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Soroka stays solid and Riley ravaged a pitch as Braves beat Cardinals, 4-0

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Austin Riley made an immediate impact and Mike Soroka continued his domination as the Braves picked up a solid rebound victory against St. Louis

MLB: St. Louis Cardinals at Atlanta Braves Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Another solid start from Mike Soroka and a homer from Austin Riley in his major league debut helped contribute to a 4-0 victory for the Braves over the Cardinals.

The first two innings of this game came and went without much incident, but that changed once the third inning began. After Mike Soroka smoothly made his way through the first two innings, he hit a rough patch as he walked the first two batters he faced in the third. After the Cardinals gave him an out thanks to a bunt to move their runners into scoring position, he was judged to have hit Matt Carpenter. Just like that, the Braves were in a bit of a pickle.

Fortunately, Soroka coolly waded through the pressure and got out of the inning in one fell swoop. He got Paul Goldschmidt to ground into a double play, as the sacrifice bunt ended up ultimately costing them any chance of scoring runs in that frame.

It sure seems like any time a team fails to score runs in a situation like that, the other team scores right away. That was the case in the third inning, as the Braves scored a run in bizarre circumstances. Ronald Acuña Jr. hit a single and then stole second base, so Atlanta had a runner in scoring position with nobody out.

Two outs later, Michael Wacha was almost out of the inning. However, Acuña decided to steal third since nobody was at third. Acuña’s speed forced Wacha into throwing the ball too early, and instead of tossing the ball into the third baseman’s glove for an inning-ending out, he threw it into foul territory and Acuña came around to score. We take those.

The Braves scored their next run the old-fashioned way in the very next inning. If you had somehow missed the highlights of Austin Riley mashing massive monster moonshots for the Gwinnett Stripers, then you were in luck since the debuting rookie decided to give us all an exhibition of his power.

It’s only fitting that Riley’s first career hit was a homer, and it gave the Braves a tiny bit of breathing room going into the middle stages of the game. During that point, Mike Soroka continued to exhibit dominance against the Cardinals. The same lineup that wreaked havoc all across SunTrust Park on Tuesday night was nowhere near as successful against Soroka.

Mike Soroka ran into a tiny bit of trouble in the sixth inning but once again, he never got flustered and got out of the tiny problem with no trouble at all. He ended up going through seven innings with only three hits allowed. He did walk three batters, but he compensated for that with three strikeouts and zero runs allowed. His ERA is now at a microscopic 0.98 through 36.2 innings and his FIP went down from 3.96 to 2.89. Folks, he is good.

We can’t say that about Dan Winkler, who had himself a horrible outing once he entered the game in the eighth inning. He threw seven balls in a row, and after he slipped and fell throwing the seventh ball, he got the grounds crew to tend to the mound for a bit. Once they finished, he threw ball eight and promptly exited the game with two runners on and nobody out after eight straight balls.

That’s when Luke Jackson came in, and he simply induced a double play (that wiped out the lead runner at third base, at that) and then struck out Marcell Ozuna to completely douse the fire that Dan Winkler set. If you ever want to see one relief pitcher lift up another in a situation like that, then that is a textbook example.

Once again, the Cardinals were immediately punished for failing to capitalize on what could have been a great situation for them to score. After Nick Markakis delivered a two-out single, Brian Snitker made what seemed to be a curious choice as he subbed out Austin Riley for Charlie Culberson. The defensive substitution ended up paying offensive dividends, as Culberson lofted one just barely over the fence in left field to double Atlanta’s lead.

Luke Jackson stayed in the game for the ninth inning and retired the Cardinals 1-2-3, with the only drama coming when some idiot ran on the field after Jackson struck out Yadier Molina. Anyways, another very good relief appearance from Luke Jackson helped to push the Braves across the finish line and give them a victory to tie the series up at one game, apiece.

This game went about as well as you could imagine. Mike Soroka had no problems dealing with the Caridnals and Austin Riley made his presence felt with a homer on his debut. Hopefully this is a sign of things to come for both of those youngsters.