Charlie Morton had a strong start to the game, as he struck out the first two batters and induced a groundout to finish a perfect first inning. Neidert was able to hold serve, however, putting together a 1-2-3 inning of his own. Morton ran into some trouble in the second. After issuing a one out walk to Brian Anderson and a soft infield single to Jazz Chisholm, Miguel Rojas roped a ground rule double down the third base line to bring in the game’s first run in Anderson. Morton battled back with runners on second and third to strike out Alfaro and Neidert to escape the inning with only one run allowed. The Braves’ only baserunner in the second was Ozzie Albies on a walk, but a double-play ball from Dansby Swanson put an end to that.
Charlie hit the leadoff hitter on the foot to start of the third and Starling Marte singled to put runners on first and third with no outs. An infield single from Jesus Aguilar with an xBA of .170 brought home the runner from third, still with no outs. Charlie got a strikeout and a popout to give him a chance to stop the bleeding there, but Jazz Chisholm homered to dead center to give the fish a commanding 5-0 lead. The Atlanta offense got moving some in third, as Ender Inciarte drew a rare walk and a scalding hot Ronald Acuna Jr. hit a two run two out homer. Freddie Freeman pulled a ball down the first base line, but a lucky ricochet and a good throw from Adam Duvall saw Freddie out at second for the final out of the third.
Charlie Morton worked around a one out walk and a single for a scoreless top of the fourth. Two walks with two outs from Ozzie Albies and Dansby Swanson presented a big opportunity for Austin Riley, but Riley popped out on a hanging slider right down the middle. Morton breezed through a 1-2-3 top of the fifth. Ender Inciarte hit a bloop single to lead off the home fifth, but a weird pop-up bunt from Charlie Morton resulted in a double-play. Ronald Acuna continued his torrid run with a double straight over the centerfielder to present a two out threat with Freddie Freeman coming to the plate. Freddie delivered with a long RBI single off the right field wall. Ozuna grounded out for the third out. Morton put together another easy inning in the sixth. He really settled in after a rough first three innings.
Ozzie Albies worked a one out walk in the sixth for his third (!!!) walk of the night. Dansby lined out unfortunately for the second out and Austin Riley tipped a slider right down the middle for a strikeout to end the inning. Sean Newcomb worked a scoreless seventh to give the keep the offense (Ronald Acuna) in the game. Inciarte singled in the second before Ehire Adrianza grounded into a fielders choice to leave one man on for the (possibly) human inferno, Ronald Acuna. On cue, Acuna hit an opposite field homer to tie the game, his second homer of the night, third run, and fourth RBI. Ronald is absolutely carrying this offense right now. Freddie Freeman grounded out on a ball that he absolutely scalded for the second out and Marcell Ozuna flied out to end the inning.
Now that the game was tied and with a rested bullpen, it was time for The Luke Jackson Experience in the eighth. Keeping true to form, Luke Jackson worked around a single, two walks, and a balk to keep a scoreless eighth, which is totally normal and not at all stressful. The offense went down easily in a 1-2-3 bottom of the eighth, with no Ronald Acuna to turn to. Will Smith came in and struck out the side in the top of the ninth to give the offense a chance to walk off. Austin Riley reached first on a wounded duck of a hit, a 50.2 MPH blooper that landed on the first base foul line. Ender immediately grounded out softly on a ball that travelled seven (7) feet in the air for a double play and Pablo Sandoval struck out looking to end the inning, meaning that we were treated to Manfredball in extra innings.
Jesus Aguilar doubled to score Marte (the designated runner) to lead off the inning, with Tyler Matzek on the mound. Fortunately, Matzek struck out the side from there, keeping the deficet at one, with the top of the order coming up and a man on second. Ronald Acuna had a rare strikeout to lead off the inning. Freddie Freeman flied out for the second out, but moved Ender (the designated runner) over to third. Unfortunately, Marcell Ozuna struck out to end the game. Sigh.
We’ll be back for an early game tomorrow at 12:20 P.M. ET.