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Braves’ struggles continue with extra inning loss to Pirates

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Atlanta drops to 20-24 on the season.

Pittsburgh Pirates v Atlanta Braves Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

William Contreras and Dansby Swanson homered but the struggles continued for the Atlanta Braves who dropped Thursday’s series opener to the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-4 in 10 innings.

Drew Smyly struggled to open the season, but was coming off of arguably his best start of the season. He ran into trouble quickly as Adam Frazier doubled to start the game and then came around to score on a two-run home run by Jacob Stallings.

The Braves struck back in the second as Austin Riley and Dansby Swanson reached on back-to-back singles. That would bring William Contreras to the plate who squared up a 1-2 fastball and drove it out to left give Atlanta a 3-2 lead.

Smyly made quick work of the Pirates in the third. He loaded the bases in the fourth but struck out Ben Gamel to end the threat. The Braves loaded the bases against Wil Crowe in the fourth but he struck out Freddie Freeman with a nasty changeup to end the threat.

Pittsburgh tied things back up in the sixth when Bryan Reynolds led off the frame with a homer to center. Smyly would retire the next three in order and exit having allowed six hits and three runs over six innings. He struck out seven and walked two. Smyly also snapped an 0-for-33 stretch at the plate with an infield single in the fourth for his first career hit.

Atlanta retook the lead in the bottom half of the inning when Swanson battled his way through a nine-pitch at-bat which ended with a solo homer to left to make it 4-3.

That would be the end of the night for Crowe who allowed seven hits and four runs over five innings. He struck out seven and walked three.

Sean Newcomb entered the game in the seventh but the Pirates weren’t going to go away quietly. Newcomb struck out Will Craig to begin the inning, but then allowed a single to Gamel. The runner moved up to second on a wild pitch and then came around to score on a single by Frazier to tie things back up. Edgar Santana replaced Newcomb and got Kevin Newman to pop out to end the frame.

Tyler Matzek and Chris Martin kept the Pirates off the scoreboard in the eighth and ninth but the Braves were unable to score sending the game to extras.

Jacob Webb took over on the mound for the Braves in the 10th. This was Webb’s first appearance since hitting Kevin Pillar in the face with a pitch earlier this week. Gamel began the inning at second and moved up to third on another hit by Frazier. Newman followed with a single that scored Gamel to put Pittsburgh in front 5-4. Reynolds followed with a single that loaded the bases and prompted a visit by pitching coach Rick Kranitz. Webb then got Stallings to ground to Riley at third who threw home for the first out.

The Braves would then turn to Grant Dayton to face Gregory Polanco. Dayton got ahead in the count, but Polanco lifted a fly ball to Ozuna in left that scored Newman to extend the lead to 6-4. Dayton then got Erik Gonzalez to ground out for the final out.

Acuña began the home half of the 10th at second but Richard Rodriguez retired Freeman, Ozuna and Ozzie Albies in order to end the game.

Atlanta’s struggles continue as they fall to 20-24 on the season. Swanson finished a triple shy of a cycle but Acuña, Ozuna and Albies combined to go 0-for-11 with three walks. Frazier went 4-for-5 to lead the way for the Pirates.

The Braves will try to get back on track on Friday with Ian Anderson squaring off against Tyler Anderson.