There won’t be many times these Braves score 10 runs and lose, but Tuesday was one of those occasions. The Braves lost 12-10 to the Giants at Truist Park, dropping them to 5-1 when reaching a double-digit run total.
Here are five takeaways:
1. The Braves fell into an early hole because starter Spencer Strider struggled out of the gate. Strider, who struck out 11 in his previous outing, allowed six runs on six hits in only 3-2/3 innings. His velocity was down and his command was erratic.
“Days where I don’t feel good, I have to work on outs and getting ahead of guys and still trying to pitch well,” Strider said. “Broken bats happen, bloop singles, not getting calls or not adjusting. I still have to pitch deep in games and get outs.”
Regarding his dip in velocity (almost two mph lower on his fastball average), Strider didn’t seem concerned.
“My velocity really wasn’t down,” he said. “Two mph average isn’t really my velocity being down. Five mph, that’s being down. I didn’t have great command and feel good, so there’s no reason to muscle up and try to throw hard. … I don’t have to try to throw as hard as I can every pitch. My stuff plays independent of velocity. It’s just a matter of getting ahead and executing with two strikes, things I have to focus on no matter how I feel.”
Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@
Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@
2. Manager Brian Snitker echoed Strider’s sentiments and said this could be a great learning opportunity for the 23-year-old. It was Strider’s fifth career start and a rare dud in what’s otherwise been a terrific start to his career.
Strider, continuing to evaluate his outing, stressed the importance of learning how to pitch without his A-grade stuff.
“Don’t misinterpret (me saying I didn’t feel good), I felt fine,” he said. “Some days, you don’t have it. In Washington last week, I felt live. I really felt good. I knew before the game started that I’d do well and I had good stuff. Today, I knew going into it – that’s part of it, admitting it to yourself and knowing you can’t just go in there and try to muscle up. What worked last week won’t work today, that stuff. Learning how to pitch under those circumstances is important and something I’m working on.”
3. Despite the defeat, Tuesday showcased the Braves’ offense in its finest form. The team launched four homers, one each from Marcell Ozuna and Ronald Acuna, and two from Matt Olson. It was Olson’s first multi-homer game with the Braves (12th in his career).
Ozuna hit a two-run blast in the second that cut San Francisco’s early 4-0 advantage in half. An inning later, Olson smacked a three-run shot off Anthony DeSclafani to put the Braves ahead. After the Giants responded with another two runs in the fourth, the Braves scored another pair following Michael Harris reaching on a hit by pitch and Acuna belting a ball 409 feet into the left-field seats.
Acuna had a much-needed three-hit night. He’d been scuffling, hitting .132 with only one extra-base hit over his last nine games.
“You just know it was a matter of time before he’s going to start barreling balls,” Snitker said. “Guys go through (slumps). You run them out there and they keep going to the plate, they’re going to eventually get it going.”
On Olson’s two homers, Snitker added: “He had a really good series in Chicago (last weekend). He didn’t have a whole lot to show for it because of the elements (wind), but he’s been swinging the bat pretty well.”
4. The Braves lost their lead in the sixth when Darren O’Day, replacing Dylan Lee with one out in the frame, surrendered consecutive singles and walked Luis Gonzalez to load the bases. Snitker replaced O’Day with Collin McHugh, who allowed Mike Yastrzemski’s two-run double down the first-base line, erasing the Braves’ 7-6 advantage. San Francisco added three insurance runs that proved pivotal in the ninth, getting three hits and walking twice (one intentional) against Jackson Stephens.
5. It didn’t result in an out, but Harris made one of the most impressive throws by a Braves player this season. Gonzalez flew out to center field, allowing Brandon Crawford to tag from third base. Harris fired a one-hopper straight down the line to home plate. Crawford was initially ruled out but replay overturned it as his foot just beat the tag. In 23 games, Harris has showed excellent athleticism and Gold Glove caliber defense. His arm is proving exceptional, with Tuesday’s play the latest evidence.
Joc Pederson, an adored figure from the Braves’ 2021 championship run, collected his second hit in as many nights against his former club, blasting a solo homer in the seventh off McHugh.
Stat to know
8 -- The Braves had their eight-game home winning streak snapped. They’re still 21-15 at Truist Park, tied for the second-most home victories among National League teams.
“It’s a good lineup. We continued to score tonight. So did they. It was just one of those games.” – Snitker on the Braves leading the NL in home runs
The Braves and Giants play the third of their four-game set Wednesday. Charlie Morton (4-3, 5.08) will start for the Braves against Giants lefty Carlos Rodon (6-4, 2.84).