The Atlanta Braves dropped an absolute dandy of a baseball game tonight by the score of 6-5 to the Chicago White Sox. Some shaky defense in left and a few too many two-strike hits surrendered allowed the Sox to take this one. Ronald Acuna Jr. belted two home runs on the night, unfortunately it just wasn’t enough.
If you were late getting to your seat you probably missed the first inning. Spencer Strider needed just ten pitches to get two strikeouts and a pop up. Not to be outdone, Lance Lynn had an eight-pitch first inning to breeze through Atlanta’s 1-2-3 hitters.
Somehow, Strider looked even better in the top of the second, as he struck out the side in order. Once again, Lynn would answer with a three strikeout inning of his own. Although, one was via pitch clock violation against Matt Olson.
We finally got some offense in the third inning. Sadly it was courtesy of Chicago as Remillard and Colas led off with back to back singles. The White Sox then struck first on a jam-shot single from Andrew Benintendi. Unfortunately, more runs would score on Luis Robert Jr’s 72.3 mph base knock and after the top of the third the Sox had a 3-0 lead.
Thankfully, the Braves joined in on the scoring third inning as Rosario kicked off the bottom half with a solo home run. That extended a franchise record streak of now 28 straight games with a homer. After a Michael Harris II walk, Ronald Acuña Jr. hit his 22nd home run on the season for good measure and we were tied back at three.
Strider got back in a groove in the fourth as he worked around a one-out double from Jake Burger. He stranded Burger on third by striking out Colas on a beautiful 2-2 changeup. Lynn then worked around a walk to Ozuna for a scoreless bottom half of the fourth.
In the fifth inning, Rosario continued to have a very rough night defensively. After Strider gave up a hit to the nine-hole hitter, Rosario misplayed a fly ball off the bat of Benintendi again. For the second time Rosario charged in only for the ball go under his glove and get behind him; This allowed the runner from first to come all the way around and score, thus giving Chicago a 4-3 lead.
Much to the theme of the night, Atlanta was ready to answer every punch the White Sox threw. Lynn looked to be on the way to a shutdown inning until Ozzie Albies hit a two-out triple high off the wall. Riley then followed with a game-tying single.
In the sixth the White Sox once again reclaimed the lead. Strider was struggling to put hitters away with two strikes all night, and he got bit once again when Burger hit an opposite field two-strike homer into the chop house.
Strider’s final line didn’t look the best, but when you dig deeper you’ll see it was a pretty good start. He went 6 IP, 8 H, 5 ER, and 10 Ks. However, he was really hurt by bad defense in left, as he finished with a 2.11 FIP for the ballgame.
Joe Jimenez was the first to come out the Atlanta bullpen, and was greeted rudely as Colas doubled on the first pitch he threw. After a sacrifice bunt (yes really a bunt) Benintendi drove in his third run of the night on another opposite field hit.
Gregory Santos continued to work in the bottom of the seventh, and featured some nasty 100-plus mph sinkers. He did give up a single to Ronald, but his impressive night ended with 1.2 innings of impressive relief work. Alex Anthopoulos, if you’re reading this make the call to Chicago please and thank you.
Chicago took a 6-4 lead in the top of the eighth and saw Michael Tonkin enter the game. He continued his great work on the season with a scoreless frame.
The White Sox brought in Keynan Middleton to try and hold their two-run lead in the bottom of the eighth. Olson started a potential rally with an opposite field double. Middleton then stuck out Murphy and followed that with a walk to Ozuna.
This brought Pillar to the plate to face the right-handed reliever. Manager Brian Snitker then went to his best weapon on the bench by allowing Travis d’Arnaud to pinch-hit for Pillar. However, Middleton stepped up big time an executed a perfect 3-2 fastball and got d’Arnaud to swing and miss.
Arcia worked a walk, and that set the stage for the most intense AB of the night. Michael Harris II came up with the bases loaded and two out trailing by two runs. Unfortunately, Middleton was able to tight-rope out of it by getting MH2 to pop out on a 2-1 changeup. A bummer, but some big-time pitch making from Middleton to quiet the crowd.
Tonkin worked a 1-2-3 frame in the top of the ninth and we were onto the last call for Atlanta with the top of the order due up. It was Kendall Graveman who came on for the save, and he promptly gave up a home-run to NL MVP frontrunner Ronald Acuna Jr. (His second on the night).
It now was a 6-5 game and Truist Park was on the edge of their seat. Ozzie blooped a hit to right, and then stole second. The moment continued to build, runner now in scoring position with no one out. Graveman made his best pitches against Riley as he struck him out quickly. Matt Olson then followed with a base hit that somehow got down in front of Benintendi.
Runners on the corners, one out and one of the Braves best players in 2023 coming to the plate in the form of Sean Murphy. As badly, as we wanted to send Truist park into a frenzy it wasn’t meant to be on this night. Graveman made threw a devastating 96 mph sinker that broke Murphy’s bat and resulted in a game-ending double play. Final score 6-5, Chicago White Sox win. The Braves will try and win the rubber match tomorrow with Kolby Allard on the mound.