Righty settles down to save bullpen, pick up victory at home
By Aimee Sachs
Special to MLB.com |
ATLANTA -- With a 7-2 win over the Reds on Thursday, the Braves won back-to-back home games for the first time since defeating the Marlins at Turner Field on May 27 and 28.
Atlanta dropped the first two games of the four-game set, but rallied back Wednesday to walk off in a dramatic 13-inning game that lasted more than five hours. The Braves battled back again on Tuesday behind 6 2/3 solid innings from Matt Wisler.
"It's exactly what we needed," Braves interim manager Brian Snitker said of his right-hander. "That first inning I was like, 'Man, come on.' We're short down there [in the bullpen], and he stepped up big."
Wisler, who had lost his last four outings dating back to May 26, got off to a rocky start, as Reds shortstop Zack Cozart singled on the first pitch of the game. After Wisler walked Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips hit an RBI single to give Cincinnati an early lead.
After getting a 5-4-3 double play following a leadoff single by Votto in the third, Wisler surrendered a homer to Adam Duvall, and the Braves found themselves in a 2-0 hole. Wisler settled in after that and finished with five strikeouts.
"[Pitching coach] Roger [McDowell] and I talked about it before the game, I need to go deep today, just to kind of save our bullpen a little bit," Wisler said. "So I knew they were gonna run me out there for quite a few pitches, so I tried to get as deep as I could today."
The offense has come to life during the homestand, with the Braves hitting a collective .283 in the series with a .371 on-base percentage.
Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman, who hit for the cycle Wednesday night, added three more hits on Thursday, including his 12th home run, a two-run shot in the third inning to give Atlanta the lead.
"It's good to see when he gets going like that," Snitker said of Freeman.
The Braves hammered out nine hits on Thursday, including a two-run double by Nick Markakis in the fifth.
"Hitting is contagious, and it's definitely been like that the last couple of days," Freeman said. "So hopefully that continues with a tough matchup [against the Mets] this weekend."
Aimee Sachs is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.