Any good feelings from the 4th of July for the Atlanta Braves were quickly wiped out once the calendar moved to the 5th. A disappointing outing from Max Fried and an extremely rough relief stint from Josh Tomlin resulted in the Pirates breaking out for
The first inning was the peak for the Braves and it was all downhill from that point forward. Ronald Acuña Jr. led off the game with a single and then Freddie Freeman smacked his first of two doubles in the game. Acuña scored after Phillip Evans had an absolute devil of a time trying to collect the ball and us Braves fans were laughing! It seemed like Atlanta was off to the races when they loaded the bases with two outs, but Orlando Arcia hit one straight to Kevin Newman at shortstop and the scoring threat ended in disappointing fashion.
The Braves had another scoring chance in the third inning when Freddie Freeman led off the inning with a deep fly to left center. Unfortunately, that’s the deepest part of PNC Park but at the same time, Pittsburgh’s outfielders had a miscommunication and allowed the ball to land and bounce over the fence for a ground rule double. That was as far as Freddie would get, as Dansby Swanson grounded into an inning-ending double play with Austin Riley at first to end the scoring threat.
The Braves failed to get a runner past second base for the rest of the night, as they were unable to figure out Chase De Jong throughout the five innings that he pitched tonight. Meanwhile, the Pirates got into a groove at the plate and never looked back once they got going. As a matter of fact, tonight ended up being the Ben Gamel Show — a statement that should be very alarming if you are the opposing team in said production. Anyways, Gamel launched his first homer of the game in the bottom of the fourth. Max Fried left one high and in the zone and the light-hitting Gamel put a charge into it and it left the yard. The Pirates went ahead 2-1 and they were far from done at that point.
The sixth inning was the beginning of the onslaught for Pittsburgh. The first four Pirates batters all reached base, with the fourth Pirate in that sequence being Ben Gamel. Gamel hit a double this time and his big line drive made it 4-1 Pirates and knocked Max Fried out of the game. Edgar Santana entered and it was up to him to keep it at 4-1. Santana failed at that, as he gave up the first inherited runner on a groundout and then tossed a wild pitch to allow Gamel to make it 6-1. Santana got through the inning without giving up any further runs, but that meant that Fried’s line would end with an ugly 5.0 IP, six earned runs, seven hits allowed, and two strikeouts.
More pain was on the way in the seventh inning, as Josh Tomlin entered the game and had what was probably his worst outing of 2021 — which is really saying something, mind you. The first three Pirates batters in the seventh all reached base, including a home run from (you guessed it) Ben Gamel. Gamel’s dinger turned the game into a 9-1 laugher and the Pirates weren’t done there. Despite Tyler Matzek warming up during the top of the eighth inning, Tomlin went out to start the eighth and found himself in even more trouble. For the second straight inning, Tomlin let the first three batters he saw in a frame reach base. A home run from Ke’Bryan Hayes was sandwiched in between two singles and by the time Tomlin exited the game for Matzek, it was 11-1 in favor of Pittsburgh.
Ben Gamel is the first @Pirates left fielder with a 6 RBI game since Jason Bay in 2004.— High Heat Stats (@HighHeatStats) July 6, 2021
Thankfully, the pain ended there and the game eventually ended with that same 11-1 score line. For the Pirates, this was a banner night as they matched their season-high in runs scored in a single game. They also managed to reverse an 11-2 loss that they suffered over the weekend to the Brewers, so you know that had to feel really good for them. As far as our Braves are concerned, it was yet another disappointing night in a season that has been full of them. There’s always tomorrow, but it’s still a pretty huge letdown for the Braves after the wild come-from-behind win that they had on Sunday.