Jared Shuster delivered the best start of his young career so far Sunday afternoon at Truist Park. He led the Braves to a 3-2 win over the Seattle Mariners and a victory in the series.
The rookie left-hander allowed just a single run on a single hit (a Jarred Kelenic solo homer in the second) over six innings, striking out seven Mariners and walking just one. For a young pitcher who has struggled with walks at times, that’s an impressive line, and it earned him his first career win. I think it’s safe to assume he’s in the rotation for now, especially with the alternative being the dreaded bullpen game (of course we still have a spot in the rotation that so far has been slotted as a bullpen game even with Shuster taking the other spot).
Ronald Acuna and Matt Olson teamed up to get the Braves on the board first for the third straight game, and it’s good to see Olson’s bat start to come around. In this case, he doubled home Acuna after the Braves leadoff man got the proceedings started with a sharp single to left.
The 1-0 lead was short-lived with Kelenic homering in the next inning. However, the Braves quickly have Shuster the lead back in the third.
The Braves had a runner on first with two outs in that inning, but Travis d’Arnaud blooped a single to right that advanced Olson to third. Then, Eddie Rosario delivered one of his patented 0-2, pitch-out-of-the-zone hits, one-handing a ball into center field to score Olson and give the Braves the lead back.
The lead was in a bit of danger in the sixth, when Seattle advanced a runner to third with two outs on Shuster as he prepared to exit the game. He struck out reigning AL Rookie of the Year Julio Rodriguez on his last pitch of the game to get out of it, though.
d’Arnaud immediately followed that with a solo homer to left-center to lead off the bottom of the frame, doubling the Atlanta advantage. That extra run turned out to be important, as Nick Anderson gave up a solo shot in the eighth to make it 3-2.
Anderson had no trouble other than that, though, and Raisel Iglesias was electric as he struck out two en route to retiring the visitors in order in the ninth.
The Braves seem to have righted the ship after getting swept in Toronto, as they’ve gone 6-4 since with a couple series victories over Texas and Seattle. They’ll welcome the Dodgers for three and the Phillies for four this week to close out the homestand.