Recap: Smith-Shawver makes debut as Braves win on Rosario's clutch grand slam in Game 3

Atlanta Braves v Arizona Diamondbacks
Atlanta Braves v Arizona Diamondbacks / Chris Coduto/GettyImages

The Atlanta Braves faced off with the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sunday afternoon in Phoenix. It's been a series featuring two evenly matched-teams with great offenses. The Braves are much better on the home run side but Arizona has proven to be more proficient at producing runs via small ball.

Sunday was no different as both teams showcased their offensive strengths again. Michael Soroka took to the mound for Atlanta and faced off with Arizona's ace, Zac Gallen. Gallen came into the day with a 0.66 ERA at Chase Field for the 2023 season. It was going to be a battle for the Atlanta offense to score off of him.

Things started off well for Atlanta though as they were able to get a couple of hits but were unable to score as Gallen struck out d'Arnaud and Rosario to end the inning. The second inning started off with a single from Albies and a walk to Ozuna. Albies advanced to second with a stolen base and advanced to third on the throwing error from Arizona catcher, Jose Herrera.

Albies then scored after Arcia hit into a double play with no outs in the inning and gave the Braves a 1-0 lead. Arizona would tie the game up in the bottom of the inning on a double from Perdomo that scored Jake McCarthy.

Arizona continued to hit Michael Soroka well and took a 2-1 lead in the third inning on a homer from rookie sensation Corbin Carroll. Carroll is really fun to watch play but he has terrorized the Braves in this series so I'm ready to see a bit less of him. Arizona added on another run in the inning to make things 3-1 in favor of the Diamondbacks.

Soroka just struggled to find command of his pitches during the game. He wasn't able to keep his breaking pitches down in the zone and left a lot of them up and Arizona was able to get ahold of them fairly easily. The Braves offense did their best to keep him in the game as Ozzie Albies hit a two-run homer in the top of the fourth to tie things at three apiece.

Ozuna hit a ball a long way in the next at-bat that looked like a homer off the bat but ended up bouncing off the wall to give him a single. Ozuna did not run hard out of the box as he watched the ball fly to centerfield and that ultimately led him to being benched and replaced by Sean Murphy in the fifth inning.

Soroka appeared to be in a good spot in the bottom of the fourth but with two outs in the inning he issued a walk to Pavin Smith who was then driven in on a homer by Ketel Marte. Then after a double by Corbin Carroll and another walk to Christian Walker, Brian Snitker decided that was all for the Braves right-hander. Soroka ended his day with 3.2 innings pitched with five runs on seven hits with four walks and two strikeouts.

Collin McHugh came in and struck out Emmanuel Rivera to end the Arizona inning. Atlanta once again had runners on against Gallen with a single from Acuna but he was erasd as Olson grounded into a double play. Austin Riley then doubled to left but was stranded after Travis d'Arnaud grounded out to second base.

McHugh came out in the fifth inning and kept Arizona off the board as he finished the day with 1.1 innings pitched with one hit allowed and two strikeouts. Zac Gallen came out in the sixth inning nearing 100 pitches and he was able to finish the inning with no more damage done. He went six innings allowing three runs on nine hits with one walk and six strikeouts on 110 pitches.

Next up out of the Braves bullpen was AJ Smith-Shawver who made his MLB debut and he was absolutely fantastic as he finished 2.1 innings of relief with no hits, one walk, and three strikeouts. It was an incredibly impressive debut for the 20-year-old. Fans had been awaiting his debut and he surely did not disappoint.

Andrew Chafin replaced Gallen in the seventh and Atlanta was able to get one run back as Matt Olson drove in Acuna on a single. This brought the Braves within a run of tying the game at 5-4 and it was on the bullpen to keep it a one run game.

Smith-Shawver started the eighth inning with a walk to the first batter faced but was able to get the next batter out but Snit decided to go to the bullpen and give AJ Minter the ball to finish the inning. Minter had a scoreless 0.2 innings with one strikeout and most importantly, no walks.

Things looked bleak in the top of the ninth inning and the Braves were destined for another tough series loss. However, Eddie Rosario had other plans and decided Atlanta was leaving Phoenix with a series win. Michael Harris II walked and then reached third on a single from Acuna, who then stole second base.

Matt Olson would then strikeout looking and Arizona intentionally walked Riley to set up a double play opportunity. This strategy backfired greatly as Eddie Rosario decided he was going to continue his hot streak with a grand slam to right field. This put Atlanta up by a score of 8-5 and it was up to Raisel Iglesias to close things out and send the Braves home with a series win.

Iglesias walked the first batter he saw but then induced a groundball double play to put Arizona down to their last out. Christian Walker then grounded out to end the game and sent Atlanta home with a happy flight. This was a well-fought game and evenly matched series all around but it's great to see Atlanta come out on top.

Next up for the Braves is their division rival, the New York Mets as they come to Truist Park on Tuesday evening. Bryce Elder (3-0, 1.92 ERA) will take the mound for the Braves and oppose Carlos Carrasco (2-2, 5.74 ERA) in game one of the series.