One night after a thrilling walk-off win that the team hoped would have a galvanizing effect, the Braves went back to a frustrating trend. They saw a late lead slip away and lost to the last-place Pirates in 10 innings, 6-4, at Truist Park.

Here are five takeaways from Thursday:

1. Braves reliever Sean Newcomb had a forgettable outing in the seventh, allowing two hits and throwing a wild pitch, allowing the Pirates to score the tying run. The teams entered the 10th tied at four.

Enter Jacob Webb, who was pitching for the first time since he hit Kevin Pillar in a gruesome incident. The right-hander allowed two runs (one earned) on three hits, recording just one out. Grant Dayton took his place with the bases loaded, allowing a sacrifice fly. The Braves’ offense went 1-2-3 in the bottom of the frame.

The Braves used six relievers, four of whom didn’t allow a run. Tyler Matzek and Chris Martin were their usual steady selves. Edgar Santana recorded an out. Dayton retired two in a high-leverage spot. Manager Brian Snitker said he wanted to stay away from closer Will Smith, who pitched back-to-back nights and five times in seven games, and Luke Jackson, who’d pitched three times in four games.

“They’re not ready to go any more than that,” Snitker said. “They’re just not ready right now. We have too much baseball left. And again, other guys are going to have to do their job.”

2. Shortstop Dansby Swanson had another productive night following his two-hit effort Wednesday. He fell a triple shy of the cycle, going 3-for-4 with a go-ahead homer in the sixth inning. Swanson showed a bit of everything, including his speed darting into second for his double. Snitker said Swanson is trending “in the right direction. That was really good.”

It’s been a miserable run for Swanson lately. He was just 5-for-34 (.147) in the past nine games entering Thursday. The Braves will hope the past two nights are more of what’s to come for their 27-year-old shortstop.

3. Braves starter Drew Smyly had an OK outing, allowing three runs on six hits (two of them homers) across six innings. It was the third consecutive start Smyly allowed three or fewer runs and pitched six innings, a sizable improvement from his four starts in April, when he had an 8.05 ERA and allowed nine homers in 19 innings.

“I feel pretty good,” Smyly said. “You guys (reporters) can keep talking about three starts in a row that were bad, but in my mind, I’ve been pretty good throughout this season. I just had that couple-game slump when I was getting hit pretty hard. Even dating back to the very first game (of his rough stretch) against the Phillies on Sunday Night Baseball. The first game I gave up five runs. It was one pitch. I pitched well that game. I gave up like four (five) hits in five innings. I gave up the one three-run homer to Didi (Gregorius), but the two games after that when I came off the IL (injured list) weren’t very good. But I feel good with where I’m at. I feel confident every game.”

Smyly also collected his first career hit in the fourth. He was 0-for-33 before the at-bat.

4. William Contreras looks comfortable as the Braves’ every-day catcher. He smashed a three-run homer in the second. It was Contreras’ fourth homer in 54 at-bats. He’s knocked in 13 runs.

5. The Braves are 1-9 in games tied after eight innings. They’re 1-5 in extra innings. They’re 10-14 at Truist Park, suffering the most home losses by any National League team.

Stat to know

.048 (The Braves’ batting average in games tied after the eighth inning, of which they’ve lost nine of 10)


“A year ago, we’re almost to the end (of the 60-game season). Now, we have to keep fighting. We have a lot, a lot of baseball left. A lot of time to get really good.” - Snitker

Up next

Ian Anderson (3-1, 3.20) starts for the Braves against the Pirates’ Tyler Anderson (3-3, 3.50) Friday evening.