On a delightful evening at Coors Field, the Braves took the diamond going for back-to-back wins against a sliding Rockies squad down some of their core pieces. It could wind up being the series finale as well with Denver anticipating snowstorms on Wednesday.
Tuesday’s game got off to an eerily similar start as Monday’s, as Ronald Acuña began the scoring with a towering shot to dead center field. This time it only counted for one-run in the top of the second, but it should ease any Braves’ fans that were worried about his slow start since signing a $100 million extension (if those people even exist). Plain and simple: Acuña rakes. He was hitting lasers in the first ten games only to be the subject of some unfortunate luck. Absolutely nothing to worry about here.
Moving onto a player off to a torrid start – Dansby Swanson broke this game wide open with a three-run homer in the top of the fourth. He took German Marquez deep off the top of the wall to dead center, continuing his run of power to all fields. Of his team-leading four home runs, only one of them has been pulled. For the moment, this power appears sustainable. If that’s the case, the Braves’ lineup has gotten exponentially more explosive from a year ago.
That’s all the scoring the Braves would need. Because as an impressive as Acuña and Swanson were, Max Fried was even better. In his first start of the season, Fried retired 17 straight Marlins before allowing a hit in six scoreless innings. He was equally as efficient on Tuesday night. Fried came into Coors Field, a place that is rightfully intimidating for younger pitchers, and took advantage of an injury-riddled Rockies’ lineup.
The 25-year old controlled the strike zone with mid-90s fastballs on both sides of the plate. In the little trouble he did have, Fried was able to turn to his signature curveball in any count. A line drive double play in the third inning followed by a strikeout got Fried out of trouble. Some rare porous defensive play cost the Braves a run in the fourth, but it was unearned, and Fried did a magnificent job of preventing another run from scoring.
Brian Snitker would pinch hit for Fried in the sixth inning. He threw 90 pitches (57 strikes), 6 IP, 5 hits, 1 run (0 earned), 1 walks, and 4 strikeouts.
The Braves added runs in the eighth and ninth innings. Freddie Freeman, Ronald Acuña, and Nick Markakis strung together three singles, pushing the lead to 6-1. Then, Ozzie Albies and Charlie Culberson put the icing on the cake with a pair of doubles in the ninth. Jesse Biddle closed the door for the Braves seventh win in their last eight games.
Luke Jackson relieved Max Fried in the 7th inning. He allowed one hit and a walk but struck out three. Since his dreadful season-debut, where he gave up four earned runs in an inning of work to the Phillies, Jackson has 5.2 innings pitched of scoreless baseball with ten strikeouts.
Every position player that started got a hit except for Ender Inciarte.
With two more hits tonight, Freddie Freeman has his average back up to .400.
Dansby Swanson went 1-4 with a home-run. He’s now slugging .765 on the season.
Charlie Culberson only has four at-bats this season, but in those appearances, he’s 2-4 with a double, homer and 3 RBIs – consummate professional.