that was followed by an RBI single from 2021 number one overall pick Henry Davis. The command issues continued for Strider as he issued back to back two out walks to load the bases.

The back breaker for Strider then came after Jared Triolo singled up the middle to make it a five run inning for the Buccos and end the night for Spencer Strider. Going just 2.2 IP made it the shortest outing for Strider in 2023. These things happen though, Strider is still very very good. It’s baseball, flush it and move on.

The game did move on as well, and Snit went to his go to long relief option this year in Michael Tonkin to try and save the bullpen. The Pirates greeted him rudely as well and continued to bat around as another RBI single made it 6-0. Mercifully, Tonkin got a groundout next batter and the third inning was finally over.

Luckily the Braves offense woke up against the rookie pitcher after getting an AB under their belt, much like I predicted in the preview (humble brag). Ozzie started it off by hitting his 26th homer of the season just over the right field wall.

The next three balls put in play by the Braves were absolutely tattooed, with the lowest exit velocity coming in at 107.1 mph. It started with a hard hit double from Austin Riley, who then scored on a rocket single from the red hot Matt Olson.

Bido then plunked Sean Murphy to put him on base in front of Marcell Ozuna. He then laced an opposite field single to right that scooted under the glove of rookie Henry Davis. That misplay in right allowed Murphy to come all the way around and score and suddenly the Braves answered the Pirates six-run inning with four runs of their own.

Sadly, Connor Joe got one of those runs right back when he lead off the bottom of the fourth with a solo home run to right. The Pirates then went to their bullpen with a 7-4 lead in the form of Yerry De Los Santos. Michael Harris II greeted him with a single, but he got back to back outs before Riley smoked a single to center to chase him from the game.

Pirates manager Derek Shelton did not want Matt Olson to have a chance to tie the game off the righty De Los Santos. So, he went to left-hander Ryan Borucki to face Olson with runners on the corners. Olson didn’t homer, but he made Shelton pay with and RBI single to right, his 99th RBI of the season.

Borucki did get Murphy to flyout to centerfield though and the Pirates got out of the inning holding a 7-5 lead. Tonkin continued his good work out the pen to finish the fifth, and then the sky opened up and we entered a rain delay.

After a 1 hour 18 minute rain delay, play finally resumed at 10 PM EST and the Braves immediately put together a scoring threat in the sixth. Ozuna started things off with a walk and Arcia had a one-out single. Unfortunately, Harris II and Acuna made consecutive outs to end that threat.

The Pirates got a chance of their own in the bottom of the sixth via a couple walks, but Pierce Johnson bounced back and struck out McCutchen and Davis to squash that threat. He has now thrown 5.2 IP in a Braves uniform while not allowing an earned run and striking out eight.

The Pirates bullpen continued to put in good work as they worked through the heart of the Braves order with a hit less frame to end the game to the stretch. A.J. Minter then came on to work the bottom of the seventh.

He did give up a couple singles, but he was able to avoid trouble by picking off Suwinksi at second base just before he surrendered the second single.

Lefty Angel Perdomo came out for Pittsburgh in the eighth. Things started off great as Murphy got one of the most fortuitous bounces you can get on a baseball field. Murphy got jammed and looked to be a weak groundout to second, until the baseball hit the second base bag and ricocheted into the outfield allowing Murphy to reach first with a hit.

Ozuna then had a 103 mph lineout to left, so the baseball gods immediately balanced things out. This set up a lefty-lefty matchup with Rosario, but Snit went to his bench and pinch-hit for Rosario with veteran Travis d’Arnaud. Unfortunately, Perdomo was able to strikeout Travis with a 95 mph heater at the top of the zone. Up next was Arcia and it was the same result as he was set down on a fastball at the top of the zone.

Atlanta closer Raisel Iglesias then came out for his first action since August 1st against the Angels. He looked as crisp as ever as he quickly sat down the Pirates to keep the score at 7-5.

One of baseballs best closers came out in the ninth, that being Pittsburgh’s David Bednar. Coming into tonight he owned a 1.38 ERA and 2.08 FIP. So that made Michael Harris II’s leadoff AB all the more impressive as he worked a great AB that ended with a double off the wall. The double was the first extra-base hit Bednar had allowed since June 11th.

That set the stage for the top of the Braves lineup. First was MVP frontrunner Ronald Acuna Jr. who just missed a 98 mph fastball and flew out to center. Ozzie then grounded out to first to score Harris II from third and make it a 7-6 ballgame, but it cost them a precious second out. The final hope was Austin Riley, but Bednar stepped up and produced a groundout to polish off his 23rd save.

This marks three straight losses for the Braves. The pitching has left much to be desired in the second half and that’s not something I was prepared to type on Spencer Strider day. The return of Fried should help things, but it’s time for the pitching to start helping out the offense and take some pressure off them to score nearly double digits to win ballgames.

Hopefully, Yonny Chirinos can accomplish that and get the Braves off this skid, tommorow night as they continue their series with the Pirates at 7:05 PM EST at PNC Park.