In a game featuring the two best hitting teams in baseball and a matchup of Kyle Wright versus Rick Porcello, you wouldn’t figure that the result would be a pitcher’s duel (or maybe you would, in which case, good on you!). But, that’s exactly what happened, at least until Porcello departed and Atlanta hammered the New York relief corps, en route to a 7-0 victory, their 31st of the season.
The big story in this game was Kyle Wright. Coming off a decent start in which he outlasted Max Scherzer last Sunday, Wright absolutely sparkled in this outing, throwing 6 1⁄3 frames of one-hit, one-walk, zero-run ball. He mixed all five of his offerings effectively and showed better command than at any point previously, absolutely bamboozling the Mets’ bats over and over by throwing any pitch in any count and spotting things on the edge of the zone as needed. Home plate umpire Alan Porter had a huge zone, but Wright took advantage by pumping strike after strike, inning after inning.
The only two blemishes against Wright were minor. In the third, ninth-place hitter Wilson Ramos connected for a two-out double, but Brandon Nimmo was unable to take advantage of a poorly-spotted sinker as he flew out to center on it. In the seventh, nursing a 1-0 lead, Wright missed with two straight four-seamers and ended up walking J.D. Davis, ending his outing. Will Smith then came on and promptly got a double play from Dominic Smith, ending the inning.
That 1-0 lead came courtesy of Ronald Acuña Jr., who was the first and only Brave to really do anything against Porcello. The Mets’ offseason signing was dominant in his own right, striking out 10 Braves in seven innings, but facing him for a third time in the game, Acuña popped a deep fly over the wall in right for a solo homer. Porcello allowed just two other hits and two walks, but that longball proved fatal, even if the Braves didn’t add on. Porcello’s ten strikeouts were his highest total since a start in 2018 and just the sixth time in his career he’s reached that plateau (his career high is 13).
After Porcello departed, the Braves hammered the New York bullpen, even though they ended up not needing any of those extra runs. Jeurys Familia started the eighth and issued a pair of one-out walks. He had a chance to get out of it after Marcell Ozuna hit a slow roller that turned into a groundout, but Travis d’Arnaud slapped a two-run single to right to make it a 3-0 game. After Chris Martin threw a scoreless bottom of the inning, the Braves ruined Chasen Shreve’s day, as the first three batters reached base, and after Austin Riley struck out on three pitches, Acuña unclogged the bases with a three-run triple (later changed ito a double, whatever, official scorer guy) into the right-field corner. Ozuna later added a double off new reliever Corey Oswalt that scored Acuña for the game’s seventh, final run. Mark Melancon, who was warming up when it was a 3-0 game, ended up pitching the bottom of the ninth. He gave up a couple of singles, but a double play and a grounder preserved the shutout.
Acuña finished the game 2-for-3 with a walk, a triple (or double), a homer, and a strikeout. Freddie Freeman was hitless, but walked three times. Wilson Ramos had two of the Mets’ three hits and their only extra-base hit.
The Braves will now head home to face the Marlins in a four-game series, a showdown that nominally means the division is up for grabs. But, the Braves are in the driver’s seat, Ronald Acuña Jr. is awesome, and Kyle Wright was dominant this afternoon. They’re in a pretty good place. Stay tuned.