In a playoff-like atmosphere at T-Mobile Park on Friday night, the Braves rode four home runs and a gutsy pitching performance to a 6-4 win over Robbie Ray and the Mariners.
With the win, the Braves have moved one-half game ahead of New York in the NL East Race.
The Braves struck quickly in the first as Ronald Acuña singled and Dansby Swanson homered for a 2-0 lead. After a bit of a summer cool down, it seems Dansby may be heating up again for the final month of the regular season.
Seattle tied things in the bottom of the second with a two-run shot of their own courtesy of Carlos Santana. The ball was flying all night long at T-Mobile Park.
In the fourth, Michael Harris II extended his hitting streak to 15 games with a hustle double out of the box. He came around to score on a Robbie Grossman single. Grossman continues to do his job, especially against left-handed pitching.
The Braves added on to make it 4-2 in the fifth as Travis d’Arnaud socked a 3-1 fastball just over the wall in right-center. Seattle answered in the bottom half with a two-out, two-strike homer from J.P. Crawford, who smoked a hanging curve from Charlie Morton.
The home run barrage continued for Atlanta in the sixth as they got into the Seattle bullpen. Michael Harris went opposite field for a leadoff long ball as his magical rookie campaign continued.
Two batters later, Grossman picked up his third hit of the night with a solo shot of his own to make it 6-3.
Morton was fine overall, but he continues to get hurt by the long ball. He’s up to 24 homers surrendered on the season, which is six more than he’s ever surrendered before. He only gave up six hits in total, but half went over the wall. He also walked two and struck out five. Morton’s ERA on the season sits at 4.08.
The bullpen trio of A.J. Minter, Raisel Iglesias and Kenley Jansen brought hime the win.
The Braves are 87-51. The Mets lost (again) to the Marlins on Friday evening, giving Atlanta a half-game lead in the division for the first time all year.
The series continues Saturday night and the pitching matchup should be a dandy with Max Fried set to take on George Kirby, who owns a strong 3.15 ERA / 3.06 FIP / 3.25 xFIP over 20 starts this season. Kirby will be the first right-handed starting pitcher the Braves have seen since last weekend. First pitch is set for 9:10 p.m. ET.