SD 6, ATL 7; Braves walk it off in home opener win over Padres

The Thursday night matchup in Atlanta featured two star pitchers. For the the Braves Spencer Strider and for San Diego Padres Blake Snell. The Braves find themselves at 5-1 before entering tonight’s game, which is first in the NL East. For the Padres, they entered this game at 3-3 and at risk of falling under .500.

Atlanta wasted no time getting on the board as Ronald Acuña Jr. hit a double and Matt Olson grounded out but advanced Acuña on the play. With one out and a man on third, Austin Riley hit a sac fly to get the Braves on the board, 1-0.

After no action from either team in the second inning, one team broke, and it was the Padres. On a 3-0 count, Blake Snell threw a fastball right down the middle, and shortstop Orlando Arcia hit a solo homer at 107.9 MPH and 400 feet. With the homer, Atlanta extends their lead, to 2-0.

The top of the fourth inning is when the Padres offense woke up. It all began with a Manny Machado double followed by a Xander Bogart’s fielders choice. With one out in the inning, Jake Cronenworth worked the full count and earned himself a walk. With runners on first and second, one of the Padres free-agent signings Matt Carpenter hit a moonshot to right field. The Padres take the 3-2 lead.

In the bottom of the fourth inning, Blake Snell achieved a milestone in his career. On a full count, Snell struck out Sam Hilliard for Snell’s 1,000 strikeouts of his major league career.

The bottom of the fourth saw the Braves re-take the lead. With new Braves catcher Sean Murphy hitting a double, that set the stage for Kevin Pillar to smack an RBI single to drive in Sean Murphy and tie the game, to 3-3.

Following the Pillar RBI single, both Orlando Arcia and Ronald Acuña worked the walks to get Matt Olson up at the plate with the bases loaded and two outs. Snell threw three straight balls to Olson and also walked him, scoring Pillar. Braves re-take the lead, to 4-3.

After the top of the fifth inning, the Braves took starter Spencer Strider out of the game. Throwing 101 pitches, Strider struck out nine through five innings of work. The only negative you can make from Strider’s start were the three runs he gave up which all came in the Matt Carpenter home run. Strider topped out at 99.2 MPH tonight and according to baseball savant, the velo was down, but that didn’t stop Strider from dominating on the mound.

For Snell, he was taken out midway through the bottom of the fourth inning. Striking out only two, the lefty on the night was bailed plenty by his defense but didn’t look his best tonight. His velocity was also down on all of his pitches, but his spin rate on his fastball was up.

In the top of the sixth inning Jake Cronenworth tied the game up by hitting home run number one of the 2023 season. Leaving the bat at 103.2 MPH and going 412 feet in the air, the Padres tied the game back up, to 4-4.

The seventh inning saw no action from either offense. The Braves decided to turn to former Padre reliever Kirby Yates for the top of the 8th inning where it was not a good outing for the former All-Star. Yates begun the inning by walking Xander Bogaerts and Jake Cronenworth, which set the stage for again for Matt Carpenter, who had hit a homer earlier in the game. But thankfully, retired Carpenter via a pop fly, but both runners advanced. Since the beginning of his outing, Yates seemed to be dealing with command and control issues which then got to the point where Yates threw a wild pitch and allowed Xander Bogaerts to score. The Padres retake the lead, to 5-4.

With Cronenworth advancing to third off the wild-pitch, Jose Azocar had one goal in mind: drive in Cronenworth. With a 1-1 count and two outs in the inning, the young venezuelan laid down a bunt which Kirby Yates was unable to field whatsoever which in turn ended up driving in Cronenworth. Padres take the lead, to 6-4.

In the bottom of the 8th, the Padres went with Tim Hill and just like the Braves decision to go with Kirby Yates, it wasn’t a good one. Hill ended up giving up an RBI single to Matt Olson and Travis d’Arnaud to tie this game back up at 6-6.

The bottom of the ninth is where the magic happened. With two outs in the inning, the Braves brought in Eddie Rosario to pinch hit. On a full count, Rosario hit a 89.5 MPH double that put him in scoring position and setting him up for Orlando Arcia who hit a homer earlier in the game. On a 2-2 count, Padres pitcher Nabil Crismatt threw a fastball outside to Arcia who took advantage of hit and hit a liner to center field which ended up being enough for Rosario to score and win the home opener for the Braves.

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