If you watched the game last night and then tuned in to tonight’s game, you may have felt a little deja vu. For the second straight night, the Braves got 12 hits. For the second straight night, an Atlanta starter shut down the Padres. For the second straight night, the Braves cruised to a victory. (For the second straight night, Oswaldo Arcia hit a home run.)
There were two main stories in this game. One was that the Braves scored eight runs on 12 hits, seven walks, and a hit by pitch, throwing together a mix of fruitful and frustrating innings but leading all the way. The other was that Matt Wisler had a great start in his second rotation turn since returning from Gwinnett.
Wisler pitched six frames of four-hit, one run ball. He did allow three walks, but also garnered 10 strikeouts, a new career high for him. The only real blemish was a fourth-inning two-seamer that caught too much of the plate to Arcia, giving the Padres their lone run of the contest.
Baserunners and runs came early and often for the Braves, though there were plenty of adventures to be had. 2008 Braves draftee Paul Clemens (dealt to Houston in the Michael Bourn deal, and pitching for his sixth major league organization) had another unfortunate start, recording just nine outs while allowing eight baserunners (including four walks).
The Braves got on the board in the first in weird fashion: Ender Inciarte reached on an error, stole second and third, and then after Freddie Freeman failed to bring him home in a sacrifice fly situation, scored the game’s first run on a balk. The second inning was uneventful, but things got even wackier in the third.
Wisler led off the inning with a single, and Clemens then walked Inciarte on five pitches. Clemens then fell behind Adonis Garcia and grooved a 3-1 pitch that Garcia mauled off the left-center field fence, scoring Wisler. Clemens then uncorked a wild pitch (note: not an official wild pitch) for ball four to Freeman, which prompted Inciarte to dash home. However, the ball caromed off the backstop right back to the catcher, and Inciarte was tagged out prior to touching the plate. The official ruling was something you don’t see every day:
The Braves still had two on, one out at that point, but Matt Kemp hit into the ol’ 5-3 double play to end that particular rally with just one run to show for it.
A single sandwiched by two walks to lead off the fourth chased Clemens from the game. Bases loaded, none out situations are dangerous ones for these Braves, and they didn’t (or did, depending on how you look at it) disappoint against Jose Dominguez, who came on in relief: Dansby Swanson struck out swinging with the bases juiced and none out, and then Matt Wisler hit the first pitch he saw into an inning-ending 6-4-3 twin killing.
The Braves featured a more conventional “lots of baserunners” result in the sixth, where they scored four runs. With the bases loaded thanks to two walks and a hit by pitch and one out, pinch-hitter Gordon Beckham fell behind Kevin Quackenbush, but then laced a 1-2 fastball into center field for a two-run double. Inciarte followed with a liner into right field, scoring two more runs. (Garcia then hit into a double play, ‘cause you gotta do something with those excess baserunners.)
The Braves also loaded the bases, but didn’t score, in the seventh, before getting two more runs in the eighth. This time, Inciarte singled and Garcia doubled before a Freddie Freeman single scored one and a Matt Kemp sacrifice fly capped the scoring.
On the relief end, Jose Ramirez, Mauricio Cabrera, and Jim Johnson closed out the game, allowing just one hit while striking out four (Johnson struck out the side in a non-save situation).
Garcia led the Braves offensively with two doubles and a single; Dansby Swanson went 0-for-3 with a walk, run, and strikeout. The Braves go for the sweep in an afternoon game tomorrow - it’s a 12:10 start, so be advised.