Two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani had shut down the Braves in a game that looked as if it might go down to the wire.

Then Atlanta’s offense exploded in the seventh inning as the team defeated the Angels, 8-1, on Friday at Truist Park in the first game after the All-Star break.

The Braves are 57-38.

Here are five observations.

1. Ohtani looked dominant. He was spinning a gem versus the Braves, who looked confused as they whiffed at some pitches and watched others go by for strikes. He threw a fastball that touched 101.2 mph, a splitter that averaged 90 mph and a curveball that got down to 76 mph.

This was an elite pitcher at his best – and that pitcher just so happens to be an incredible hitter, too.

“I didn’t hold a lot of hope, honestly,” manager Brian Snitker said.

In the seventh inning, Atlanta tagged the Japanese phenom for six earned runs … after he had one-hit the Braves through six frames. It began with Matt Olson’s two-run homer and ended with Orlando Arcia’s three-run shot. In between, Eddie Rosario lined a run-scoring single into right field.

Braves' second baseman Orlando Arcia (11) celebrates his three-run home run in the 7th inning at Truist Park on Friday, July 22, 2022. Atlanta Braves won 8-1 over Los Angeles Angels. (Hyosub Shin /


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The Braves’ offense, which doesn’t need to prove much at this point, proved once again it’s as good as any.

“I feel we are,” Snitker said. “It was a lot of good things. It was rough sledding there for a while, but it’s good to see how the guys just kept grinding at-bats and fighting through it and made some good things happen.”

2. There are many ways to contextualize the crazy seventh inning. This might be the best:

Before Friday, Ohtani had allowed two earned runs in 39 2/3 innings over his last six starts. He had given up six earned runs in only one of 15 starts this season. Then the Braves scored six runs on him in one inning, in a span of seven batters.

Let it sink in for a moment.

“I didn’t know that he was on that streak,” Braves starter Charlie Morton said. “It’s more of like watching the player, watching the guy, watching the pitcher, the stuff that’s coming out of his hand, knowing what he is to the game, for the game. I think that’s more of what I saw tonight and what I have seen when he first came here. When I’m watching what’s coming out of his hand, how quiet he is in his delivery, just the strength, the stuff, the poise, it’s an impressive guy to watch.”

As the volcano appeared ready to erupt, Angels interim manager Phil Nevin left Ohtani in the game. You couldn’t blame him. After all, Ohtani had 11 strikeouts and no walks through six innings. Atlanta’s lone baserunner over that span was Austin Riley, who led off the second inning with a double.

Dansby Swanson led off the seventh with a walk before Olson homered. Riley singled, prompting a mound visit. Then Travis d’Arnaud hit a bloop single before Rosario drove in a run. And two batters later, Arcia – who entered the game earlier because Robinson Canó felt dizziness – hit a 402-foot homer to give the Braves a six-run lead.

Ohtani had allowed eight homers in 93 innings before the Braves blasted two of them in the seventh inning. His ERA rose from 2.23 after the sixth to 2.80 when he exited.

Angels' starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani (17) reacts after allowing an RBI single by Atlanta Braves' right fielder Eddie Rosario in the 7th inning. (Hyosub Shin /


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3. Ohtani had never faced Atlanta. But Olson – formerly with Oakland and, thus, in Ohtani’s division – had seen a fair amount of the dynamic righty.

Olson entered this contest tied for the second-most plate appearances of anyone who had faced Ohtani. He was 1-for-13 with two RBIs, three walks and six strikeouts.

“He’s seen him more than anybody,” Snitker said. “He was talking in our hitting meeting. He had good advice for the guys.”

Olson was 0-for-2 on Friday before parking a ball at the Chop House beyond the right-field seats, electrifying the 25th sold-out crowd of the season here.

4. With all eyes trained on Ohtani, Morton rose to the challenge. When the Braves needed it most, he delivered.

Morton allowed only two hits over six innings. He struck out seven Angels.

But he walked three and hit two others. And he called his outing “sloppy.”

“He was a little hard on himself, I thought, after I took him out, in talking to him,” Snitker said. “I thought he threw a lot better than what his assessment was.”

5. Olson has a seven-game hitting streak. During that, he’s homered five times while driving in 13 runs.

It’s the first time in his seven-season MLB career that he’s had 13 RBIs in a seven-game span.

Stat to know

6 - The six earned runs Ohtani allowed on Friday tied his total earned runs over the previous seven games.


“Nothing but respect for Ohtani, he was amazing. But the game’s not over until the 27th out, so anything can change.” - Arcia through interpreter Franco García

Up next

Kyle Wright will pitch Saturday’s game against the Angels, who will start left-hander Patrick Sandoval. First pitch is at 7:20 p.m.