Recap: Braves bats’ play home run derby in route to 10-3 win over Royals
By Chase Owens
It took just three batters into the ballgame for the Atlanta Braves to claim a 3-0 lead, courtesy of back to back home runs from their corner infielders. Nothing from Royals starter, Brady Singer, was fooling the Braves offense as they tagged him for four homers and eight runs in his five innings of work. Partner that with six solid innings from Braves starter Charlie Morton, and more excellent bullpen work that led to a 10-3 win in one of the more dominant wire to wire wins all year for the Atlanta Braves.
As the first inning continued Vaughn Grissom got his first at-bat since returning to the majors and promptly hit a RBI double to score Eddie Rosario and make it 4-0. However, in Grissom’s first opportunity on the defensive side he double clutched on a ground ball and allowed Bobby Witt Jr. to showcase his elite sprint speed and reach base safely. Grissom then was unable to connect with Morton covering first base on a potential double play ball, as his throw sailed into the dugout and allowed the first Royals run to score.
Sam Hilliard quickly got that run right back as he hit his first homer as a Brave to lead off the second inning. That wasn’t the end of the fireworks in the top half of the second as we Brian Snitker get ejected for the first time this season. This came after an odd play where Royals left fielder Edward Olivares treated a Matt Olson fly ball like it was several rows in the foul seats, but instead the ball hit off the yellow line on the wall. Originally the ball was ruled foul, but after a Braves challenge the call was overturned. However, Snitker’s anger came when the baserunners were ruled to be placed at first and second base on a ball even Matt Olson could’ve legged out for a double.
After the ejection play would resume and the Braves offense kept on going to work. This time thanks to a two-run producing double from Braves catcher Sean Murphy. And after two short innings the Braves had a 7-1 lead.
The old baseball cliché that the ball will find you was apparent in the bottom half of the third inning as it seemed every ball put in play was at the Braves new shortstop. After an error from Grissom to get things started the kid was able to repay his pitcher and boost his confidence when he made a nice diving stop with the bases loaded to end the Royals threat. Tonight will only bring more questions about Grissom’s shaky defense, but plays like that should at least get the young man going in a more positive direction.
The Royals were able to cut into the Braves lead when they cashed in on a lead off triple to start the bottom of the fourth from Olivares followed up by a sac fly from second baseman Michael Massey. But as was the theme of the night the Braves offense would answer right back this time in the form of a rocket from Sean Murphy 436 ft to left-center field thus making it a 8-2 Braves lead.
The bottom half of the fifth seemed to be all the vintage Charlie Morton results you would need to fill out a bingo card. It started with four-pitch walk and was followed by a ground ball and blooper that resulted in singles. With the bases loaded Morton promptly hit left-handed hitting Kyle Isbel with his curveball to make the score 8-3. Just when his command seemed to be escaping him though ground chuck found a way to get a double play ball to escape further damage.
Once again Atlanta would answer back via longball, this time thanks to a two-run blast from Ronald Acuña Jr. After not being granted time from the home plate umpire, Ronald decided to take his frustration out on an 0-2 slider.
Charlie Morton would wrap up his night with what was one of his best innings of work in a sixth inning that featured two strikeouts. It wasn’t the sharpest we’ve seen Morton but getting six innings out of a Braves starter can’t be taken lightly considering how many outs the bullpen has been asked to get in the early portion of this season.
The Braves bullpen would continue their excellent work as Dylan Lee, Joe Jiménez, and Danny Young combined for three innings of one-hit baseball and polished off a 10-3 victory over the Royals. In the end the Braves offense would put up a season high in runs (10) and home runs (5) and keep the good times rolling.
A fast start from the Braves offense helped spark one of the best games to watch on the year and a beautiful start to the roadtrip. Atlanta will look to extend their now four-game win streak tomorrow as they play the second of three against the Kansas City Royals.