With Ian Anderson making an incredibly impressive debut against the Yankees and the Braves powering their way past Gerrit Cole, the Braves were able to pick up a comfortable victory in the first game of their traditional (but not-so-traditional) doubleheader on Wednesday evening.
The last time Ronald Acuña Jr. played in a game, he hit two home runs in the second game of a doubleheader after hitting one in the first game. In his return, Acuña wasted no time in picking up exactly where he left off. He emphatically marked his return to action with an absolutely massive 473-foot dinger off of Gerrit Cole to lead things off and set the tone for the Braves.
Acuña’s shot really and truly did set the tone for what Atlanta’s offense wound up unleashing upon Gerrit Cole this evening. After Acuña took a walk in his second plate appearance, Dansby Swanson came up to the plate and found himself with a scoring opportunity after Acuña stole second. Dansby not only knocked in Ronald from second, he also knocked himself in after sending a slider from Gerrit Cole up and into the Chop House seats for a two-run dinger. Just like that, Cole found himself in unfamiliar territory — he was staring down a loss in the regular season after giving up two dingers.
The Braves weren’t done playing long ball. Marcell Ozuna came up in that same inning and was apparently trying to match Ronald Acuña in home run distance. Once Ozuna’s moonshot finally landed somewhere in those empty seats, it was measured at 469 feet. Ozuna’s impressive wallop made it 4-0 Braves and Atlanta was in complete control of the game at that point.
While the offense was sending balls into outer space, Ian Anderson was busy having an absolutely marvelous debut. The rookie hurler picked up one strikeout in each of his first three innings, and he never looked like the situation of making his major league debut against one of the best teams in baseball was too big for him. In fact, he was calm and collected throughout the entire appearance and never ran into any major trouble through the six innings that he threw.
In fact, he took a no-hitter into the sixth inning. Unfortunately, we didn’t get the storybook ending of a seven-inning debut without Anderson allowing any hits. Luke Voit made sure of that as he floated the first pitch he saw from Anderson over the big wall in right field for a solo shot. The no-hitter was gone and the shutout was gone, but Ian Anderson limited the damage to just that one run and exited the game with a sterling line of six innings pitched, one hit allowed, one run allowed, two walks and six strikeouts. You can’t ask for a better major league debut than that — hopefully the first of many good starts for Ian Anderson!
First MLB strikeout for Ian Anderson!— Pitcher List (@PitcherList) August 26, 2020
This changeup is going to be a problem for the NL East pic.twitter.com/kPuxYDUTFU
After Freddie Freeman and Nick Markakis turned a pair of doubles into a run in the bottom of the sixth inning, Brian Snitker went with Shane Greene to finish off the game. Greene was fully up to the task and retired the Yankees relatively easily to end the game right there and give the Braves their first win over New York’s American League representatives this season. It’s always a huge accomplishment to beat a team that has Gerrit Cole pitching for them on that particular day, so this has already been a good day for the Braves. They have a chance to make it a great one with a another win later on tonight.