On a sunny, windy afternoon at LECOM Park in Bradenton, Bryse Wilson cruised through two frames as most of his teammates didn’t do much of note. Wilson went six up, six down after giving up a leadoff single to Kevin Newman. While the Pirates made some strong contact off him in the first, he struck out both Gregory Polanco and Todd Frazier in the second, blowing a 93-94 four-seamer in the heart of the plate past both.
The other pitchers in this game for Atlanta didn’t quite make the same impression. Tyler Matzek dominated his first two hitters, but a bloop single by Newman and a deep drive to right off the bat of Ke’Bryan Hayes (aided by a strong wind to right, and Phillip Ervin not dealing with the wind and wall particularly well) plated a run. Matzek ended up striking out the side, but also gave up a walk in addition to the two hits. Chad Sobotka yielded a two-out walk and then a massive wind-aided homer to right off the bat of generally light-hitting Erik Gonzalez. Jasseel de la Cruz started off looking real uncomfortable and let the first two men reach. He nearly got out of it, but Polanco destroyed a hanging slider for a two-run double. William Woods pitched the sixth and gave up a leadoff homer. Another run would’ve scored later in the frame as Woods yielded a two-out double to Rodolfo Castro with a man on first, but a nice relay of Michael Harris-Sean Kazmar Jr.-Shea Langeliers kept the Pirates to six. This game played a full seven despite the home team leading in the last frame, and weirldy enough, it was Connor Johnstone who joined Wilson as the only Atlanta hurlers to put up a goose egg.
On the offensive side, things were very quiet. The Braves got three hits in the first, two in the seventh, and nothing in between. They struck first thanks to a Dansby Swanson one-out double, followed by a single from Austin Riley and a sacrifice fly from Pablo Sandoval. Jason Kipnis followed with a bunt single, but was stranded when Travis Demeritte struck out. Back-to-back two-out errors by Pittsburgh fielders set the stage for Swanson in the second, but he went down swinging against Tyler Anderson. Kipnis was the only baserunner over the next three frames for the Braves, and that came due to a grazing. David Bednar struck out the side of Braves in the fifth. The Braves got a couple of walks (Sean Kazmar, Terone Harris) in the sixth, but nothing doing as Langeliers struck out. They got a couple of singles in the seventh (Drew Waters, Ryan Goins), but CJ Alexander chopped into what should’ve been a game-ending double play if not for the whole home-team-will-bat-anyway thing.
If you missed the televised content, there are some highlights available, so knock yourself out if that’s your preference: https://www.mlb.com/gameday/braves-vs-pirates/2021/03/04/641985#game_state=final,game_tab=videos,game=641985.
The Braves will host the Twins in North Port tomorrow afternoon.