The Braves jumped all over David Hess (as they should have), held Chris Davis to an 0-for-4 line (as expected), and even hit a home run for the first time in the series, courtesy of Dansby Swanson’s pinch-hit, two-run jack into left field in the ninth. The win snapped a three-game skid and ensures that the Braves will have a lead of at least 1.5 games as they head into Monday’s series opener against the Reds.
Brandon McCarthy breezed through the top of the first on nine pitches, and the Braves immediately went to work on David Hess. Ender Inciarte drew a leadoff walk and moved to third on Albies’ two-strike single to left, allowing Albies to move up on the throw. Freddie Freeman then scored both runners on a liner to left. Freeman would later move to second on a wild pitch, but ended up getting stranded there as the next three hitters could not reach base. McCarthy had another nine pitch inning and even hit a two-out double in the bottom of the inning, but no runs scored. In the third, he allowed a leadoff homer to Trey Mancini, but then again dispatched the remaining Orioles with just ten pitches.
With the lead trimmed to one run, the Braves went back to work. Ozzie Albies hit a grounder that Davis was unable to corral at first, and then took second on a delayed steal (on the throw back to the pitcher) after Freeman struck out. Nick Markakis then doubled Albies home to make it a 3-1 game. After Tyler Flowers drew a walk and Danny Santana flied out, Charlie Culberson extended the lead with a double into center that scored both runners.
Facing the Baltimore order for the second time, McCarthy allowed a leadoff double to Adam Jones but retired the next three hitters in order. Hess was able to recover and allowed just a two-out Albies single in what would be his final inning. McCarthy then started to get hit harder in the fifth. Trey Mancini hit a ball off the right-field wall that went for a single, and then the Orioles pulled Hess with two outs for pinch-hitter Mark Trumbo, who mashed another ball to center field for a two-run homer that trimmed the lead to 5-3. After a Colby Rasmus grounder into the shift that Albies misplayed (it went for a single) by rushing the throw, McCarthy battled back to strike out Adam Jones and end his outing. McCarthy ended up going five innings with five hits, zero walks, the three runs on two homers, and five strikeouts.
After that, the bullpens and double plays took over. Shane Carle and Jesse Biddle worked three combined scoreless innings, finishing off two of them with double plays. The Braves did nothing against two innings of Mike Wright Jr., either. Dan Winkler worked around a two-out hit by pitch in the eighth.
Dansby Swanson’s pinch-hit homer off Brad Brach capped the game’s scoring. The homer came on a splitter around the knees on the inner third and was encouraging for multiple reasons, including showcasing an instance of Swanson still being able to get the bat around an inside pitch. With the extended lead, A.J. Minter briefly dispatched the Orioles in the ninth courtesy of two pop-outs sandwiching a groundout.
Ozzie Albies collected three hits in all, as well as his seventh steal of the season. Nick Markakis and Johan Camargo also collected a couple of hits each. The Atlanta bullpen allowed just one hit and one walk (and one hit by pitch) in four innings of work, though somehow failed to strike anyone out in the process.
The Braves are back in action against the Reds on Monday night, and have announced that Mike Foltynewicz will be returning from his Disabled List stint to take the ball against Tyler Mahle.