The first 7 innings of the game were as intense as the last 2, both for different reasons.
The offense was not alive at all, save Acuña and Freeman, who totaled 5 of the team’s 9 hits. The team went 1-11 with RISP, with Dansby Swanson providing the only hit, and that was a sharply hit ball initially ruled an error (a double error truly, that got re-ruled as a single and an error).
Besides that, the offense looked as dead as the horse people are dragging about “watching fly balls.” Keuchel shined, going 4 2/3 IP and only allowing 1 run with O’day finishing the 5th scoreless. Shane Greene was shaky but provided another scoreless inning of relief in the 6th, and Max Fried threw the best frame of any braves pitcher, striking out 2 of 3 batters faced (the first two strikeouts of any braves pitchers) completely overpowering the opposition.
Things got a little shaky after that. Fried questionably should have stayed in, but with his skates to start game 4, there was hesitation. He was taken out for Chris Martin who has been reliable since Joining the Braves in July at the trade deadline. However, as he was warming up, he felt pain in his side and was later diagnosed with an oblique injury.
Luke Jackson entered in his stead and was less than great in his 5 batters faced, allowing one run to score. Melancon then came in to finish out the inning to limit damage and got out, but not before allowing an additional run to score, charged to Jackson. Melancon had a shaky top of the next inning, allowing 4 more runs before the Braves offense (Acuña and Freeman) vied for an unlikely comeback, scoring 3 runs off 3 home runs, but ultimately fell short, losing 8-7.
A hard fought game by the team and lots to shine from many players, but a lot left on the field. If the Braves can hit better with RISP, they should have no problem winning Game 2 against Flaherty, the Cardinal’s ace pitcher.
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Andrew Carter | @_andrewcc