A rain delay proved beneficial for Jake Odorizzi once again as he turned in his longest and best start as a Brave against the Pirates on Monday night. After weather pushed first pitch back an hour, the righthander only gave up one run on four hits in 6.0 innings pitched, striking out seven Pirate batters while walking none in his first win in an Atlanta jersey. At the plate, Michael Harris II provided the main highlight in the form of an opposite-field two-run homer that gave the Braves just enough to take the opener.
With the win, the Braves improved to 76-48 on the year and have won 12 of their last 14, while the Pirates dropped to 47-75, having lost 13 of 20 so far in the month of August.
The first inning featured squandered threats for both teams. Ronald Acuña Jr. led off the game with a double tattooed at 110.6 MPH to left center field and advanced to third on a wild pitch with two outs but was left stranded. In the bottom of the frame, Odorizzi got himself out of trouble quicker than he got into it, starting this double play to escape a runners-on-the-corners-with-one-out situation.
The two sides traded baserunners with nothing to show for it in the second and were both retired in order in the third and fourth. Odorizzi sat the Pirates down on just 10 pitches in the latter frame.
Harris II broke the scoreless tie in the fifth, following up a Vaughn Grissom single with an opposite-field blast.
The momentum looked to continue as Acuña Jr. singled up the middle a few batters later, but Dansby Swanson grounded into a double play. The single proved to be the last Atlanta hit of the game.
In the bottom of the fifth, Odorizzi’s streak of consecutive Pirates retired ended at eight on an Oneil Cruz solo shot to right to cut the Atlanta lead in half. After the homer, though, Odorizzi sat down five straight Pittsburgh hitters to end his strong outing. His pitches had some great movement to them, especially as the outing went on.
AJ Minter got the ball in the seventh inning and threw a scoreless frame despite giving up a one-out single to Michael Chavis, and Raisel Iglesias did the same in the eighth even after walking the leadoff man. Kenley Jansen closed the door, earning his 29th save of the season by sitting down the Pirates’ 3, 4, and 5 hitters in order.
On a night when offense was hard to come by, one positive offensive note was the fact that after drawing some concerns about his rising strikeout numbers over the weekend, Harris II walked twice tonight, good for his first multiple-walk game of his major league career.
This youth movement. pic.twitter.com/WlOKHUyoPC— Bally Sports: Braves (@BravesOnBally) August 23, 2022
The series continues Tuesday night as Max Fried takes on JT Brubaker at 7:05PM.