ATLANTA (AP) — Kyle Wright capped a dominant, career-high 11-strikeout night with a huge confidence boost from Atlanta manager Brian Snitker.
Wright had retired 11 consecutive batters on Friday night before hitting the Marlins’ Garrett Cooper with a one-out fastball in the sixth. A single from Jorge Soler and a two-out walk to Jesús Sánchez loaded the bases.
Snitker headed to the mound, a move he rarely makes without changing pitchers, and Wright said he “thought for sure I was done.” Wright told the manager he felt strong, Snitker nodded in agreement and returned to the dugout.
“That was the answer I was hoping for,” Snitker said.
Snitker’s faith was rewarded. Avisaíl García ended the inning on a grounder to the mound. Wright was greeted in the dugout by high-fives from his teammates and a slap on his back from Snitker.
The Braves beat the Miami Marlins 3-0 thanks to Wright (2-0), who allowed only four hits in six innings, and a double by Matt Olson in the seventh that scored two.
“Those are such good moments for pitchers, young pitchers especially,” Snitker said. “That could be a huge stepping stone for that kid.”
Wright set a career high in strikeouts for the second straight start, topping nine in five innings at San Diego on April 15. The 26-year-old has a 1.06 ERA after three starts.
“This is how I envisioned every season starting,” said Wright, the No. 5 overall pick in the 2017 summer draft. Instead, he had struggled in too-brief visits to the majors the last four seasons before spending almost all of the 2021 season at Triple-A Gwinnett.
Wright joined the Braves for the postseason and allowed only one run in 5 2/3 innings in two World Series appearances. He then won a rotation spot this spring.
The Braves were up 1-0 before Olson’s double down the right field line off Richard Bleier drove in Dansby Swanson and Eddie Rosario. Rosario reached as a pinch-hitter on Brian Anderson’s fielding error.
Kenley Jansen pitched the ninth for his fourth save in four chances.
Miami’s Trevor Rogers (0-3) allowed one unearned run on four hits in five innings. The left-hander regrouped after lasting only 1 2/3 innings in his last outing, a 10-2 loss to Philadelphia on April 16 in which he allowed seven runs.
Rogers threw 33 pitches in the first inning and allowed an unearned run following his errant pickoff throw to second base. The ball skipped into center field, allowing Olson to advance to third.
Olson scored when Marcell Ozuna beat out a fielder’s choice grounder. Miami unsuccessfully challenged the close play at first base.
The MVP of Atlanta’s World Series win over the Houston Astros last season, Soler lifted his helmet in appreciation of a first-inning ovation from fans in his return to Atlanta, then singled up the middle for his first of two hits.
Soler will be presented his World Series ring before Saturday night’s game.
Wright kept Miami hitters off balance by mixing his pitches. Jazz Chisholm fanned on a 96 mph fastball to lead off the game then struck out — again swinging — on curveballs in the third and sixth innings.
Wright struck out the side in the first and fourth innings.
Marlins: RHP Dylan Floro (right rotator cuff tendinitis) will begin his rehab assignment with Class A Jupiter on Saturday. Manager Don Mattingly said the training staff believes Floro has moved past his injury and is “getting close.” … RHP Edward Cabrera (biceps) threw 40 pitches in three innings at Jupiter on Thursday.
Braves: With OF Eddie Rosario hitting .081 (3 for 37) and without a hit in seven at-bats against left-handers, Travis Demeritte was given the start in right field against the left-handed Rogers. Snitker said he doesn’t expect to hold out Rosario against all left-handers. “When he gets it going, he’s going to hit lefties,” Snitker said. … OF Adam Duvall did not start while attending to a family illness.
Miami’s Eliser Hernandez (1-1, 4.22) will face Atlanta’s Ian Anderson (1-1, 6.48) in a matchup of right-handers as the three-game series continues on Saturday night.
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