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Offense wilts in front of Wacha in 4-1 loss

Wacha struck out 10 Braves as the offense only managed one run in a frustrating loss.

San Diego Padres v Atlanta Braves Photo by Brett Davis/Getty Images

After splitting the first two games of the four game home opener series against the Padres, Charlie Morton and the Braves looked to take the series lead Saturday.

Charlie did not have great command early on in the game. In the top of the first, Charlie found himself in a bases loaded jam with one out, due to two bloops and a walk, but managed to escape unscathed due to a fantastic double play turn from a nice snag by Albies to a strong throw from Arcia to Olson.

After two 1-2-3 innings from the Braves’ offense and nothing but a walk for the Padres in the second, Juan Soto clobbered a solo homer with two outs in the third for the first run of the inning. After yet another 1-2-3 inning from the Braves’ offense in the third, the top of the fourth went quite annoyingly for Atlanta. Jake Cronenworth hit a leadoff single and stole second, which extended to third due to an errant-but-catchable throw from d’Arnaud that Arcia whiffed on. With the infield in, Charlie induced a ground ball to Ozzie, who came home with the throw, but d’Arnaud dropped the ball in the process of applying the tag on what was a close play at the plate. Ha-Seong Kim hit a double past Austin Riley, spelling more trouble. Charlie induced another grounder to Matt Olson, who again came home with the throw, which d’Arnaud missed, apparently allowing two runs to score and potentially resulting in an injury as Odor ran straight into d’Arnaud’s head. The Braves then checked home base and they called Odor out, as he missed the plate on the initial attempt and went back to touch home only after Kim had scored. The score after all of this chaos stood at 3-0 Padres, entering the bottom of the fourth.

The vaunted top of Atlanta’s order was back up in the fourth and Acuna struck out before Matt Olson broke up the perfect game with an opposite field double. Austin Riley struck out, however, and d’Arnaud hit a ball well to his pull-side, but it was caught on the run by Soto.

Charlie had one of his signature hit batters and an additional walk, but some spectacular defense from Austin Riley kept the Padres from expanding their lead in the fifth. Morton ends the night with 5.0 innings and 3 runs, only 1 earned, with 6 strikeouts and 3 walks.

Michael Wacha continued to absolutely dominate the Braves in the fifth, earning his eighth and ninth strikeout to work around a two out walk of Marcell Ozuna of all people. Into the sixth, Sean Murphy replaced Travis d’Arnaud at catcher, who may have been shaken up from his fourth inning collision with Rougned Odor at the plate and has a concussion history, as Dylan Lee was first out of the pen. Lee worked an easy 1-2-3 inning, the first inning of that sort for the Braves in the game, with two strikeouts. Matt Olson managed a bit of a lucky ground ball single with two outs in the sixth, but Austin Riley grounded out to third, ending the inning. Michael Wacha ended his night with 6.0 innings pitched, no runs allowed, 1 walk, and 10(!!!) strikeouts. Dylan Lee was back out for the seventh and worked another 1-2-3 inning, as a nice change of pace from the earlier stages of the game.

In the bottom of the seventh, Sean Murphy ripped a line drive down the third baseline, but it was caught by Machado, robbing him of extra bases. Ozzie walked before Rosario had a well-hit ball to the outfield caught and Ozuna went up 3-0 before eventually striking out to end the inning without any runs for Atlanta. Recent roster addition Danny Young came out for the eighth and struck out two for another perfect inning. Sam Hilliard hit a grounder up the middle with one out in the eight, which bounced off the pitching mound and then second base, resulting in one of the cheesier doubles you will see. Ronald Acuna just got under what would have been a homer, but Matt Olson broke up the shutout with a single, bringing the tying run to the plate. Manny Machado made a great play on an Austin Riley grounder, ending the inning with only the one run plated.

Young came back out to cover the ninth and landed in trouble after an Odor double and a grounder made it under Austin Riley at third. Kirby Yates was brought on to try and keep the deficit at 2 going into the bottom ninth. Kirby struck out Machado for the second out, but threw a wild pitch to Soto that Murphy didn’t have a chance at stopping to allow a run. He then intentionally walked Soto to face Bogaerts. He went up 0-2 on Bogaerts before throwing a wild pitch and eventually walking the shortstop. He did get a fly ball from Azocar that Ronald was able to track down near foul territory in right field.

The Braves faced Josh Hader for the second night in a row in the bottom ninth and Sean Murphy led the inning off with a walk. Ozzie blooped a single in over the shortstop, bringing the tying run to the plate with no outs. Hader, however, struck out the next three batters, ending the game with a good battle from Arcia that ended in a foul tip.

The Braves will attempt to salvage a split from the series tomorrow at 7:10 PM on ESPN.

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