Triple-A battery mates Kyle Muller, Chadwick Tromp lead big-league Braves to victory

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

MIAMI – For the past couple of months, Kyle Muller and Chadwick Tromp have worked together as battery mates for Triple-A Gwinnett.

On Saturday, they starred in the Braves’ 5-2 win over the Marlins in Game 1 of the doubleheader at loanDepot Park.

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Here are five observations on the Braves’ win:

1. Since the start of the season, Tromp has stayed ready at Triple-A. He’s played the six-game series, taken the bus rides and more as he’s waited for his opportunity.

“And then when you get called up, it’s just like riding a bike,” Tromp said. “Another day in the office. You come here to help the team win.”

In his first major-league action of the season, Tromp went 3-for-4 with two doubles and three RBIs. He would’ve had three doubles had his left quad not cramped up, forcing him to take it easy and stay at first on a ball that could’ve been a double.

Tromp, who entered with only 79 big-league at-bats to his name, tied a career high with three hits and three RBIs in a game. He never had doubled twice in a game.

In the top of the fourth, Tromp hit a two-run double after lacing a double in the third. In the eighth, he hit a run-scoring single.

Tromp said he changed his swing in the offseason. Then he tweaked his approach this spring.

“I felt like that was the last piece of the puzzle that I had to figure out, and I did a good job with it this year,” he said. “I just carried that day by day, and bring it here.”

After driving in two runs with his second double, Tromp’s left quad cramped up. The athletic training staff taped him up. He said he thinks that, even with the minor ailment, he could’ve made it to second on his eighth-inning single. His teammates wanted him to try.

His response to them: “Bring me a wheelchair.”

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

2. Wearing a softball glove he bought at Dick’s Sporting Goods (we’ll get to that, don’t worry), Kyle Muller turned in a great outing for the Braves. It differed from his first, a clunker that occurred against the Rangers in Texas on May 1.

“That one really sucked, too, because that was my hometown,” Muller said. “I think Nolan Ryan and George W. Bush were there, so that really wasn’t the best.

But this?

“This is awesome,” he said. “To help the team win and do my job is the best feeling.”

The Braves, who shuffled their rotation Saturday, called on Muller for this spot start. He rewarded them by allowing only two runs over five innings. Both scored on a Jesus Aguilar home run. Otherwise, Muller was fantastic.

He gave up three hits, walked one and struck out five over five innings. This was not the Muller who allowed seven earned runs while issuing six walks over 2-2/3 frames in May.

The Braves optioned him following the win, but he leaves with confidence.

“I knew it was a spot start, but getting the job done, they have the confidence in me now knowing if they need somebody, I’m ready to go,” Muller said. “It’s big for me, too. My last couple starts in the big leagues haven’t been very good, so having a good one and reaffirming that I can do this, I can pitch here, I deserve to be here kind of thing, has been big.”

3. A few weeks ago, Muller was walking in foul territory during batting practice when a player hit a ball that aggressively sliced toward him and broke two bones in his non-pitching hand. He didn’t want to miss any time, so the Braves got him a splint.

Well, he needed a glove that would fit over that splint, so he went to Dick’s Sporting Goods and grabbed the largest gloves he could find. So he’s pitching with a splint on his hand and a softball glove over it, and he can still catch with that hand.

“I’m out pitching in the major leagues with a women’s softball glove,” Muller said. “I never really thought I’d be here, but here we are.”

Muller’s broken hand did not require surgery.

Braves 5, Marlins 2 (box score)

4. The Braves’ defense was big.

In the fifth inning, with runners on the corners and no outs, Austin Riley caught a line drive, then fired to first base for a double play that helped Muller eventually escape unscathed. In the sixth, Riley fielded a grounder, stepped on third for the force-out and threw to first for an inning-ending double play. In the eighth, Ronald Acuña cut off a ball before it got to the wall and nabbed a runner trying to stretch his hit into a double.

5. Matt Olson homered in the fifth inning, his 23rd of the season.

He has homers in back-to-back games.

Stat to know

3 - Saturday marked the Braves’ third doubleheader of the season.

Quotable

“It’s nice to come up here when they need me and produce. I got a chance earlier this year, didn’t really capitalize on it. …Now they know that I’m ready whenever they need me.” - Muller

Up next

After Saturday’s doubleheader, the Braves and Marlins close the series with Sunday’s game at 1:40 p.m.