AJ Smith-Shover three 5 2/3 strong innings in picking up his first MLB win over the Colorado Rockies Thursday night in Atlanta. The 20-year old righty struck out six, walked one, and had a 31% whiff percentage in leading the Braves to victory.
Ozzie Albies, batting in the two-hole against lefty Kyle Freehand, continued his dominance as a right-handed hitter, going 3-for-4 with a three-run double in the Braves’ five-run second to pace the offense. Sean Murphy added a 3-for-4 night with two runs scored, and Kevin Pillar continued his good work (2-for-4, 2B, 2RBI, RS). Matt Olson added another moon shot, a third home run of more than 450 ft. on the season as the Braves pounded out 11 hits on the night.
The story, however, was the way Braves pitchers shoved. Smith-Shover used all four of his pitches effectively, including a tantalizing changeup that the Rockies couldn’t hit. They swung and missed at that changeup all six times he threw it. Colorado also swung at missed at 40% of the rook’s curveballs.
Smith-Shover’s performance seemed to inspire Michael Tonkin, as well. Tonkin worked 3 1/3 out of the ‘pen. Tonkin Truck struck out six in a one-hit performance. The veteran used two pitches, his slider and sinker, in recording the save.
Colorado jumped out to a 1-0 lead on the first of two solo homers allowed by Smith-Shover (1-0, 2.03, .200 BABIP). The Braves responded with the five-run outburst, powered by Albies’ three-run double. By the way, is there anything more fun than watching Ronald Acuna Jr. score from first? It’s worth every penny of my MLB.TV subscription, in my opinion.
The Rockies added another solo homer in the fourth, but the Braves again answered, this time on a sac fly by Acuna. The teams both scored again in the fifth, this time Marcell OHzuna hit a sac fly to score Murphy, making it 7-3.
Olson’s blast, his 19th of the season, came ins the bottom of the 7th, and traveled 456 miles (or so it seemed). When he hits the ball, he hits is hard and he hits it far! He’s not the only Brave that is true for. The Braves are punishing the baseball. Get a load of these number that MLB Now tweeted out:
The Braves look to stay hot tonight when Jared Shuster toes the rubber against Dinelson Lamet. The Braves have had success against Lamet in the past. It seems the rest of MLB has, too, as he sports a 10.38 ERA. Brian Snitker may run the same lineup out there tonight, which makes a lot of sense. Albies is swinging the bat well from both sides of the plate, and Olson at 5 is a good fit.
First pitch is set for 7:20 ET/6:20 CT.