The Braves offense was punchless for the most part in the series deciding game against the Pirates, unable to solve Gerrit Cole. The Pirates used a three run 5th inning to stake a 3-0 lead before Alex Wood was ejected for arguing balls and strikes as the Braves fell to the Pirates in a very tense game, 3-0.
It wasn't ALL bad news on offense for the Braves as Cameron Maybin continued his hot hitting, going 3 for 5, accounting for half of the Braves hits in the game. Juan Uribe went 2 for 4 with a double and the Braves did draw 4 walks in addition to having 2 players hit by pitches, but the Braves were never able to get those base runners in, going 0 for 7 with runners in scoring position.
The scoring began as a tale of one team capitalizing on its scoring chance while the other squandered a chance, Braves had the bases loaded in the third inning with one out after back to back singles by Jace Peterson and Cameron Maybin followed by Freddie Freeman being hit by a pitch. Unfortunately, Nick Markakis struck out and Uribe grounded out to third to end the threat. The Pirates loaded the bases in the fifth after Gerrit Cole walked followed by a Josh Harrison single and a bloop single from Jordy Mercer. Wood would go on to strike out Andrew McCutchen for the second time with the bases loaded before Starling Marte hit a two-out single driving in Cole and Harrison. Jung Ho Kang followed with an RBI single which gave the Pirates a 3-0 lead. Wood managed to escape the inning without further damage, but had some choice words for home plate umpire Mark Carlson and was ejected as a direct result.
The game itself was quite chippy before the ejection. First, Alex Wood hit Starling Marte in the first inning. Then, first baseman Freddie Freeman was hit by a pitch followed by Andrelton Simmons, who stared Gerrit Cole down during his entire walk down to first base, but took his base without further incident. When Cole next came up to bat, Wood did throw a pitch low and in to him before walking the pitcher. After Wood's ejection, Cole nearly hit Jace Peterson, too, and the fans certainly let Cole hear about it, although the umpires did not take any action.
Cody Martin came in after Wood was ejected and despite a single and a walk got through the 6th inning without any runs scored (a welcome sight given the bullpen's recent struggles). The Braves tried to get things going in the bottom of the 6th after a Juan Uribe single and a 2 out walk issued to Andrelton Simmons. Todd Cunningham followed with a walk of his own. Pinch hitter Joey Terdoslavich struck out in 5 pitches to end that scoring chance as well.
The fun continued in the top of the 7th where Brandon Cunniff came in and his first pitch went behind Andrew McCutchen and warnings were issued to both teams. Despite that, the inning went by smoothly and the Pirates went down quietly in order as well as in the top of the 8th. Was a good performance for the struggling rookie reliever and a welcome sign for Braves fans who have grown tired of watching the bullpen struggling so mightily in the past month...
The bullpen's competence was almost short lived as the Braves brought in Trevor Cahill to pitch in the top of the ninth and promptly gave up back to back singles. Jordy Mercer, however, grounded in to a double play and Cahill got McCutchen to ground out to keep the bullpen's decent showing intact.
Mark Melancon set the Braves down in order in the bottom of the ninth for his 18th save.