Six Braves pitchers combine to hold Orioles to four hits in win

Atlanta Braves' Huascar Ynoa (73) pitches during the second inning of the team's baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles, Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Terrance Williams)

Credit: Terrance Williams

Credit: Terrance Williams

One game after getting walloped for 14 runs, Braves pitching responded by holding the Orioles to one run Tuesday.

Huascar Ynoa and the Braves' superb bullpen led them past the Orioles, 5-1, at Camden Yards to even the series. As the Braves begin to get their rotation in order, it was refreshing to see a clean game from one of their non-traditional starters.

Ynoa had his best outing of the season, allowing two hits, striking out five and walking none over four scoreless innings. He threw just 49 pitches (35 for strikes), showing excellent fastball command and a crisp slider.

“He was awesome,” manager Brian Snitker said. “I’m seeing him make a lot of strides here the last couple times. Controlling his delivery better, getting in the strike zone better. That’s a really good slider he has, too. That was really encouraging tonight.”

Ynoa would’ve pitched the fifth, Snitker said, but he left early with back tightness. Snitker didn’t seem too concerned but said the team will see how Ynoa feels Wednesday.

Darren O’Day, Will Smith, Chris Martin and Mark Melancon limited the Orioles to two hits over the next five innings. None of the Braves' six pitchers issued a walk. Baltimore scored its only run on a fielder’s choice that resulted in the second out of the ninth.

The vaunted Braves offense, which had 13 hits, added three insurance runs in the final frame. They nursed a two-run lead for most of the night thanks to Freddie Freeman’s RBI double and Adam Duvall’s solo shot.

“It’s very impressive,” catcher Travis d’Arnaud said about the offense. “I’ve been in some good offensive lineups, but this one is top tier. Day in and day out, you almost expect it every day. I’m really glad I’m a part of it and get to experience it with these guys as well.”

The Atlanta Braves celebrate a 5-1 win against the Baltimore Orioles in a baseball game Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Terrance Williams)

Credit: Terrance Williams

Credit: Terrance Williams

Notes from Tuesday:

- Duvall’s homer was his 15th, tying him for the National League lead with MVP candidates Fernando Tatis Jr. and Mookie Betts. That would’ve been unfathomable even last season, when Duvall spent much of the year slugging in Triple-A.

It took a while, but general manager Alex Anthopoulos' deadline move to acquire Duvall in July 2018 has paid dividends. It’s been especially apparent in September, where Duvall has 10 homers and 19 RBIs in 15 games.

- Freeman had three hits, extending his on-base streak to 31 games. It continued the longest such streak in the majors this season.

Freeman has hit safely in 28 of his last 29 games. Entering the night, he ranked first in RBIs (44) and extra-base hits (28), second in slugging (.643) and walks (35), third in hits (59) and fourth in average (.345). And he’s doing it for a first-place team, which should warrant serious MVP consideration.

“He’s so intelligent in the box,” d’Arnaud said. “A lot of the stuff he says, I didn’t imagine him thinking that way when I was calling a game against him. I sleep a lot better at night knowing I don’t have to call a game against him, as well.”

- Chasing Freeman in the RBI department is Marcell Ozuna, who’s second in the NL with 44. He went 2-for-4 with a walk, RBI and run scored Tuesday.

- Austin Riley had his first multi-hit game since Sept. 9. He went 2-for-4. While his team’s offense has surged, Riley has cooled down this month, hitting .230 with one homer and three RBIs in 15 games. It’s continued the hot-cold trend of his young career.

- The Braves trimmed their magic number to nine to secure their third consecutive NL East crown. The second-place Marlins lost to the Red Sox 2-0. The Braves host the Marlins next week.

Beyond the division race, the Braves are also competing with the Cubs for the No. 2 seed. The teams entered the day tied at 28-20. If they finish equal, the tiebreaker – interdivisional record – currently favors the Cubs.

- Left-hander Cole Hamels makes his long-awaited debut Wednesday, when he’ll face the Orioles in the series finale. Hamels will throw around 55-60 pitches and Josh Tomlin will follow.

The Braves will be off Thursday before completing their road trip with three games against the Mets.