Another sellout crowd got to witness an 8 run 7th inning as the Braves came from behind to win their 10th consecutive game.
The Pirates jumped out 2-0 on 2 solo homers in the top of the 1st by Bryan Reynolds and Daniel Vogelbach. The Braves answered with 2 solo shots of their own in the bottom of the 1st by Acuna and Riley.
After that, both pitchers settled down. Charlie Morton didn’t allow much of anything from the 2nd inning through the 4th, and for the start he struck out 12 men while only walking 1. But in the top of the 5th, he hit the backup catcher Heinemen with a back foot slider on a 2 strike count (something it seems like he has done a lot this season). After striking out the next 2 men, consecutive doubles from Reynolds and KeBryan Hayes put the Pirates back in front 4-2.
My eyes tell me that Morton’s velocity is just fine. It looks about the same from last year. But, his breaking ball (his curveball in particular) has been very inconsistent, when in the last few years his curveball had been among the best in MLB. I don’t know if this is because of the crackdown on sticky stuff, or if it is a mechanical flaw. But I think the decline of his curveball has been a big reason for his struggles this year. Morton did get a bunch of whiffs today, so hopefully he isn’t far away from figuring this out.
The score remained 4-2 until the bottom of the 7th, when the Braves exploded. Ozuna led off with a double, then Wild Bill walked. Duvall grounded into what was a double play, but an egregiously bad call at first base was overturned by review. With runners on the corners and 1 out, Harris singled up the middle to score Ozuna to cut the lead to 4-3, then Acuna got hit on the elbow guard to load the bases. Dansby then blooped a single into right field by the line, scoring 2 runs, and Acuna ran through a stop sign by Wash and somehow scored standing up from first base, giving the Braves a 6-4 lead. Riley singled to right against the shift, advancing Dansby from first to third. Riley then advanced to second on a wild pitch. Still only with 1 out, the Pirates intentionally walked Olson to reload the bases, hoping for a double play from Ozzie. However, after a long AB, Ozzie crushed a fastball that missed its location over the right center field wall for a grand slam making the score 10-4, and the crowd went into a frenzy.
Jesse Chavez and Jesus Cruz finished out the game uneventfully. The Braves moved within 6 games of the Mets, and are now up into the 2nd Wild Card position. Kyle Wright pitches against Jose Quintana tomorrow as the Braves try to complete another 4 game sweep tomorrow afternoon.