The Atlanta Braves rallied late, but came up just short in a 5-4 loss to the Houston Astros.
The Braves didn’t waste anytime jumping out to an early lead. Dansby Swanson singled with one out and then came around to score on a a home run by Matt Olson for a 2-0 lead.
Charlie Morton retired the side in the first on nine pitches and retired the first six hitters he faced. He ran into some trouble in the third as Chas McCormick led off the inning with a single. Morton came back and struck out Jake Meyers and Martin Maldonado, but then allowed another single to Mauricio Dubon. He then walked Yuli Gurriel on five pitches to load the bases. Yordan Alvarez made him pay with a single to center that scored a pair to tie the game. Morton avoided any more damage as Alex Bregman flew out deep to left to end the inning.
Morton turned the page in the fourth and struck out the side with three nasty curveballs.
Charlie F'n Morton, Wicked Knuckle Curves.— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) August 21, 2022
3101, 3020 & 3137 RPMs. pic.twitter.com/krLx542IUU
Morton added two more strikeouts in the fifth. Kyle Tucker reached with a one out single in the sixth and stole second base. However, Morton got McCormick to bounce back to the mound to leave him stranded.
It was another solid start for Morton who allowed five hits and two runs over six innings to go along with 11 strikeouts. He threw 97 pitches with 58 landing in the strike zone.
Tyler Matzek allowed a single to Jake Meyers, but nothing else in a scoreless seventh, but the Astros retook the lead against Dylan Lee in the eighth. Yordan Alvarez began the inning with a single and moved up to second on a walk by Bregman. Kyle Tucker followed with a single to right that scored Alvarez to put Houston in front 3-2. Both Tucker and Bregman moved up a base on an error by Guillermo Heredia in right. Jeremy Pena followed with a sacrifice fly to center to make it 4-2.
That would be it for Lee as Brian Snitker would turn to Jackson Stephens. Tucker moved over to third on a passed ball, but McCormick struck out for the second out. Stephens followed that with a walk to Meyers, but struck out Martin Maldonado to end the inning.
The Astros added on against Stephens in the ninth. Mauricio Dubon led off with a single and then stole second. Gurriel followed with a single that deflected into the outfield off the second base bag to bring home Dubon and make it 5-2.
Atlanta didn’t go away quietly against Ryan Pressly in the ninth. Olson singled with one out and then scored from first on a triple by Travis d’Arnaud to make it 5-3. Vaughn Grissom then grounded out to short for the second out, but d’Arnaud scored on the play to make it 5-4. However, Pressly struck out Michael Harris to end the game.
Atlanta falls to 75-48 on the season, but still finish up their homestand with a 5-2 record. They will head out on the road Monday for a week long road trip that includes stops in Pittsburgh and St. Louis.