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Bullpen blowup mars Dansby's debut, Braves lose 10-3

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The Twins broke open the game with eight runs against a struggling Atlanta relief corps to earn a two-game series sweep. Dansby Swanson began his career with a two-hit effort, while Nick Markakis and Freddie Freeman homered in the loss.

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Dansby Swanson's major league debut managed to be a fairly exciting game for the first half of its run, but quickly turned sour as a series of bullpen conflagrations turned the game into an unfortunate laugher. The Braves lost 10-3, as the bullpen allowed more than half as many runs (8) as they got outs (15).

The Braves found themselves in a hole even before Swanson had any chance to make an impact. Three of the first four Minnesota hitters notched base hits off of Mike Foltynewicz, giving the Twins a 2-0 lead. The Braves had a good chance to get on the board in the second, as Nick Markakis drew a leadoff walk and advanced to second on a wild pitch, but after two groundouts, Dansby Swanson lined out to center field for his first major league out and an end to the threat.

Foltynewicz ran into major trouble in the third inning, but somehow managed to escape unscathed. He allowed a leadoff single and then appeared to have all sorts of trouble getting on the same page with Anthony Recker, first uncorking a wild pitch, and then throwing another ball that got by (this time scored as a passed ball), and finally walking the batter to put runners at the corners with none out. However, he was able to retire the next three hitters without allowing a run to score. This would prove critical, as the Braves put together a little two-out rally in the bottom of the inning, with Freddie Freeman converting a two-out Adonis Garcia single into a tie game, courtesy of a fly ball to left center that just kept on carrying until it cleared the fence.

Foltynewicz settled in after the third, but he still ran his pitch count to exactly 100 after five innings, departing the game when it was tied 2-2. He allowed five hits and two runs, walking three and striking out seven, in what was a pretty good if (again) highly inconsistent effort from him.

The Braves, meanwhile, could do little against Twins starter Kyle Gibson, who had not been having a good season to date. It wasn't really that Gibson pitched particularly well, but the Braves managed to hit themselves out of scoring opportunities once again, letting Gibson finish a complete game with 115 pitches and three runs allowed, walking three and striking out six in the process. It's easy to look halfway decent when your opponents go 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position, even when they hit two homers in the game off of you.

Dansby Swanson's first career hit was an opposite field line drive single in the fourth. He also struck out to lead off the seventh and hit another single back up the middle with two outs in the ninth. Weirdly (and please fact check this), no ball was hit directly to him at shortstop all night, so he recorded a couple of putouts at second base but had no assists.

The less said about the latest in a series of ugly bullpen blowups, the better. But, here goes anyway: The Braves called Eric O'Flaherty on to start the sixth inning. He promptly untied the game by allowing back to back doubles. He went back out there to start the seventh and let the first two baserunners reach base again before giving way to Ian Krol. Krol then allowed three of the first four batters he faced to reach base, letting the Twins build a 6-2 lead. After some actual relief in the unlikely form of Chaz Roe, Jason Hursh, making his second career major league appearance, blew up in the ninth. Hursh had trouble throwing strikes or fooling anyone, walking the bases loaded and then allowing a two-run single to Brian Dozier. Ryan Weber came on and allowed a two-run single of his own, with an Ender Inciarte outfield assist mercifully ending the inning.

Nick Markakis homered in the ninth to cap the scoring at 10-3, but the Braves didn't manage anything further.

The Twins scored 10 times, thanks to 10 singles, four doubles, and nine walks.

The Braves host the Nationals for a weekend set starting tomorrow night at 7:10 ET.