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Braves pummel Pirates again 7-1

The third loss in a row for the Bucs.

MLB: Pittsburgh Pirates at Atlanta Braves Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

On Sunday afternoon, the Pittsburgh Pirates (18-27) looked to avoid a sweep at the hands of a surging Atlanta Braves (22-24) club at Truist Park in Atlanta.

The Pirates sent JT Brubaker to the mound to combat the Braves’ bats. Brubaker was coming off a suboptimal start in St. Louis against the Cardinals in which he gave up five runs over 5.2 innings. The home team sent Max Fried to the bump.

Things were going well when Bryan Reynolds kicked off the scoring at Truist, thanks to an RBI double from the Pittsburgh outfielder. The Pirates were quickly staked to a 1-0 lead.

Brubaker has been the Pirates’ ace this season, and was looking to rebound during his start in Atlanta, but the Braves’ Austin Riley had other plans. In the bottom half of the first inning, Riley caught a ball and sent it careening towards the outfield wall. With two runners on, the Braves leapfrogged the Pirates for a 3-1 lead — a lead they wouldn’t give back.

In the bottom of the third, it was a familiar customer on the day that would haunt the Bucs. Riley came to the plate with a man on base. Off Brubaker for the second time, Riley connected for his ninth home run of the season, stapling the Braves to a 5-1 advantage.

Finally, the Braves got their last two tallies off a two-run Dansby Swanson homer, his eighth of the season, giving the Braves a lopsided 7-1 lead.

Brubaker’s day would end after 5.1 innings, allowing seven runs on seven hits. He didn’t walk a batter and he struck out seven but the Braves batters were tattooing Brubaker on the afternoon.

On the other side, Fried went seven innings, allowing one run on four hits and three walks, while striking out a pair.

Former Pirate Edgar Santana made a scoreless ninth inning appearance. The Pirates’ bullpen, which saw work out of Clay Holmes, Duane Underwood, and Kyle Crick, also didn’t give up anything to the Braves.

Brubaker took the loss, his record dropping to 3-4, while Fried took the win, improving to 2-2.

With the loss, the Pirates fell to 18-28 on the year, while the Braves inched closer to .500, coming in at 23-24 at the conclusion of the game. The Pirates were vastly outscored by Atlanta, 33-3, and saw their run differential crater further to -78 on the season, the worst in baseball.

The Pirates head home to take on the Chicago Cubs beginning Tuesday and running through Thursday. Then, the Colorado Rockies come to town for three over the weekend.