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Jun 28, 2024 3:05 am

Braves take on Pirates to begin 9-game homestand

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The Atlanta Braves will play their fourth game in three different cities over a three-day span when they open a nine-game homestand on Friday night against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Right-hander Charlie Morton (4-4, 4.20 ERA), who is 0-0 with a 6.00 ERA in one career start against Pittsburgh, is scheduled to start the opener for Atlanta.

The Pirates, who bring in a two-game winning streak, will counter with veteran left-hander Martin Perez (1-3, 4.71 ERA).

Perez is set to come off the injured list after a groin injury kept him out for a month. His last major league outing came against the Braves, when he exited due to the groin ailment after three innings of one-run ball. In his career against Atlanta, he is 0-1 with an 8.00 ERA.

The Braves come home after a 3-4 road trip that started impressively when they took two out of three games against New York in Yankee Stadium. However, the trek ended with three losses in the last four games.

The Braves split a doubleheader at St. Louis on Wednesday, then flew to Chicago where they lost 1-0 to the White Sox in a makeup game on Thursday afternoon. Atlanta managed just six hits while dropping the second game of the doubleheader 4-1 to the Cardinals, and then the Braves were shut out on three hits by five White Sox pitchers.

“We won a series against the Yankees (and) we felt pretty good coming out of there,” Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said after the Thursday defeat. “We just couldn’t score any runs. The pitching’s been really good. … Today we got a great start (from Chris Sale). We just gotta get it going offensively again.”

Sale allowed just one run — a first-inning homer by Luis Robert Jr. — on four hits over seven innings while striking out a season-high 11 in the loss.

“We’ve just got to keep plugging away, keep doing our thing,” Sale said. “Tough one, but we’re going back home and we’ll use that energy and get it going in the right direction.”

Atlanta nearly tied the score in the eighth, but Chicago’s Tommy Pham caught Marcell Ozuna’s drive at the right field wall.

“A little frustrated, but we’re going to figure it out when we get home,” Ozuna said. “We’ve got a long homestand over there, and we should be fine.”

After playing three games with the Pirates, the Braves have a three-game series with the San Francisco Giants followed by a three-game National League East showdown with the first-place Philadelphia Phillies.

The Pirates, who won two of three from Atlanta from May 24-26 in Pittsburgh, started a six-game road trip this week by winning the final two games of a three-game series against the Cincinnati Reds.

Unlike the Braves, the Pirates should be well-rested. Pittsburgh, which was off Thursday, comes in after a 6-1 victory Wednesday afternoon. Andrew McCutchen and Rowdy Tellez homered and Luis L. Ortiz allowed one run on four hits over six innings while striking out seven.

“We didn’t play well the first day here,” Pirates manager Derek Shelton said of the team’s 11-5 loss on Monday. “We had good at-bats but we didn’t throw the ball well. To be able to bounce back and to win two in a division series was really important for us, and I’m proud of our group.”

Pittsburgh’s Aroldis Chapman struck out two of the three batters he faced during a scoreless ninth to move within one strikeout of Billy Wagner (1,196) for most whiffs by a left-hander reliever in major league history.

Pirates left fielder Bryan Reynolds owns a 23-game hitting streak, the longest run in the majors this season.

–Field Level Media

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