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Atlanta Braves Minor League Recap 7/7: Austin Riley Homers in Rehab

Austin Riley hit a home run in his rehab start with the GCL Braves, and Kolby Allard, Kyle Wright, and Tucker Davidson turned in a trio of strong pitching performances

MLB: Atlanta Braves-Workouts Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

(37-51) Gwinnett Stripers 0, (40-48) Charlotte Knights 5

Box Score

Rio Ruiz, 3B: 1-3, BB, .267/.312/.381

Dustin Peterson, RF: 1-4, .248/.314/.385

Kolby Allard, SP: 5.1 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 8 K, 2.96 ERA

The Gwinnett offense was handled easily by the Knights, giving Kolby Allard no support for his nice start. Gwinnett scattered their 6 hits and never had more than one baserunner in an inning, and erased 3 of those baserunners by grounding into double plays. Ruiz came through with a hit to lead off the 9th inning, extending his hitting streak to 12 games. In that time Ruiz has raised his OPS by 57 points and is threatening to break to .700 mark. Ruiz’s strikeout numbers have dropped dramatically this season, and even more so recently. Over his last 45 games Ruiz has stuck out 12.4% of the time and hit .291/.324/.413.

Kolby Allard was the bright spot for Gwinnett in this game, and got off to a quick start in the game retiring the first 5 batters he faced. Allard ran into a bump in the third inning and loaded the bases with nobody out, but struck out the next 3 batters to work out of it unharmed. Allard struck out the side in the 4th, giving him 6 consecutive strikeouts. After that 4th Allard really began to labor, allowing 3 hits and 3 runs in the 5th inning before retiring the side, then in the 6th inning allowed a leadoff double before being pulled with one out. Andres Santiago was able to provide a solid outing in relief, easily breezing through the 6th and 7th innings before running into some 8th inning trouble caused by 2 errors from his defense. Rex Brothers pitched a perfect ninth inning and struck out a batter.

Next Game: 7/8 vs (40-48) Charlotte Knights @ 1:05 PM ET

Probable Starters

GWN: Lucas Sims (4-2, 2.30 ERA)

CHA: Jordan Stephens (3-3, 3.58 ERA)

(36-50) Mississippi Braves 3, (48-37) Biloxi Shuckers 2

Box Score

Luis Marte, SS: 2-3, .306/.348/.411

Alex Jackson, C: 0-3, .208/.286/.348

Kyle Wright, SP: 6 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, 4.10 ERA

Mississippi’s offense came through in the late stages of the game to support a strong start by Kyle Wright. The Braves had no chance early against Wade Miley, who in his rehab start set down all 12 batters he faced. After they cleared Miley the team started to have some success, recording their first hit in the 5th inning. They broke through on the scoreboard with a lead off home run from Daniel Lockhart in the 6th, cutting Biloxi’s lead down to one run. Luis Marte and Brandon Downes led off the 8th inning with consecutive singles, and with two outs Connor Lien came through with a 2 run double to give Mississippi their first lead of the game and the eventual win.

Kyle Wright got off to a rocky start, allowing a single to lead off the game and then a two run home run, but after that was lights out and didn’t allow another run. Wright wasn’t able to work a clean inning in the game, and that’s been a consistent problem for him this season as the lead off hitter in the inning is hitting .311 with 2 of his 5 home runs allowed. Wright struck out 7 batters in the inning and is really rounding into form, and in the second half of the season so far has a 3.28 ERA with 33 K to 7 BB in 24 23 innings of work. It’s been all about throwing strikes for Wright, and in games in which he’s able to clear the 60% strike rate he has a 3.22 ERA. It doesn’t seem to matter exactly how many strikes he throws as when he clears 65% his ERA is still 3.22, but when he throws less than 60% of his pitches in an outing for strikes he has a 7.06 ERA. Enderson Franco pitched 2 scoreless innings of relief, getting himself the win in the process. Adam McCreery earned his second save with a scoreless ninth inning and one strike out.

Next Game: 7/8 vs (41-43) Birmingham Barons @ 7:00 PM ET

Probable Starters

MIS: Bryse Wilson (1-5, 5.40 ERA)

BIR: Alec Hansen (0-3, 7.71 ERA)

(35-46) Florida Fire Frogs 2, (46-34) Palm Beach Cardinals 0

Box Score

Brett Cumberland, C: 0-3, BB, .231/.359/.397

Isranel Wilson, CF: 0-3, .190/.227/.286 (2 levels)

Tucker Davidson, SP: 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 4.11 ERA

Tucker Davidson put up his strongest start of the season, and the offense managed book end runs to top the Cardinals 2-0. Ray-Patrick Didder reached base on a throwing error in the 1st inning, then forced a balk and advanced to third on a Kurt Hoekstra single before coming in on a sacrifice fly. In the third inning Didder tripled with one out, but got thrown out at home on a ground ball to the third baseman to end Florida’s only major scoring threat until the ninth inning. Garrison Schwartz led off the ninth inning with a solo home run to give some insurance to the Fire Frogs. Cristian Pache made a guest appearance late in the game, coming in as a defensive substitution for Izzy Wilson, which is a bit strange to do but I’m just glad to see Pache healthy and playing.

Tucker Davidson was the star of the show, continuing his good work of late with 7 scoreless innings. Tucker got stronger as the game went on, retiring the final 12 batters he faced with 3 of those coming on strikeouts and 6 on ground balls. His ERA has reached a season low of 4.11, and over his last 9 starts he has 1.85 ERA and has lowed his season ERA in each successive start. Still, the strikeouts are staying at a low rate and it’s a definite concern to see him unable to consistently produce swings and misses in A ball. Troy Bacon got a two inning save, striking out 4 batters and not allowing a hit over 2 scoreless innings. Bacon has been a solid reliever this season, with 31 strikeouts to 13 walks and a 2.23 ERA in 32 13 innings.

Next Game: 7/8 vs (46-34) Palm Beach Cardinals @ 1:00 PM ET

Probable Starters

FLO: Ian Anderson (2-5, 3.17 ERA)

PMB: Evan Guillory (1-1, 9.64 ERA)

(46-39) Rome Braves, (42-42) Augusta GreenJackets POSTPONED

Next Game: 7/8 vs (42-42) Augusta GreenJackets 12:00 PM ET

Probable Starters

ROM: Alan Rangel (2-4, 5.27 ERA)

AUG: Garrett Cave (4-4, 5.12 ERA)

(9-8) Danville Braves 5, (9-7) Elizabethton Twins 6 F/10

Box Score

CJ Alexander, 3B: 3-6, .429/.520/.571

Andrew Moritz, LF: 4-5, 2B, .302/.383/.415

Tanner Allison, RP: 3.1 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 0.68 ERA

Danville and Elizabethton partook in a back-and-forth contest, but in the end it was Danville who couldn’t come out on top in extra innings. After Danville left the bases loaded in the first inning the Twins took a 2-0 lead, but in the 4th inning the Braves fought back and a two run double from Justin Dean tied the game. An inning later a wild pitch brought in Greg Cullen to give Danville their first lead of the game. The Twins tied the game up, and in the 7th inning CJ Alexander led off with one of his three hits on the day and then came in to score on a single by Cullen to give Danville another lead. The Braves got one run in extra innings on a single by AJ Graffanino, but that wasn’t enough to keep pace with the Twins who put up two to win the game.

Matt Rowland had a rough outing for the Braves, starting with a 2 run home run before he had recorded an out, but outside of that swing was able to limit damage and even one of those runs was unearned. Rowland struggled to keep batters off of the bases and walked 3 in 2 23 innings, and departed with the bases loaded. Tanner Allison prevented further damage in the third inning and went on to have a very good outing with 4 strikeouts and only one run allowed in 3 13 innings. Brooks Wilson allowed a key game tying home run after the Braves had tied it in the seventh, but was otherwise strong in his inning with 2 strikeouts and no walks. Luiz Gamez and Ryan Shetter combined for two perfect innings to send the game to extra innings, bringing Zach Guth to the mound. Guth gave up two runs, both unearned, in the 10th inning, allowing Elizabethton to take the win.

Next Game: 7/8 @ (9-7) Elizabethton Twins 6:00 PM ET

Probable Starters

DAN: Jose Montilla (1-0, 2.08 ERA)


(7-7) GCL Braves 4, (9-7) GCL Tigers East 7

Box Score

Austin Riley, 3B: 1-2, HR, BB, RBI, .375/.545/.875

Jeremy Fernandez, CF: 1-4, RBI, .320/.352/.520

Albinson Volquez, SP: 3 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 3.06 ERA

Austin Riley hit a home run in his rehab start for the GCL Braves, but even his presence wasn’t enough for them to overcome the Tigers. After the Tigers scored two runs in the top of the 1st innings the Braves were left to play catch up, and Riley got the ball rolling by leading the bottom of the 1st inning off with that home run. The Tigers added another in the fourth inning, but the Braves finally fought all the way back to even in the 5th. The leadoff batter reached on a wild pitch on a strikeout, and then a single and a walk to Austin Riley loaded the bases with no outs in the inning. A sacrifice fly got one run in, and then with two outs a fielding error extended the inning allowing for a walk to bring in the tying run. The Tigers then scored 4 runs in the top of the 6th, and the Braves never threatened to match that although they did add a run in the 8th inning on a single from Luidemid Rojas.

Albinson Volquez allowed a 2 run home run in the first inning, but otherwise kept the Tigers off the board in his 3 innings of work. Gabriel Rodriguez was brought in in relief of Volquez in the 4th inning and really struggled with his control. He recorded both of his outs on strikeouts but walked 3 batters in 23 of an inning and had to be pulled from the game after a fielding error that should have ended the inning brought in an unearned run. Victor Cavalieri was solid at the end of that fourth and in the 5th inning, but things went downhill quickly when he was brought out in the 6th. Cavalieri allowed 2 walks and a hit to score a run, and then Alex Aquino couldn’t strand any of Cavalieri’s runners allowing 2 doubles to score three more runs in the inning and put the game effectively out of reach. Alex Camacho had the top pitching performance of the day, striking out 3 and not allowing a walk over 2 scoreless innings. Camacho has been fantastic with 12 strikeouts in 8 23 innings, although that should be taken with a grain of salt as a 21 year old in the Gulf Coast League.

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