Joe Simpson often likes to credit Jack Morris for saying that he never lost with ten runs. While it’s a joke, I think most teams feel that if they put up double digits in a baseball game, they should win them all. The Atlanta Braves did just that on a cool Pittsburgh night against the Pirates on Tuesday. It was an avalanche of hits, and an onslaught of scoring. Basically all Aaron Harang had to do was not screw it up. He did more than that, he almost pitched a complete game. Harang finished with 8.1 innings pitched, three runs allowed, and four strikeouts.
Now, I could detail every run the Braves scored in the game. That would probably take at least four straight paragraphs, and frankly it wouldn’t be worth reading. If you saw the game, you know that it was the Justin Upton show. If you didn’t see the game? Well, Justin decided that he was going to plate five RBIs courtesy of a three-run jack, and a two-run single. Jason Heyward also helped the cause with two hits of his own that plated three runs. Even B.J. Upton and Aaron Harang had RBIs in the game. So there’s the ten runs scored in total. It was really the work of four guys coming up with some key hits. That’s something the Braves lacked a week ago.
Honestly, the game was a laugher after the top of the fifth inning with the Braves put five runs on the board. That extended their lead to 10-2, and they never looked back. Francisco Liriano got tagged with his worst start of the year, as he gave up nine of those runs to the Braves. For a lefty the Braves hadn’t really seen much of before, they sure lit him up like a Christmas tree. Evan Gattis even decided he wanted to get in on the fun and hit a mammoth solo homer in the ninth to give the Braves a 11-2 lead.
The Braves offense has come alive in their five game winning streak with 33 runs scored in that stretch. Most of that is the fact the long ball has made a comeback in the lineup. The Braves have already hit four homers in this Pirates series alone. If hitting is contagious, the Braves need to be air-lifted to the CDC, stat. The team finished with 14 hits, four walks, two homers, two doubles and 6-14 with RISP.
MVP of the game goes to Justin Upton for his five RBIs. I’ll take that any day of the week. Basically if one guy has five ribbies in a game, I can almost guarantee we’re winning 80 percent or more of the time. So, Justin gets the hardware, but Aaron Harang gets the honorable mention nod for his longest game all year. That’s a pretty astounding feat from a guy that was just supposed to be a stopgap measure for the Braves when they lost Medlen and Beachy. The Braves keep the winning streak going with strong offense and look for a sweep on Wednesday. It’ll be Alex Wood versus Gerrit Cole. Don’t miss it!