The Atlanta Braves came into Sunday's game with Milwaukee having scored 21 runs on 32 hits in the first two games of the series.
Sunday was no different despite the Brewers taking an early 1-0 lead over the Braves in the first inning. Unfortunately for Milwaukee, Atlanta has owned the first inning all season long. Austin Riley proved that by launching a 2-run homer in the bottom of the first to put Atlanta up 2-1.
Atlanta leads all of Major League Baseball in the first inning with 109 runs scored and a +72 run differential in the first inning in 2023. This team is on pace to score 170 runs in the first inning and the MLB record for first-inning runs is 160 which was set back in 1950 by the Red Sox.
The Braves' offense has a .337 average with 32 homers, 109 RBI, and a 1.025 OPS in the first inning through 103 games this year. That is absolutely insane and likely won't change any time soon.
A.J. Smith-Shawver had better velocity in this game but struggled with command. Christian Yelich tied things up in the top of the third inning with a solo home run to lead off the inning and Carlos Santana launched a line drive homer into the Chop House to give the Brew Crew a 3-2 lead.
Brewers starter Colin Rea could not keep the Atlanta offense at bay as he allowed a single to Acuna, walked Riley, and allowed the first of two home runs for Matt Olson on the day as he launched a 3-run shot to right field to put Atlanta up 5-3.
Smith-Shawver settled down after the third and was able to complete 5 innings of work allowing just the 3 runs on 4 hits. What hurt him most during this outing was the 4 walks issued but he did manage to get 3 strikeouts. Just really needs to hone in on his command a bit and maybe slow things down on the mound a bit. It definitely felt like he was rushing to the plate at times.
He was relieved by Colin McHugh in the 6th inning and McHugh did not have a good time. A walk to Blake Perkins loaded the bases for the Brewers and got Christian Yelich to ground into a potential double play to end the inning but Atlanta was only able to get one out and Milwaukee pulled within one run of Atlanta.
Former Brave, William Contreras then laced a two-run double to center field to put the Brewers up 6-5 and turn things over to a bullpen that has been incredible all season. McHugh got out of the inning but after allowing 3 runs on 3 hits with 1 walk in this outing. Over his last 9.1 innings, McHugh has a 5.79 ERA with 6 runs allowed on 11 hits. Just a bit of a rough patch for the Brave reliever at the moment.
Luckily for Colin, his teammates picked him up pitching and hitting-wise. The bullpen locked things down the rest of the day as Jimenez, Yates, and Iglesias combined for 3 innings of no-hit baseball with 1 walk and 7 strikeouts.
Matt Olson picked the Braves up with his second homer of the day during the bottom of the 8th. Ozzie Albies doubled and Olson launched a 2-run shot 431 feet to center field to put Atlanta up 8-6 and turn things over to Iglesias to close things out.
Iglesias did just that as he struck out the side to give the Braves their 67th win of the season and complete a sweep of Milwaukee. This was their 10th series sweep of the 2023 season. The Braves scored a total of 29 runs on 41 hits this weekend and seemingly have returned to their first-half form.
Marcell Ozuna, Austin Riley, and Matt Olson continue their incredible offensive performances this month. Olson, specifically, is on pace to break his career high in home runs and RBI. His career high in homers is 39 and his career high in RBI is 111 of them.
Right now, Olson is on pace for 55 homers (which would break a record set by Andruw Jones in 2005) and 138 RBI (this would break a record set by Gary Sheffield in 2003). It's safe to say, Matt Olson is a man on a mission and he has no intentions of stopping.
Atlanta welcomes Shohei Ohtani and the Los Angeles Angels starting on Monday evening. Fans will be treated to seeing two home run leaders and two MVP candidates square off at Truist Park. This is one series you do NOT want to miss.