Mike Soroka had himself a night.
The right-hander started his third game of the season in the Braves’ 3-1 win over the Padres Monday at SunTrust Park. He earned the victory as he pitched six innings and had a career-high eight strikeouts while allowing four hits, one earned run and one walk. Soroka is now 2-1 with a 1.62 ERA.
Manager Brian Snitker was impressed with Soroka’s ability to throw in the strike zone and induce contact. When Soroka was in a jam, Snitker said he knew how to work his way out of those situations.
“He just keeps pitching,” Snitker said. “He trusts his stuff, he gets in the strike zone, and he’s not nibbling or anything like that. He uses the stuff, and goes after hitters. And consequently, he’s pretty successful.”
To top it off, Soroka scored his first run of his major league career in the bottom of the third inning. His sacrifice bunt turned out to be the opposite. A throw to second base to get the lead runner rolled into center field and allowed Soroka to make it to third base. Johan Camargo scored the Braves’ first run on the play.
While it wasn’t the prettiest run around the bases, as Snitker pointed out, Soroka said his focus was trying to beat a throw to first base. He scored on a base hit from Ozzie Albies.
“I was a little crazy, but you get around second and third, and then you kind of get a chance to take a deep breath,” Soroka said. “And I think just mainly trying to calm down for the next inning. And the obviously crossing home plate for the first time.”
Soroka was drafted by the Braves in 2015, and made his debut last year. His season was cut short because of shoulder inflammation. Snitker said they are working to keep Soroka healthy this season because they know his capabilities on the mound.
Soroka said he has seen the most growth in his mental game from last season as he worked through the injury.
The 21-year-old said he wants to make the most of his time both on and off the field.
“I think that’s what a lot of people like to see,” Soroka said. “They like to see you coming in ready to work. Just keep doing that, and I think the rest will handle itself.”