“He’s come a long way,” manager Brian Snitker said. “He’s pitching with a lot of confidence. He’s experiencing some things that he’s never experienced before right now. It’s good for him to go through all this.”
Wright has shown continued growth during a breakout season. And the Braves have needed Wright because Charlie Morton has had an up-and-down year and the fifth starter spot has been an adventure.
Along with Max Fried and Spencer Strider, Wright has been one of the Braves’ top three starting pitchers. He no longer comes with question marks.
“The crazy part is I just think he can only continue to get better,” Dansby Swanson said.
2. Two lengthy innings to begin his outing left you wondering if Wright would have a short night.
A couple hours later, he exited the game to applause from Braves fans … in the sixth inning. It became the latest example of his development. He is a new pitcher, unrecognizable from his previous self.
Wright needed 51 pitches to complete the first two innings.
He only threw 49 the rest of the way. He exited after allowing one run over 5 1/3 innings. Wright gave up three hits and walked three batters, but struck out four. Wright leads MLB with 18 wins – two more than anyone else.
“I think for me, I was trying to almost slow the game down too much,” Wright said of the first couple innings. “I was trying to get myself under control and, really, I needed to do the opposite, and that was kind of turn up the intensity.”
Something that helped: A mound visit from pitching coach Rick Kranitz that unfolded unlike others.
“He kind of tried to come at me a little – not in a bad way,” Wright said. “(He) was trying to just ramp me up a little bit, which I think for me was huge.”
Wright surrendered a run in the first, then held San Francisco scoreless the rest of the way. That included escaping a bases-loaded jam in the second inning, a situation that might have caused him to spiral in previous years.
3. Matt Olson is slumping. Austin Riley has struggled this month. Ronald Acuña, through knee pain, has searched for himself this season.
The Braves’ top of the order has not performed and produced up to potential recently. It is, of course, still a major threat.
In a tie game in the third inning, Dansby Swanson followed Acuña’s single by launching a two-run homer off San Francisco’s Jakob Junis. The blast to left field departed Swanson’s bat at 106.7 mph and traveled an estimated 385 feet to give the Braves a two-run lead. Swanson then gave the Braves an insurance run with a run-scoring single in the ninth inning.
Asked what goes into achieving consistency as he has this season, Swanson smiled and joked: “If you got any good answers for me – I don’t even know if I have an answer.”
He continued with this: “I just think a lot of it goes with the preparation, continuing to prepare to win. I feel like a winning mentality, it leads to good things. I feel like no matter of you’re going good or bad, with putting the emphasis on winning, it is infectious for our team to have that mentality.”
Swanson, a free agent at season’s end, is experiencing a career year on both sides of the chalk for Atlanta.
4. In Monday’s series opener, the Giants took advantage of a couple Braves miscues, including scoring the deciding run on an error.
The Braves returned the favor on Tuesday.
With two outs in the third inning, Travis d’Arnaud hit a line drive toward right fielder Luis Gonzalez. Gonzalez appeared to lose it in the lights and tried to track it, but couldn’t catch the ball, which appeared to hit off his glove.
Michael Harris made the Giants pay with a run-scoring single fielded by Gonzalez. Instead of the inning being over, the Braves led by three runs.
5. Raisel Iglesias pitched a scoreless eighth inning for the Braves.
Since Atlanta acquired Iglesias, the right-hander has allowed only one run in 16 2/3 innings. He has given up eight hits while striking out 20 batters.
Before Iglesias, A.J. Minter threw a scoreless inning in relief of Wright. Collin McHugh followed by getting two big outs, with the help of second baseman Ehire Adrianza, who started a nice double play to help Atlanta escape a jam.
Kenley Jansen, who had a rough outing on Sunday, tossed a scoreless ninth with two strikeouts.
Stat to know
9-for-9 - With a base hit in the second inning, Eddie Rosario was 9-for-9 in his last nine at-bats at Oracle Park, dating to last season, when he hit for the cycle against the Giants. His streak ended in his second at-bat, but it was remarkable nonetheless.
“He’s a winner. There’s really no number to evaluate a winner, but that’s what he is. He gets the big hits when we need them and what he does – he just makes plays.” - Wright on Swanson (the two were college teammates at Vanderbilt)
The Braves will see Giants left-hander Carlos Rodon in Wednesday’s series finale, which begins at 3:45 p.m. ET. Charlie Morton will start for Atlanta.