Huascar Ynoa’s arm and bat help Braves beat D-Backs

Atlanta Braves pitcher Huascar Ynoa works against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the first inning of a baseball game Friday, April 23, 2021, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
Caption
Atlanta Braves pitcher Huascar Ynoa works against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the first inning of a baseball game Friday, April 23, 2021, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

Credit: Ben Margot

Credit: Ben Margot

The Braves have won four of their last six after defeating the Diamondbacks 5-4 in the series opener Friday at Truist Park. They scored each of their runs with two outs.

Here are five takeaways from the game:

1. How a player rebounds from a poor performance can reveal a lot about the said individual. Huascar Ynoa, coming off his worst start of the season, was marvelous against the Diamondbacks. Ynoa held Arizona to two runs over six innings. He struck out five.

“It’s just about being able to control my pitches,” Ynoa said via team interpreter Franco Garcia. “Throw them where I want to throw them, locate them the way I want to. It’s been a lot of continuous work that’s been coming along. Hopefully it’ll keep coming. Three of (my) four starts I feel good about.”

Ynoa’s two mistakes came in the fifth. He issued his only walk of the night to Asdrubel Cabrera before leaving an elevated fastball for catcher Carson Kelly, whose homer accounted for all of Arizona’s offense against Ynoa. The 22-year-old has held the opponent to two or fewer runs in three of his four starts.

“You see him getting confidence in himself,” manager Brian Snitker said. “As he’s growing up and getting confidence, it’s really good. It’s fun to watch young guys when they start figuring things out.”

2. The highlight of Ynoa’s night wasn’t his pitching. Ynoa doubled to open the third. An inning later, Arizona starter Luke Weaver walked catcher Alex Jackson to summon Ynoa with two on and two out. The pitcher slapped a 110.3-mph single that scored the Braves’ third run. Overall, Ynoa earned his first two hits, first extra-base hit and first RBI on the night.

“I think my last hit was during little league,” Ynoa said. “It’s been quite a while.

Atlanta Braves' Ozzie Albies celebrates after hitting a home run off Arizona Diamondbacks' Yoan Lopez during the seventh inning of a baseball game Friday, April 23, 2021, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
Caption
Atlanta Braves' Ozzie Albies celebrates after hitting a home run off Arizona Diamondbacks' Yoan Lopez during the seventh inning of a baseball game Friday, April 23, 2021, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

3. Entering Wednesday, Austin Riley didn’t have an extra-base hit. Leaving Friday, he has two homers – and he launched them in back-to-back plate appearances. Riley homered in the ninth inning of Wednesday’s win over the Yankees. He belted a two-run shot off Weaver in his first at-bat Thursday, continuing his recent improvement at the plate.

4. Second baseman Ozzie Albies had two extra-base hits, including a monstrous homer to the second deck of the Chop House in the seventh inning.

“We were out there talking the last couple innings and (Albies) was like, ‘That one felt good,” shortstop Dansby Swanson said. “He’s starting to see the ball better. He’s starting to find his own. It’s crazy what chaos and confusion can do when you’re struggling a little bit. It’s hard to simplify things. For him, he’s started to simplify everything. Same for me. Once everybody gets rolling, this is going to be a really, really fun team and what everyone is accustomed to.”

5. Truist Park increased its seating capacity from 33% in the first homestand to 50% beginning Friday. The Braves hosted 19,258 fans, their largest crowd of the season.

Stat of the game

110.3 (Ynoa’s single left the bat at 110.3 mph, which was the hardest hit by a Braves pitcher since Statcast began recording data in 2015.)

Quotable

“A couple people were like, ‘Is he going to be in the lineup tomorrow?’” - Riley on Ynoa’s two-hit night

On this day

Happy birthday to former Braves outfielder Andruw Jones, one of the greatest defensive centerfielders in MLB history. Jones, who debuted as a 19-year-old for the Braves in 1996, turned 44 Friday. Jones is one of the most decorated and beloved Braves. He played for the franchise for 12 seasons, winning a Gold Glove in the last 10 of those campaigns.

Up next

Drew Smyly rejoins the Braves’ rotation Saturday as their series against Arizona continues. The Diamondbacks will start veteran lefty Madison Bumgarner, who has an 8.68 ERA through four outings.