Well, that was fun, although Alex Wood probably doesn't think so. In his return to Turner Field, Wood was shelled for six runs (three earned) in just four innings by his former mates, as the Braves coasted to an easy 8-1 victory and ran their winning streak to four games.
The Braves wasted no time jumping on Wood, as three of the first four hitters reached base, setting up a Jeff Francoeur sacrifice fly with the bases loaded. Tyler Flowers, who has done nothing but silently demand more playing time with his performance so far this season, then knocked the first of his four singles on the night to score a second run.
In the third, the Braves struck again, this time starting with Wood nailing Adonis Garcia with a pitch. On the very next pitch, Jeff Francoeur lined the ball into right as Garcia took off for second, putting runners at the corners for another Flowers single (to pretty much the exact same location) to make it a 3-0 game. After Erick Aybar reached base on an error by third baseman Justin Turner to load the bases, Wood yielded a bases loaded, full count walk to Mallex Smith to push a fourth run across.
A minor kerfuffle of controversy then erupted, as Williams Perez, up at the plate with the bases loaded, one out, and a four-run lead, swung at an 0-2 pitch from Wood and hit into a tailor-made double play. As we've seen before from Fredi Gonzalez, Perez was then pulled after facing three batters in the next frame, two of whom had reached base via singles. It was a bit baffling, because the Braves gave up a stellar pinch-hit opportunity and only got one additional out by leaving Perez in the game, but luckily this decision never loomed large in the contest.
For his part, Williams Perez was very Williams Perez-tastic, once again failing to make it through the fifth inning (or the fourth), walking three and punching out just one. He did, however, give up just two hits and elicited a double play in the second from Yasiel Puig after a leadoff single, so he managed to keep the Braves in the game and then some. Ryan Weber, recently called up to take Gordon Beckham's place on the roster, relieved Perez in the fourth and worked out of the jam, getting Yasmani Grandal to ground out and striking out Howie Kendrick to end the inning.
The bottom of the fourth featured more tallies for the Braves off of Wood, as Freddie Freeman started a two-out rally by walking, Adonis Garcia reached base on an ugly, near-comical error by shortstop Corey Seager, and Jeff Francoeur delivered another RBI single. Tyler Flowers would then collect his third RBI of the day on another single, this time to first baseman Adrian Gonzalez's left instead of his right, to score Freeman.
Ryan Weber then took over the game and deftly navigated the Los Angeles lineup, allowing just a single run on three hits (and zero walks!) while striking out four. Weber collected 11 outs in all on just 56 pitches, making it look fairly easy. Even the Dodgers' lone run came after Joc Pederson beat out a soft grounder, moved to third on a Chase Utley single, and then scored on an RBI groundout by Seager.
Mallex Smith would get in on the fun and cap the scoring by the Braves in the 7th by hitting a two-run double off of J.P Howell. Howell was very good against lefties last year (2.37 FIP against) but could not stop Smith from lacing an opposite field low liner on a 1-1 pitch. The two runners on base were, who else, Jeff Francoeur (who reached on Turner's second error of the game) and Tyler Flowers (who singled to left this time).
Hunter Cervenka, Chris Withrow, and Alexi Ogando closed out the game for the Braves, allowing just one baserunner (a walk by Cervenka). It was a pretty dominating performance, underscored just by how unexpected this result was, and goes to show you that baseball is a weird game where Jeff Francoeur can apparently still be a difference-maker if you run him out there enough.
Of the Braves' 10 hits, only one went for extra bases (Smith's double). but they made the most of their chances, notching five of their hits with runners in scoring position. On the flip side, the Atlanta arms kept the Dodgers 0-for-7 in similar situations, and benefited greatly from three Dodger errors in the field. Nick Markakis managed to keep his safely reaching base streak alive with a single, and is now 13-for-13 in doing so this season. Erick Aybar was the only Braves starter to go hitless, and is rocking a comical .282 OPS on the young season (wRC+ is in the negatives!).
Ross Stripling will presumably face off against Julio Teheran tomorrow night as the Braves try to extend their streak to five games. Maybe they'll get all the way up to nine this way!