Another eighth inning rally was the difference for the Atlanta Braves in a 5-1 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Braves take the series with the win and increase their lead in the NL East to four games over the Philadelphia Phillies.
Pittsburgh got to Julio Teheran early thanks to back-to-back walks followed by an RBI single by Colin Moran that scored Gregory Polanco to put the Pirates in front 1-0. The Braves answered back in the bottom half of the inning. Nick Kingham’s first pitch came up and in on Ronald Acuña Jr. who twisted out of the way. Acuña stepped back in and then jumped on an inside fastball and unleashed a monster shot to left to tie the game at 1-1.
The homer was Acuña’s 23rd of the season and his seventh leadoff bomb of the season tying Marquis Grissom for the single-season franchise record.
Teheran settled down from there and although he was topping out in the upper 80s on his fastball, he was in complete control. Teheran would exit having allowed four hits and one run over seven strong innings. He struck out five and finished the game with just those two first inning walks.
Atlanta missed an opportunity to take the lead in the bottom half of the seventh. The Braves put runners at second and third with two out but pinch-hitter Adam Duvall struck out to end the threat. Duvall is just 4-for-39 with 11 strikeouts with Atlanta.
Dan Winkler and Jonny Venters combined for a scoreless top of the eighth and Atlanta’s offense finally went to work. Acuña singled to get things started and moved up to second on a sacrifice bunt by Ender Inciarte. Freddie Freeman followed with a grounder that got through second baseman Kevin Newman allowing Acuña to score to give the Braves a 2-1 advantage.
Atlanta wasn’t finished. Nick Markakis walked to put runners at first and second. Johan Camargo followed with an infield single to load the bases. Ozzie Albies then dumped a bloop single to right that scored Freeman to make it 3-1. That would be the end of the line reliever Steven Brault who was replaced by Dovydas Neverauskas.
Neverauskas struck out Lucas Duda but then uncorked a wild pitch that allowed Markakis to score making it 4-1. Dansby Swanson capped off the inning with an infield single of his own that scored Camargo to make it 5-1. Albies got caught in a run down rounding third and was tagged out after the run scored to end the inning.
Brad Brach worked a perfect ninth to close out the win.
Acuña went 3-for-4 and finished a triple shy of the cycle. Swanson and Albies finished with two hits each for Atlanta.
The Braves will continue their home stand on Monday when the AL East leading Boston Red Sox come to SunTrust Park for a three-game series.