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Braves blow late lead, get obliterated by Pirates in extra innings

Atlanta’s bullpen let one slip right through the cracks and fall deep into the depths of the unknown

MLB: Pittsburgh Pirates at Atlanta Braves Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Believe it or not, the Atlanta Braves held a 5-3 lead over the Pittsburgh Pirates with two outs recorded in the top of the ninth inning. A two-run single from Jose Osuna off Jose Ramirez with the bases loaded tied the game and forced the bottom half of the inning.

The Braves couldn’t get anything going in the bottom of the ninth and sent Josh Collmenter out to pitch the top of the 10th. Collmenter allowed seven runs on six hits - including back-to-back-to-back home runs from David Freese, Osuna, and Jordy Mercer - en route to Atlanta’s 12-5 blowout loss.

The loss drops the Braves to 20-24 on the season, but they remain a game ahead of the New York Mets (19-25) and in second place in the National League East.

Julio Teheran made the start on the mound for Atlanta on Wednesday. He came into the day with a home ERA of 10.50 and having allowed 28 of his 30 earned runs in 2017 at SunTrust Park.

Despite surrendering three unearned runs via a home run, Teheran managed to subdue the Pirates en route to a final line of 6.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 6 K. His six strikeouts matched his season-high as he stuck out six batters against the Mets in the season opener on April 3. The outing dropped his overall ERA from 5.47 to 4.88 and his 5.26 FIP fell to 5.15.

After Jason Motte, Ian Krol and Luke Jackson combined to allow just one hit and three walks over two innings of relief, Ramirez and Collmenter gave up a combined nine runs on nine hits and struck out three while walking two over two innings pitched.

Ender Inciarte’s bat stayed hot as he went 2-for-5 for his third consecutive multi-hit game. He’s now 10-for-14 (.714) through three games against the Pirates. He’s batting .292 on the season, 34 points higher than the .258 batting average he had when the series began.

With one out recorded and a runner on first base in the top of the second inning, Jace Peterson booted a potential double-play ball that allowed Chris Stewart to reach safely. Two batters later, Adam Frazier homered to right center field to give the Pirates a 3-0 lead.

In the bottom of the sixth, Brandon Phillips and Nick Markakis led off the inning with back-to-back singles before a Matt Kemp RBI single to center scored Phillips to cut Atlanta’s deficit to 3-1. Pittsburgh’s Juan Nicasio came on in relief and recorded a pair of pop outs, but Rio Ruiz notched a two-out single through the hole into left field to score Markakis and bring the Braves within one run.

In the ensuing at-bat, Jace Peterson doubled to deep center to drive in Kemp and Ruiz, giving Atlanta a 4-3 lead.

In the bottom of the eighth inning, Danny Santana hit a ground-rule double to score Ruiz and put the Braves up 5-3.

Inciarte made a leaping grab at the wall in the top of the ninth to record the first out of the inning and prevent an extra-base hit from Josh Harrison with runners on first and second. Ramirez then struck out Josh Bell looking for the second out before issuing a walk to David Freeze to load the bases.

Atlanta will wrap up its four-game series with the Pirates tomorrow as Bartolo Colon squares off against Ivan Nova at 12:10 p.m. ET.

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