What bullpen fight? What questionable management in the game? What uncertainty of initial rotation? What offensive life of short duration? The Braves made all these questions very, very questionable on Sunday night, bursting offensively early and, often, for a triumphant and definitive victory of 11-5 over the Cleveland Indians. The party started with two home runs by Josh Donaldson in the first two innings of the game and did not end until much, much later, when Max Fried threw a series of zeros and the rest of the lineup joined in the fun of scoring.
This was supposed to be an intriguing throwing matchup between two promising young players, but Cleveland starter Shane Bieber could not keep that promise in particular. The Braves stormed Bieber for seven runs, which also reflects the number of batters the Braves actually pulled. Donaldson scored it for two homers: the first came with a sliding control on the knees that was driven to the right center; the second was a very high fastball that Donaldson took about a trillion feet in the Cleveland night. After conceding a double double to Brian McCann in the third and then not being able to retire Dansby Swanson in a great success that was dictated an error in the third baseman José Ramírez, the manager of the Tribe Terry Francona had to spend his 60th birthday sending to Bieber to the showers and asking for a procession of ineffective relievers to try to keep the score manageable (what they did not do). The Braves finished scoring three more runs in the third after Bieber's game, and added singleton runs in the fourth, sixth and seventh.
Meanwhile, Max Fried only went to work and did his thing. After the Braves took a 2-0 lead in Donaldson's first home run; an RBI Nick Markakis doubled the right-field foul line that Freddie Freeman scored), Fried had a kind of rare first inning in which he had two quick outs but then issued three consecutive walks because of some questionable no-strike calls. But, he did not break, as he got another flying routine from Jason Kipnis with the sacks full to end the threat.
After that, it was basically all of Atlanta. In the second, it was Donaldson's three-run shot that made the score 5-0, scoring Matt Joyce (starting double) and Ozzie Albies (hit by pitch). In the third, Ender Inciarte bent to the left to score McCann (formerly double the left field wall in which he tried to walk the second and barely reached before the tag) and then Albies hit a two-run single. his own Swanson scorer (scope in smash error) and Initiate. Those runs were ceded by new reliever Tyler Olson, who also played a role in the Cleveland bullpen crisis yesterday.
In the fourth, the Braves victimized Cody Anderson (also part of the Indians' merger last night), when Donaldson hit a single to lead the box, went on to second place with a wild pitch and scored with a Freeman single. . The Braves were actually three up, three down against Anderson in the fifth, but then they had another run in the sixth. as Freeman doubled with one out, and then Cleveland LOOGY Oliver Perez could not retire nor Markakis (single inside the box) nor McCann (simple single). Then, in the seventh, Freeman managed the eleventh and final race of his team with a first-level single, punishing the fresh bullpen meat Dan Otero for walking two in the entrance.
The seventh was also when the Tribe finally entered the board. Up to that point, Max Fried had surpbaded Cleveland's three times complete orders, allowing only five hits and striking out five batters. I had walked three to that point, but none since the first entry. With the great advantage, Fried simply continued to throw strikes, and while the Indians managed to collect consecutive singles a couple of times, they never managed to turn them into races. The fourth time through the order he finally managed to find a crack in Fried's armor. Francisco Lindor hit a home run with a 3-1 pitch in his team's first race, eliminating the sequencing of the equation. A roll in the middle of the next batter spelled the end of Fried's day. Jesse Biddle arrived, who allowed a walk and a soft touch of touchdown in the right field, but this was mainly the execution of the rope at this point. The Fried line finished with a 6/3 K / BB ratio and two runs allowed in 6 one/3 work tickets
Josh Tomlin faced his former team for the eighth and ninth. He allowed some runs (Roberto Pérez's homer in the eighth inning, three singles in the ninth that led to two runs scored due to a really bizarre decision by Ender Inciarte to send a shot to the void for no obvious reason), but he closed the door anyway. .
This game definitely featured some oddities despite the uneven score. Cleveland receiver Kevin Plawecki threw a 1-2-3 ninth for the Tribe. (Ozzie Albies hit with his right hand against his curves from 70 to 80 mph). Plawecki was the only "pitcher" from Cleveland with a perfect night. Roberto Pérez, he with 70 wRC + and a mark of 37 in this game, was 3-for-4 with a dinger, raising his season mark to 70. It was his first 3-hit game since 2017.
The Atlanta offense basically went to hell. They hit 16 hits. Each opener had at least one blow; more had multiple hits than one hit. Five batters finished with an extra-base hit, more than they did not get one. Josh Donaldson recorded his first two-homer game since August 2017, and increased his WRC + by 28 points to 139. You have to love the April statistics.
The Braves move above .500 once again and now they feel just one game behind the Phillies (just like the Mets) for division leadership. Tomorrow they enjoy a day off before staying within the boundaries of Buckeye State and starting a series with the Reds on Tuesday night.