The Braves were swept by the Diamondbacks in a doubleheader Sunday at Truist Park, managing only one hit all afternoon, including being no-hit in the second game by Madison Bumgarner. The Diamondback’s dominant starters each had complete games as the Braves lost Game 1, 5-0, and Game 2, 7-0.
The games were seven innings as part of MLB’s doubleheader rules. Bumgarner’s no-hitter is not considered official because it was seven innings, according to MLB rules, but the dominance was all the same.
Bumgarner upstaged Zac Gallen, who allowed just one hit in the opener. He cruised through seven no-hit innings and looked like his vintage self, when the southpaw became one of the greatest postseason pitchers in MLB history. The Braves’ only baserunner, Ozzie Albies, reached on an error in the second. Bumgarner got Travis d’Arnaud to ground into a double play three pitches later.
With respect to Zack Wheeler’s outing against the Braves during opening weekend in Philadelphia, Gallen and Bumgarner might’ve delivered the two best starts against the Braves this season.
“He pitched great,” first baseman Freddie Freeman said. “I think it’s a no-hitter. I know people aren’t going to take it, but we had a game today, we didn’t get any hits and he pitched the whole thing.”
Braves starter Drew Smyly, who just returned from the injured list, found himself in a deficit one pitch into his outing after Pavin Smith belted a lead-off homer. Arizona scored five times in the first frame, with Smyly surrendering four extra-base hits (two homers). Smyly allowed six runs (five earned) over four innings. He allowed three homers.
“You hate to go out there first and put the team in a hole right off the bat,” Smyly said. “What I took out of it is obviously I need to limit the long ball. And attack lefties better. I have to get lefties out. Even dating back to the game against Philly, I gave up the game-changing homer to Didi (Gregorius) with two strikes. I had him against the ropes, then with (David) Peralta and Smith today. I have to do better against lefties.”
In Game 1, Bryse Wilson’s second start was defined by a wacky second inning. The mistake-ridden frame put the Braves in an early hole from which they never escaped.
The second inning of Game 1 started with the most common culprit of messy frames: a lead-off walk. Wilson walked Josh VanMeter on five pitches, then sailed a pick-off attempt over Freeman’s head, allowing VanMeter to advance all the way to third. Diamondbacks catcher Stephen Vogt blasted a home run that put Arizona up 2-0. Wilson walked the next hitter, Nick Heath, and committed another throwing error trying to pick him off at first.
“It was very frustrating,” Wilson said of his erratic throws. “It’s a small part of the game that’s very crucial and can hurt you at times like it did today.”Wilson retired seven of the next nine — Kole Calhoun hit a solo homer in one of those at-bats — but the Braves had zero margin for error against Arizona starter Zac Gallen. Overall, Wilson allowed three runs (two homers) on four hits across four innings. He struck out four and walked two.
“I just have to move on to the next one,” Wilson said. “Take the good out of it. I threw two bad pitches over the plate. They made me pay for it. It got away from me in the second inning, but overall I thought I threw pretty well.”
Gallen, 25, was near flawless. He hit Ronald Acuna during the first at-bat of the game and walked Austin Riley in the second inning. The right-hander retired 11 consecutive Braves before walking Acuna in the sixth. Freeman followed with a soft knock to right that ended Gallen’s no-hit bid, but Marcell Ozuna hit into a double play to quickly erase the Braves’ only scoring opportunity.
Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@
Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@
Much has been made of the Braves’ up-and-down offense, which had scored at least four runs in eight of nine games since the lineup change April 13. The group had no answers Sunday, beginning with Gallen, who pitched the entire seven innings. He allowed just the one hit and struck out six. Gallen is emerging as one of baseball’s better young starters. Since 2019, he has three starts in which he’s allowed one hit or fewer over seven or more innings, which is the second most in MLB over that span.
“He’s got three, four pitches and he can command them,” manager Brian Snitker said of Gallen. “He moves the ball around. He doesn’t let you eliminate a pitch. His stuff is good. It’s a good breaking ball, has good depth. I can see why he’s very successful. Very athletic guy, too.”
The Braves entered Sunday with a 7-1 record in seven-inning doubleheader games over the past two seasons. Drop that mark to 7-3.
Charlie Morton will start Monday as the Braves (9-12) try to rebound in their series opener against the Cubs. Zach Davies will start for the Cubs. The Braves took two of three from the Cubs in Chicago last weekend. The upcoming four-game series will be their final meeting of the regular season.