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Dylan Dodd's debut goes swimmingly as Braves down Cardinals, 4-1

Dodd pitched five innings and only gave up one run. That'll get the job done!

Atlanta Braves v St. Louis Cardinals Photo by Joe Puetz/Getty Images

Dylan Dodd's first career start in the big leagues was an unmitigated success, as the rookie hurler went five innings while only giving up one run. Thanks to some early run support, the usual great work from the bullpen and fantastic defense all around the diamond, the Atlanta Braves were able to hold on to a 4-1 series win over the St. Louis Cardinals.

While it's impossible to really get into the head of any of these guys, you have to imagine that Dylan Dodd likely relaxed a little bit knowing that he was already up by a couple of runs by the time he made it to the mound for his first big league start. This was thanks to the top of the Braves lineup getting the job done yet again. Ronald Acuña Jr. led off the game with a single and then stole his second base of the season (to go with two homers, for those keeping track of a certain milestone regarding a certain pair of numbers) to eventually set the table for Austin Riley. Riley not only brought Acuña home but he brought himself home as he crushed his second dinger in as many days to make it 2-0 at that point.

Dylan Dodd then went to the mound and while he gave up a leadoff single to Tommy Edman, he immediately settled in by getting Dylan Carson to line out and then getting the reigning NL MVP Paul Goldschmidt to ground into a double play. The first inning was everything that it needed to be for Dodd and he only got better from there.

It also helped that he continued to receive run support for the next couple of innings. Orlando Arcia continued what's been a strong start to his season by skying a pitch that just about cleared the fence in left field for a leadoff homer in the second inning. The Braves then added on in the third and we finally got a sight for sore eyes when it came to Sean Murphy. Atlanta's new catcher had been doing a tiny bit of struggling to start off the season but he finally got into the hit column in tonight's game — his RBI single brought home the red-hot Travis d'Arnaud from third base in order to make it 4-0 Braves at that point.

Dylan Dodd continued to have his way with the Cardinals lineup as the game progressed. He got his first career strikeout by sitting down Nolan Arenado (can't do a lot better than that in terms of milestone balls to keep) and cruised through the second and third innings with little-to-no issue. It was only in the fourth inning when Dodd got into some trouble, which is when Dylan Carlson and Paul Goldschmidt hit back-to-back singles to bring up a scoring opportunity for St. Louis. Wilson Contreras cashed in the scoring chance, but it cost him an inning-ending out because he decided to test Ronald Acuña Jr.'s arm by stretching a single into a double. That rarely ends well and Contreras was no exception to the rule, as Acuña turned what would've been a spectacular catch into a spectacular throw.

After Dodd's fourth-inning blemish, he gave up another pair of hits in the fifth inning. This time, there were runners on second and third with two outs before Dodd managed to get Tommy Edman to fly out to right field to end the scoring threat. It also ended Dodd's night — although he was only on 73 pitches at this point, Brian Snitker made the smart decision to keep him from having to face the heart of St. Louis’ order for a third time. Dodd's night ended with five innings pitched, six hits allowed, no walks given up and just one run allowed with three strikeouts. Dylan Dodd gave the Braves exactly what they needed tonight and it was a very encouraging debut for the rookie hurler.

The Cardinals didn't threaten to score again until the seventh inning, which is when they got a pair of hits on Joe Jiménez. Jiménez left the game with two outs in the seventh in order to set up a lefty-on-lefty matchup between Dylan Lee and Brendan Donovan. Donovan delivered by hitting a single to right field, where Ronald Acuña Jr. was once again ready and willing to fire a laser beam of a throw to home plate. Tyler O'Neill didn't exactly turn on the jets rounding third base and that was a recipe for disaster at the plate for the Cardinals. O'Neill was tagged out by a mile and the scoring threat was wiped out.

The Braves continued to flash the leather in the very next inning, as Austin Riley made a great play-and-throw on a soft dribbler to third in order to get the final out and prevent Kirby Yates from falling into a bases-loaded jam at a crucial point in the game. Riley's awesome play in wet conditions allowed the Braves to head into the ninth inning with their three-run lead intact.

A.J. Minter got the ball for the ninth inning and he had no problems retiring St. Louis in 1-2-3 order to end the game and get his first save of the season. The final out gave this game a fitting ending as far as the Braves are concerned, as Matt Olson made a sliding catch on a pop up in foul territory to end the game and secure the series victory for Atlanta.

The two teams will have a quick turnaround, as the Braves will be back in action at 1:15 p.m. ET with a second chance to get their first sweep of the season. The season-opening road trip for the Braves has already been a success and hopefully they'll be able to fly back home on an extremely high note with a win tomorrow afternoon.

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