Chris Archer welcomed the month of September with a solid pitching performance. Working entirely out of the stretch, Archer carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning before Dansby Swanson broke it up with a double to left, courtesy of some shoddy defense by Moran.
Archer’s final line was 6 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, and 5 SO. This marked the first time he made it through six innings since coming over from Tampa Bay, and he needed only 86 pitches in the effort.
Chris Archer exited the game with a 3-1 lead, but that lead would evaporate when Atlanta’s offense exploded for four runs in the bottom of the 8th inning. The Pirates were unable to regain the lead as Atlanta would take game two of the series.
Here’s how the scoring went:
After an offensively silent four innings by both teams to start the game, Pittsburgh capitalized on a defensive miscue by Atlanta in the 5th. After Moran reached on a single with one out, Kevin Newman hit a slow bouncer to Atlanta’s second baseman, Charlie Culberson. Culberson, while attempting to turn a double play, missed his mark while trying to feed Dansby Swanson, covering second. The ball found itself rolling into left field, allowing Moran and Newman to advance to third and second base, respectively.
Then, Starling Marte stepped up to the plate with two outs and hit a double off of the right field wall, scoring Moran and Newman for the game’s first two runs.
The Pirates would strike again an inning later when Gregory Polanco ripped a solo home run to straight away center field, giving the Pirates a 3-0 lead.
Atlanta would get on the board in their half of the 6th inning when Dansby Swanson ‘doubled’ on a groundball that bounced off of Colin Moran’s glove as he unnecessarily left his feet. Then, with one out, Ronald Acuna singled home Swanson to bring the score to 3-1.
After Richard Rodriguez struck out the side in the 7th inning, the Pirates turned to Kela in the 8th. That’s when things got out of hand.
Dansby Swanson homered to lead off the inning and the pinch hitting Duda doubled immediately thereafter. Acuna followed it up by flying out to right, allowing Lane Adams (PR for Duda) to tag up and reach third base. Inciarte stepped in next and swung and missed at a spiked curve ball for strike three. However, the pitch got away from Cervelli as he attempted to block it, allowing Adams to score the tying run from third and Inciarte to reach first base. Freddie Freeman doubled to left in the next at bat, giving the Braves a 4-3 lead and effectively ending Kela’s night.
Kyle Crick entered the game with hopes of escaping further damage but Markakis would single and Camargo would deliver a sacrifice fly before the inning was finally complete.
The four spot the Braves put up in the 8th inning proved to be unrecoverable as the Pirates went down in order in the 9th.
Final Score: Braves 5, Pirates 3
W: Venters (3-1) L: Kela (3-4) SV: Minter (12)
The Pirates and Braves will do it again in game three, Sunday at 5:05 pm EDT as Kingham takes on Teheran.