Charlie Morton tossed seven scoreless innings and Dansby Swanson swatted a big three-run home run during tonight’s game against the Mets. The three-run shot and the dominant pitching performance ended up being a winning combination for the Braves, as they shut out New York by a score of 3-0.
From a neutral standpoint, it was truly unfortunate to see Marcus Stroman exit the game before he could get through his first batter of the second inning. He left the game due to left hip soreness, and the hits just keep on coming for the Mets as far as injuries are concerned — and surely Braves fans can relate on that note!
At first, the Mets were able keep the Braves from breaking out. Atlanta definitely had an opportunity to do so in the second inning against Yennsy Diaz, as the short-notice reliever suddenly pitched himself into a bases-loaded jam with nobody out. Then Diaz clamped down and struck out the side from that point forward — short-notice starter Ender Inciarte struck out on a foul tip, Charlie Morton sat down looking and then Ronald Acuña Jr. swung at a bit of a wayward pitch to end the scoring threat.
Fortunately, Atlanta’s temptation of the baseball gods (in which they failed to score with the bases loaded and nobody out) didn’t come back to haunt them. In fact, the Braves had another chance in the very next inning when Ozzie Albies and Abraham Almonte both reached base. Eventually, Dansby Swanson came up with two outs and launched one into the seats in left field. The three-run dinger at Diaz’s expense put the Braves on the board, and that ended up being all the run support that Charlie Morton would get tonight.
It also ended up being more than enough for Morton on this night. Indeed, the veteran hurler picked up where he left off when he last took the mound. Morton only really ran into trouble during the fourth and fifth innings respectively — during both of those innings, the Mets found themselves with two men on base. The situation in the fourth inning was a two men, one out situation in particular. He got through that inning with a strikeout and a flyout, and Morton actually did not give up a hit until the aforementioned fifth inning. Because this is Atlanta Braves baseball in 2021, the first hit of the game for New York came as a result of an infield single from Jerad Eickhoff a.k.a. a pinch-hitting pitcher.
Fortunately, Charlie Morton induced a grounder to end the inning and proceeded to cruise through the sixth and the seventh innings. His only blemish during those final two frames was a hit-by-pitch during the sixth — as a matter of fact, Morton had two HBPs to go with two walks. With that being said, that infield single was the only hit he gave up and the Mets didn’t score a single run with Morton on the mound. As usual, the Braves need a lot from their starting pitching and I’m pleased to report that Charlie Morton was truly up for the task tonight.
Watch all 11 strikeouts from Charlie Morton's performance against the Mets. pic.twitter.com/RYb3qt6vuq— Bally Sports: Braves (@BravesOnBally) June 23, 2021
With only six outs needed to claim victory, both A.J. Minter and Will Smith were up to the task as well. Minter picked up a strikeout as he retired the side in order for the eighth inning and Smith surrendered a double and left it at that as the Braves picked up their fourth shutout victory in their past seven games. For a pitching staff that’s been highly-maligned for most of this season, they’ve really found themselves in the groove at the moment. Hopefully this is a sign of things to come instead of being just a flash in the pan.
For now, it’s something to savor. The Braves have guaranteed themselves a split against the division leaders and now they’ve got an opportunity tomorrow to take three out of four and give New York a reminder that the Braves are still up for it here in 2021.