If you tuned in tonight wanting a close, competitive baseball game, like the kind the Braves played three nights in a row when sweeping the Reds earlier this week... this game wasn’t it. On the other hand, if you just wanted to see the Braves romp all over a struggling team, then this was the game for you. Describing it sequentially doesn’t really help, because the result wasn’t in much doubt from the top of the first. Instead, here are the highlights of Friday night’s action as the Braves easily notched a 10-3 win in Kansas City.
Five, count ‘em, five homers
The Braves went back-to-back off Brady Singer in the first. Matt Olson destroyed a mistake 1-2 sinker into left field for a two-run shot after Ronald Acuña Jr. singled, and then Austin Riley made it 3-0 when he connected on a hanging Singer slider.
Sam Hilliard started the second inning by taking Singer’s first pitch, a middle-middle changeup, out to right for his first homer as a Brave. Two innings later, Sean Murphy connected on another hanging slider from Singer for another solo shot. Hilliard’s homer made it 5-1; Murphy’s made it 8-2.
The most amusing homer came after the Braves were already leading 8-3. With Singer out of the game, the Royals turned to Jose Cuas. With an 0-1 count, Acuña called time but didn’t receive it, and a meaty sinker floated across the plate for strike two. Visibly miffed, Acuña got back in the box, sniffed out a slider below the zone, and demolished it into left for an absolute no-doubter. That capped the scoring at 10-3 Braves.
Someone post a tweet that strings together all the homer clips in the comments, please!
Charlie Morton was okay
After two mneh (mneh is roughly equal to meh) starts, I can’t say that Morton really dominated the Royals or anything, but his start was... fine. He finished with a 5/2 K/BB ratio across six innings of work, and also hit a batter (with the bases loaded, for the Royals’ third run, no less). Morton had little trouble with the bottom of the order, but allowed a lot of traffic when the Kansas City lineup swung over to the top. The runs he allowed came on:
- A Vaughn Grissom error that Morton could’ve caught at first (more on that below)
- A sacrifice fly that was only a sacrifice fly because Kevin Pillar made a crazy sliding catch in foul territory with a runner on third.
- The bases-loaded hit-by-pitch.
It was fine. Morton’s runs allowed line was really salvaged by a 5-3 inning-ending double play with the bases loaded and one out in the sixth, as Edward Olivares hit it right to Austin Riley.
The bullpen had way fewer struggles: Dylan Lee, Joe Jimenez, and Danny Young threw three innings of one-hit, four-strikeout ball. It kind of felt like Danny Young might have been able to throw three perfect innings himself, the way this night went for the home team.
Vaughn Grissom’s adventurous debut
Defensively, this was not a game where Vaughn Grissom quieted doubts about his defense. On his first chance of the season, he got a routine grounder, and couldn’t record the out because he pump-faked while Olson was ostensibly making his way to first to receive the throw. Immediately afterwards, with men on first and second, Vinnie Pasquantino hit into what could’ve been a 3-6-1 double play, but Grissom fired above Morton for a run-scoring error.
In the third, Grissom was charged with an error for booting a grounder, and then was immediately involved in another infield single on a ball hit to him. He later made a nice tumbling play to cut off a grounder and throw to first to end the inning — had he not done so, a run would’ve scored since the bases were loaded (though largely due to his own defensive play).
In the fifth, Bobby Witt Jr., who had already reached twice on infield singles to Grissom, rolled one past him. Only in the seventh did Witt hit the ball to Grissom again, though this time Grissom caught it on a line.
Offensively, Grissom went 1-for-4 with an RBI double in the first inning. The double was amusing, as it was hit down the right-field line on the ground, despite being a pitch at the top of the zone.
The Braves will continue their series in Kansas City on Saturday, with a 4:10 pm ET start time.