If you like pitching duels, this was the game for you. If you like the big home runs that define the game, this was the game for you. If you like Atlanta Braves pitchers whose last names start with "So" and end with "a" doing well, this was the game for you. And more importantly, if you like the Braves that sweep the Padres in San Diego for the first time since 2006 (also in the first post-All-Star series of these two teams that year), this was definitely, undoubtedly, the game for you
The first seven innings of this afternoon contest were a duel of old pitchers between two rookies. What juice ball? There are no races that cross the plate; Hell, nobody recorded an extra-base hit. This does not mean that the innings were without drama: the Braves could not erase two Padres base runners in the pickoffs (thanks to a neo-esque Matrixmovement inspired by Fernando Tatis Jr. in one case (dodged this), Mike Soroka was hit by a throw in his hand while trying to throw a touch, there was an impressive defensive play that robbed Manny Machado of additional bases and probably saved a run ( see below), and, in the end, both teams threatened to score at least once. But, in the end, the game was knotted to zero.
Mike Soroka scattered six hits in seven frames with a dazzling 9/1 K / BB ratio, completely confusing the friars with changes, sliders, and even their double edge. It generated 18 crazy hits from its 83 pitches. Quantrill was not much worse in six frames in his best start as a major player to date, scattering only three hits with a 3/1 K / BB ratio and generating one grounder after another, often at the beginning of the count. After Quantrill left, Craig Stammen approached and helped the Padres continue to equal Soroka, while throwing a seven-pitch 1-2-3 pitch with a punch.
But then, the eighth! The emotion abounded from the first moment. The Padres invited Trey Wingenter to the top of the inning, who to date provided a great one-on-two relief punch with Kirby Yates, who the Braves hit a little the previous night. Wingenter was also beaten, to say the least. With one out, pinch-hitter Matt Joyce and Ronald Acuña Jr. hit consecutive singles to put the run back and forth in third. Dansby Swanson then battled Wingenter in five pitches before succumbing to a questionable punch on a control call. That set Freddie Freeman, and he got over it, rather than redeeming what had been a miserable series for him to date. Boom!
The Braves' offense and Wingenter's problems did not end either, even with the Braves now with a three-run lead. Josh Donaldson persuaded a walk, stole the second (yes, his third stolen base of the year) and scored with a single from Nick Markakis. 4-0 Braves, six outs to get.
Oh, but those outs, they proved intrepid, at least at first. With four runs forming a cushion, the Braves asked Touki Toussaint to close the door. It did not. Two singles in a row greeted him, and up came Manny Machado, who could cut the lead to a lonely race with a single hit. Toussaint was left behind 3-0, but gift-giving: Machado shot off to the right, and the Padres did not try to make a sacrifice to escape their failed gambit. Toussaint then walked towards Franmil Reyes, and jumped to Brian Snitker to show him the metaphorical door (or the route to the tunnel of the clubhouse). He left Sean Newcomb to face the almost hero of San Diego last night, Francisco Mejía. No problem, at least not this time – Mejia missed one out to third base on Newcomb's first pitch. That created a southpaw left-handed confrontation against Josh Naylor, who harbaded Soroka with two singles at the beginning of the game, and Naylor crossed again, highlighting the middle to put San Diego on the board and reload the bases. The Padres hit hunter Renfroe in search of a late-entry stunner, and the Braves responded with Chad Sobotka to regain the lead of the peloton. After two throws, it was 0-2. After three more releases, the count was full. Sobotka fired the ball home and simply hung there, throwing himself into the center of the dead man. Renfroe made a big cut … and could only draw air. Hit three, sit down, the Braves still lead 4-1, go to the ninth …
… which was relatively anticlimactic. The Braves made a pair of base runners with two outs thanks to two errors in the box, but the deep drive of Dansby Swanson was trapped in the left-field hole by Naylor to finish the frame. A.J. arrived Minter, and despite a bad throw (saved by Freeman at the beginning) on a soft tape thrown by the pitcher and a single by Tatis, closed the book on the Padres.
Yes, it's true, the Braves achieved their first sweep in San Diego since 2006. Mike Soroka was amazing, Freddie Freeman had a great success, Chad Sobotka surprised the stadium and the Braves traveled to Milwaukee with a seven-game division. lead.