The Atlanta Braves had an opportunity to close out a series victory on Thursday afternoon. By 1:30 pm ET, any optimism had vanished, however, and the team fell to the Pittsburgh Pirates by a final score of 9-4 on getaway day at SunTrust Park.
After a scoreless opening frame for both teams, disaster struck in the top of the second. Bartolo Colon allowed four singles (two of the infield variety) within the first five batters and, with aid for a Rio Rioz throwing error, the Pirates scored two runs. Then, after securing the second out of the inning via sacrifice, Colon was blasted with a three-run home run from the bat of Adam Frazier that broke the game open at a 5-0 margin.
Shortly thereafter, Pittsburgh was able to tack on two insurance runs, also at the expense of Colon. The veteran right-hander issued a walk and a double before Jordy Mercer brought both runners to the plate with another two-bagger to place Atlanta in a seven-run hole.
From there, the result was virtually academic. The Braves did scratch across four runs, with the first coming as a result of a Matt Adams double and a Ruiz single in the seventh. In the eighth, Danny Santana doubled and was later brought to the plate by an RBI groundout from Dansby Swanson. Finally, Brandon Phillips (in a pinch-hitting role) drove home Kurt Suzuki (run No. 3) and Ender Inciarte plated Rio Ruiz (run No. 4) in the ninth but it was a “too little, too late” situation.
After Colon exited after five innings (and seven runs), Matt Wisler did provide something of a positive. He navigated two blemish-less innings after arriving on Thursday morning and he was backed up by a scoreless eighth from Sam Freeman. Unfortunately, Freeman was beat up to the tune of two runs in the ninth inning to ruin the bullpen synergy.
The Braves will be back in action on Friday evening in San Francisco for an intriguing weekend set. However, the end of the four-game series against the Pirates left much to be desired and it will be a long flight to the Bay Area.