Strider 8 fans, Braves beat Pirates 4-2 for 9th straight win
A move toward simplicity served Spencer Strider well in his first home start.
The adjustment could help Strider keep his new spot in the Atlanta Braves rotation.
Strider edged Roansy Contreras in a hard-pitch rookie matchup, Dansby Swanson had three hits, including a two-run homer, and the Braves beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 4-2 on Friday night for their ninth straight win.
The winning streak is the longest in the National League this season. Houston and the New York Yankees have gone 11 straight games.
The Pirates have lost four in a row, tying their longest losing slip of the season.
Strider (2-2) allowed just four hits with eight strikeouts and one walk in 5 2/3 scoreless innings. Strider, making his first home start and only his third overall, pitched the sixth inning for the first time.
“I really wanted to simplify things,” Strider said, adding that he felt he made it too hard for himself on his last start, when he only lasted 4 innings and one. third and had received no decision in a 6-2 win at Colorado on Saturday. .
Strider said his plan was to “just focus on being in line with the plate.” He allowed just two hits in his first five innings.
Strider, 23, started the season as a reliever before moving into fifth in the rotation. He credited Swanson for giving him a boost of confidence, as well as some advice, after his Colorado debut.
“He was just telling me my business was good and he saw it behind me,” Strider said, referring to Swanson’s take on his job from the shortstop position. “He can tell when I’m getting too complicated.”
Strider’s growth gave depth to a rotation following attempts to find a fifth starter behind Max Fried, Charlie Morton, Kyle Wright and Ian Anderson.
“It’s the next step in getting the salvation to where we want it to be,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said, adding it was “pretty good, awesome” for Strider to step into the sixth. .
Contreras (1-1) had seven strikeouts, including four on his first pass to the Braves roster in his fourth start. The 22-year-old Dominican Republic right-hander allowed four runs – three earned – and eight hits with one walk in 4 2/3 innings.
Swanson’s third-inning homer off the left-field foul post led rookie Michael Harris, who scored a single and stole the second. Ronald Acuña Jr. hit a base hit in the field and was caught stealing before the home run at Swanson.
Ozzie Albies’ brace to Contreras’ right field in the fourth led Travis d’Arnaud, who singled and moved to second on left fielder Travis Swaggerty’s field error.
Matt Olson added a single score in the fifth.
Strider was retired after giving up singles to Bryan Reynolds and Michael Chavis in the sixth. Dylan Lee retired Cal Mitchell to end the inning.
Atlanta’s winning streak is the longest since another nine-game series from Aug. 13-22, 2021.
Atlanta was leading 4-0 before Chavis hit a double from Jackson Stephens that bounced out of left field to lead to Reynolds in the eighth. Cal Mitchell’s sacrificial fly drove Daniel Vogelbach, cutting the Braves’ lead to two points.
Kenley Jansen recorded three straight outs in the ninth for his 17th save in 20 opportunities.
STRIDER HEAT — AND ADJUSTMENTS
Strider has made 14 throws at 99 mph or more for the third time this season. In his departure from the bullpen, however, the right-hander continued to place more emphasis on his slider and his change.
“He made some adjustments,” Snitker said, noting Strider’s increased reliance on his cursor. “Very impressive.”
FIRST YEAR BUCS
Including Contreras, the Pirates started five rookies. Asked about his line-up before the game, manager Derek Shelton smiled and said “we have about three to five every night”.
Acuña made a leaping catch on the right field warning lane of a drive hit by Michael Perez in the seventh.
Pirates: RHP Tyle Beede remained in the game after being hit near his hip by a Swanson liner in the seventh. Swanson hit a field hit on the play.
Braves: Stephens stayed after Reynolds’ ground player hit his right knee in the eighth. Reynolds hit his second infield single of the game before scoring on Chavis’ double. … LHP Tyler Matzek (inflamed left shoulder) threw a long throw into the outfield before the game for the first time since being placed on the 10-day disabled list on May 17. The next step is for Matzek to be allowed to throw from a mound.
Braves RHP Charlie Morton (4-3, 5.63) will make his first career start against Pittsburgh, where he pitched from 2009-2015, when he takes on RHP Zach Thompson (3-4, 4.60) as the four-game series continues Saturday.
More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports