The Atlanta Braves’ scored early and then held on late to complete a four-game sweep of the Colorado Rockies with an 8-7 win Sunday.
After waiting for extra innings to get going in their previous two games, the Braves got to work quickly against Rockies starter Ryan Feltner. Ronald Acuña Jr. led off the game with a bloop single down the line and then moved into scoring position on a walk by Dansby Swanson. Austin Riley followed with a line drive single to left and the Braves had a quick 1-0 lead.
Picking up where we left off!#ForTheA pic.twitter.com/udhI9qjCQC— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) June 5, 2022
After a fly out by Matt Olson, Feltner hit Travis d’Arnaud to load the bases. William Contreras struck out for the second out, but Ozzie Albies lined a first pitch single to right that scored two more to make it 3-0. Feltner needed 38 pitches to get through the first.
Ozzie is locked in!#ForTheA | @ozzie pic.twitter.com/uY158dYHYn— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) June 5, 2022
Charlie Morton couldn’t take advantage of the early lead as his first inning struggles continued. Morton issued back-to-back walks to Connor Joe and Yonathan Daza to begin the inning. He struck out Charlie Blackmon but then left a 1-2 curveball over the middle of the plate to Brendan Rogers who doubled off the left field wall. Joe and Daza scored to cut Atlanta’s lead to 3-2. Ryan McMahon followed with a single to left that scored Rogers and tied the game.
Morton then walked Randal Grichuk, but recovered and struck out Sam Hilliard and Garrett Hampson to escape with no further damage. Morton needed 41 pitches to clear the inning.
With the three-run lead squandered, Atlanta’s offense got right back to work. Acuña singled with one out and then moved up to second on a single by Swanson. Acuña moved over to third on a fly out by Riley before Olson launched a monstrous home run to center to give Atlanta back the lead 6-3.
MAAATTTTT! #HyundaiHighlight | @mattolson21 pic.twitter.com/Bi44lrUBJf— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) June 5, 2022
Morton allowed a single in a scoreless second and then found himself in trouble again in the third. Rodgers and McMahon led off the inning with singles before Grichuk hit a liner back off Morton who deflected it and recovered to get the force out at third. Morton got his glove on it but it appeared that the ball got part of Morton’s fingers before hitting his upper arm.
Slow this down around the :04-:05 mark. Looks like the ball might have got a portion of Morton's fingers before hitting the upper portion of his right arm pic.twitter.com/iWISM197DG— Mark Bowman (@mlbbowman) June 5, 2022
The Braves’ training staff along with manager Brian Snitker came out to check on Morton who didn’t look comfortable while throwing some warm up pitches, but he stayed in the game nonetheless. Morton then got Sam Hilliard and Hampson to ground into force plays to get out of the inning.
The Braves added an insurance run in the fifth as Adam Duvall doubled off the right center wall and then came home to score thanks to a wild pitch and a throwing error by Rockies catcher Brian Serven.
Morton retired the side in order in the fourth and then struck out Blackmon to begin the fifth. He then allowed a solo home run to Rodgers that cut the lead to 7-4, but came back and struck out McMahon and Grichuk to end the inning.
Morton clearly still isn’t his normal self, but after a 41 pitch first inning, getting through five is a positive accomplishment. He allowed six hits, three walks and four runs to go along with eight strikeouts.
Dylan Lee and Collin McHugh pitched around a pair of singles in a pair of scoreless innings. The Braves tacked on another run in the eighth when Acuña launched an 0-2 pitch way over the wall in left to make it 8-4.
Ronnie rocket! #ForTheA | @ronaldacunajr24 pic.twitter.com/ckSNZ7XQyn— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) June 5, 2022
That would prove to be a big run. Will Smith entered in the eighth and struck out the first two hitters he faced before Garrett Hampson lined a single to right. Brian Serven followed with a two-run shot to left center to cut the lead to 8-6. Smith then walked Connor Joe but then got Daza to fly out harmlessly to left to end the threat.
Kenley Jansen entered in the ninth and promptly served up a solo home run to Blackmon to lead off the inning. With the margin for error erased, Jansen got Rodgers to pop out for the first out and then struck out McMahon with a nasty cutter. C.J. Cron then came on to pinch-hit and delivered a double off the wall in right. Sam Hilliard then grounded to Olson at first who just beat him to the bag with a dive for the final out.
The Braves extend their winning streak to a season-best, five-straight games and climb above the .500 mark for the first time since opening weekend. Acuña finished with four hits and stole his 10th base of the season. Swanson reached base three times while Duvall finished with two hits.
The Braves will enjoy their first off day in a stretch of 17 straight games before opening a brief two-game series Tuesday at home against the Oakland Athletics.