Kyle Wright turned in a dominant performance on the mound as the Atlanta Braves completed a three-game sweep of the Pittsburgh Pirates with a 14-2 win.
The Braves jumped out to an early lead against Mitch Keller in the second inning. Matt Olson led off the inning with a double to the base of the wall in left. He then came around to score when William Contreras launched monster home run to center to make it 2-0.
(last day of pirate puns, we promise)— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) August 24, 2022
All-Starrrrrrrrrrrrrrr @Wcontreras42!#ForTheA pic.twitter.com/B4SlF3Y0iG
Kyle Wright cruised through the first two innings and retired the first eight hitters he faced before a walk to Tyler Heineman in the third. Pirates rookie Oneil Cruz followed with a line drive single off the right field wall that had a 122.4 mph exit velocity for the hardest hit ball of the Statcast era.
Here's a look at Oneil Cruz's 122.4 mph single. As @SlangsOnSports said, this is the hardest-hit ball ever tracked by Statcast pic.twitter.com/oomxPISFfo— Mark Bowman (@mlbbowman) August 24, 2022
Heineman advanced to third on the play, but Wright got Kevin Newman to line back to the mound to leave the runners stranded.
Atlanta added to its lead in the fourth. Eddie Rosario got things started with a one out single to right. After Vaughn Grissom struck out for the second out, Michael Harris reached on an infield single. Robbie Grossman then grounded one through the legs of first baseman Josh VanMeter to score Rosario and increase the lead to 3-0. Ronald Acuña Jr. followed with a walk to load the bases. Dansby Swanson made the error hurt as he doubled down the right field line to score all three runners and extend the lead to 6-0.
RrrrrrrrrrrrBI double from @LieutenantDans7!#ForTheA pic.twitter.com/coBWY3bj2f— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) August 24, 2022
Austin Riley then dumped a single to right that scored Swanson to make it 7-0.
(seriously, this is the last day that we'll use pirate puns)— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) August 24, 2022
Austin Rrrrrrrrrrrriley delivers!#ForTheA pic.twitter.com/zjAt7NpSRo
That would be the end of the line for Keller who deserved a better fate after the error. He was replaced by Manny Banuelos who appeared in seven games for the Braves way back in 2015. Banuelos walked Olson but struck out Contreras to bring the inning to a close.
The Braves put together another big inning in the eight scoring seven times. Acuña plated a run with a single and another scored when Riley was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. After a pitching change, Olson hit a grand slam out of the stadium and into the river to make it 13-0.
SPLASHDOWN!@mattolson21 has (literally) left the building!#ForTheA pic.twitter.com/PFyPgArbt3— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) August 24, 2022
Atlanta’s final run came on a single by Grossman that scored Contreras to make it 14-0. In all, the Braves sent 12 men to the plate in the inning and scored seven times on six hits.
While Atlanta’s offense flexed its muscles, Wright was just as big of a story. He wouldn’t come back after the long eighth inning and would exit having retired the last 10 hitters he faced. He allowed two hits and struck out eight over seven scoreless innings while throwing just 73 pitches.
Tyler Matzek replaced Wright and worked a scoreless eighth. Kirby Yates struggled in the ninth as Newman greeted him with a solo home run to make it 14-1. After a ground out, Ben Gamel singled and then advanced all the way to third on a double by Ke’Bryan Hayes. Yates then walked Rodolfo Castro to load the bases. Tucipita Marcano followed with a sacrifice fly to make it 14-2. Yates came back and got VanMeter to fly out to end the game.
With the win, Atlanta improves to a season-best 30 games over .500 with a 78-48 record. They also pick up a half game on the Mets who were off Wednesday and now are just 1.5 games back int he NL East. The Braves will enjoy an off day Thursday before a three-game series against the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday.