After playing one of their most solid all-around games of the season last night, the Braves were right back on the beam today with another solid outing.
The first run of the game came in the top of the second as the Braves jumped ahead thanks to an RBI single from former Diamondback Ender Inciarte, scoring Ozzie Albies who reached earlier in the inning on a fielders choice, and was advanced via a Brian McCann single (more on him in a minute).
Kevin Gausman’s best game of 2019 was earlier this season against these same Diamondbacks and in the early going it was apparent that he still had it going against this team. Gausman strolled through the first five innings with little resistance.
The Braves continued to tack on runs as the game progressed, scoring again in the top of the third after Ronald Acuna Jr. led off the inning with a single off the left field wall. Dansby Swanson then reached on a fielders choice, was singled over to second by Freddie Freeman and driven in by a Josh Donaldson scorching single to make the lead 2-0.
After those two innings though Kelly really started to settle in and threw a great game himself. Kelly allowed his third run in the seventh inning after the Diamondbacks finally broke through in the bottom of the sixth inning against Gausman, as Brian McCann took the 30-year-old rookie deep.
Gausman ended his night after six strong, one-run innings which was much needed for him. The lone run was allowed on a Nick Ahmed sacrifice fly that scored David Peralta.
With a 3-1 lead the Braves turned to Josh Tomlin for multiple innings, but the veteran right-hander was rudely greeted by Adam Jones who hammered a ball out to left field that cut the lead to just one run.
Thankfully Atlanta was able to quickly respond in the top of the eighth with two huge runs after Freeman tripled to center field to get the inning started. Archie Bradley then walked Donaldson right after the Freeman triple to put runners on the corners for Nick Markakis who took full advantage with an RBI single to left field. However, the action wasn’t done there as Ozzie Albies followed up with another RBI single to score Donaldson and give the Braves a 5-2 lead.
Those runs would soon become super important as Tomlin gave two runs right back in the bottom of the eighth after Blake Swihart launched a wall scraping homer to right field that cut the lead down to just one again at 5-4.
Tomlin was able to navigate the rest of that inning and was repaid for that good work by Johan Camargo who had the biggest run of the night as he pinch hit in the top of the ninth inning. Camargo only needed to see one pitch to give the Braves a two run cushion and he demolished a homer deep into the right field bleachers.
The team turned to rookie Jacob Webb for the save in the bottom of the ninth. Webb picked up his first save on April 29th and looked super sharp in the process of picking it up. Webb responded by getting his first two batters with ease, but faltered by walking Eduardo Escobar which forced Brian Snitker to turn to the recently returned Jonny Venters for one out.
Venters’ task wouldn’t be an easy one against Peralta, but with the game in the balance Venters pulled through with a little more of that 2011 magic. Peralta gave us a scare by hammering a ball down the right field line just barely foul, but eventually obliged by bouncing out to Freddie at first to end the game.
Atlanta played another close game well tonight which is super encouraging after the Braves played so poorly in Los Angeles. Tomorrow they’ll be back in action for one more with the Diamondbacks. Max Fried will be on the mound so make sure to tune in and celebrate mothers day with us!