The Braves sent their ace, Spencer Strider to the mound in an attempt to bounce back from a 3-2 loss where their defense let them down. The Diamondbacks responded by sending out rookie Ryne Nelson, who had his work cut out for him against an elite offense that was angry following some uncharacteristically mediocre performances.
Besides a 1-2-3 first inning, Nelson was not fooling any of the Braves hitters, allowing at least two baserunners in every other inning until he departed with two outs in the fifth inning. He also did not record a strikeout in his 4.2 innings of work, an unusual occurrence in this era of baseball. That would be an inconceivable occurrence for Spencer Strider and he showed why, striking out two D-Backs in the first inning with overpowering fastballs.
Quadzilla's 2 Ks in the 1st. ⛽️ pic.twitter.com/y59KcUN2it— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) June 4, 2023
The Braves would get plenty of base runners, but they had mixed success with runners in scoring position. In the second inning, Sean Murphy led off the inning with a double, then advanced to third on an Eddie Rosario ground ball. However, the Braves could not cash him in, leaving him stranded to end the inning.
The third inning brought more quality contact, with the unlucky Michael Harris getting robbed to start the inning by an outstanding Corbin Carroll catch. Ronald Acuna followed that up with a double and a heads up stolen base where he caught third baseman Josh Rojas napping. Austin Riley had the high end base running count with a sac fly to the warning track which would put the Braves on the board.
Meanwhile, Spencer Strider was putting up zeros, even if it was not in the most dominant fashion. Strider uncharacteristically did not strike out a batter between the second and fourth inning, but he was getting plenty of ground balls, another thing he does not do often.
The Braves were back in business in the fourth with the now red hot Eddie Rosario leading off the inning with a triple. Two batters later, Marcell Ozuna would cash him with a base hit to left.
Following a clean inning by Strider, the Braves put the pressure back on Ryne Nelson putting two on with two out for Eddie Rosario who ripped a base hit to right to end the rookies night.
Evan Longoria would hit a solo home run to open the bottom half of the fifth to cut the lead to 3-1. Despite nibbling some and walking his fourth batter of the night, Strider survived the rest of the inning without further incident.
After two base hits to open the sixth, the Braves made it 4-1 after a Michael Harris double play. Then came the highlight of the game, when Ronald Acuna hit a 464 foot moon shot to make it a 5-1 ball game.
After a dominant sixth inning, Spencer Strider came out for the seventh inning but only lasted one batter before being replaced by Jesse Chavez, who got himself into trouble following a single and a walk to load the bases. After Chavez hit Geraldo Perdomo to drive in a run, things got nervy, but Chavez knuckled down and struck out Pavin Smith and Ketel Marte looking to vanquish the threat.
After, it was smooth sailing for the Braves. Nick Anderson and Raisel Iglesias pitched wonderfully uneventful eight and ninth innings to give the Braves a 5-2 win to set up a rubber match tomorrow. The Braves improved to 34-24 with a 3.5 game lead over the second place Miami Marlins who have been playing good baseball lately.
Diamondbacks ace Zac Gallen will square off against Michael Soroka who is making his second start following his long term injury lay off. The game will start at 4:10 p.m. ET on Bally Sports Southeast.