Michael Soroka took the mound for the Atlanta Braves on Tuesday evening as they welcomed the St. Louis Cardinals to town. Soroka was named the International League Pitcher of the Month from August earlier in the day.
He's been pitching well at the Triple-A level but has struggled a bit at the MLB level. It's mainly been an issue of command not being there and allowing home runs.
That trend unfortunately has continued into Tuesday's start. The Braves took an early 1-0 lead with an Ozzie Albies homer. However, the Cardinals quickly took the lead facing Soroka in the second inning. It was disappointing considering how quickly the first inning went for Michael.
St. Louis scored with an RBI double and a 2-run home run making the score 3-1. The third inning didn't go much better as a walk to Paul Goldschmidt led to a 2-run homer by Nolan Gorman. The Cardinals now led by a 5-1 score as the day just wasn't going Soroka's way.
He would be replaced in the fourth inning with an apparent issue with his hand. It was announced after the game that he was having numbness in his fingers and would land on the IL. It stinks for Soroka who has worked so hard to get himself back into the game after 2 long years away from it.
Collin McHugh checked in and promptly allowed a solo homer to Atlanta native Jordan Walker. However, he got the next 3 outs and kept the Cards to a 6-1 lead.
Lars Nootbar almost led off the 5th inning with a solo homer but he was robbed on a very nice catch by Michael Harris II. He is so much fun to watch in the outfield.
McHugh would allow 3 more runs in the 6th inning. He finished out the inning and that would be the end of his day after covering 3 innings and allowing 4 runs on 6 hits with 3 strikeouts.
The Atlanta offense started working their way back thanks to back-to-back homers by Austin Riley and Matt Olson. This made the score 9-3 in favor of the Cardinals. That's the 7th time this season they've done so in a game. Most impressively, they have hit back-to-back homers in every month of the season.
Olson's homer was his 45th of the season and gave him the MLB lead back. This also made him just the fifth Atlanta Braves to have 45+ homers in a single season. It also broke the franchise record for most homers by an Atlanta first baseman placing him over Andres Galarraga who held the record. Olson is just 6 homers away from tying the franchise record for most homers in a season which is held by Andruw Jones.
The Atlanta bullpen held the Cards scoreless in the 7th and 8th innings with Pierce Johnson and Kirby Yates pitching well in their innings of work.
Atlanta made things interesting in the 8th inning with a solo homer by Marcel Ozuna kicking things off. That was his 33rd homer on the season which puts him 4 shy of his career-high and into a tie for 6th most homers in the NL.
Orlando Arcia pinch hit for Nicky Lopez and hit an RBI double to score Eddie Rosario and bring the Braves within 4 runs of St. Louis. Ronald Acuna Jr. then grounded out to score Michael Harris II from third base and bring the score to 9-6. Unfortunately, that was all they would get the rest of the night.
St. Louis added another run in the top of the 9th after Nolan Gorman hit his second homer of the night off of Michael Tonkin. That brought us to our final score of 10-6 in favor of the Red Birds. Ryan Helsley came in with his 100+ mph heat and kept Atlanta off the board.
It was a tough night as the Braves were hitting the ball hard all night off of Miles Mikolas but just could not get the hits to fall early on. They just ran out of time at the end of the day. Soroka just couldn't find consistency and that has been tough on him all year. Now, he could be done for the season depending on what they find out after evaluating him.
Atlanta will look to get things back on track tomorrow evening with Spencer Strider pitching game two.