The Atlanta Braves kept the winning vibes going at Truist Park Saturday night with an 7-2 victory over the Los Angeles Angels. With the New York Mets loss against the San Diego Padres, Atlanta is a half game out of first place in the National League’s eastern division.
In the fourth inning, Braves third baseman Austin Riley hit his 28th home run of the season, which is tied with the Houston Astros slugger Yordan Alvarez for third most in the majors. Riley has 63 RBIs this season, which leads the Braves and is ninth best in all of baseball.
“He has become a really, really good hitter,” said Braves Manager Brian Snitker while describing Riley’s exploits at the plate.
During Snitker’s forty-five years with the Braves organization, he struggled to recall a hitter that has improved so fast in a short amount of time. That’s an impeccable statement.
“I mean it’s pretty cool for all of us,” Snitker continued. “And seeing from the get go into where he is right now and the development, the growth, maturity and confidence; just what he’s doing is pretty special. And he hits all the pitches too. I mean it’s great, his approach, the whole thing, and it’s just really special.”
Kyle Wright gave up seven hits, struck out eight Angels, and gave up two earned runs in six innings pitched. He ended up getting the win. Patrick Sandoval pitched three innings and gave up five runs, taking the loss.
Wright pitched for the first time in seven days and the time off did him some good.
“I think the main thing is just kind of staying within myself and doing what I do well: that’s use the sinker and use the curveball,” Wright explained. “And it’s based on that. Everything’s going to stem from the strengths and go from there. I feel like we do a really good job.”
The Braves are 36-11 in their last 47 games and they find themselves a half game out of first place. While Snitker said this is the time he’d like seeing his teams ramp up in preparation for a postseason run, Wright says the Braves can play with anybody, anywhere, at any time.
“It’s good, yeah?!,” said Wright. “I feel like we slumped there for a little bit to start the season but we knew that wasn’t going to last. We’re too talented. So I think now you’re seeing this play good, consistent baseball. I feel like guys are doing their jobs. And we have the talent to hang with anybody for sure.”
Meanwhile, the great Shohei Ohtani hit his 20th home run of the season off of Wright in the fifth inning. Shortly thereafter, Angels interim manager Phil Nevin argued balls and strikes with the first umpire and was swiftly ejected from the game. Nevin was aggrieved most of the weekend as his Angels are scuffling in last place in the American League’s western division.