The Braves were late in announcing their starting pitcher for Tuesday’s game, but they were very good at giving the ball (and bat) to Huascar Ynoa. The right-hander stifled the Nationals’ offense, but more impressively supported his own cause with a Grand Slam in the sixth inning en route to a 6-1 victory in Atlanta.
Each starting batter started the first inning with a single, and was then erased with late inning doubles two batters later. It started a streak of ten in a row dropped out for Huascar Ynoa, who continued his excellent work for the season. He managed to shoot seven innings, allowing just one undeserved run on four hits with four strikeouts. He was exceptional on the mound, but as noted above his best work came with the bat.
After a solo homerun by Ronald Acuna in the fourth inning, the Braves had a 1-0 lead. They carried that lead into the sixth inning, when they pushed back another run on a William Contreras RBI single to extend the lead to 2-0. Cristian Pache followed with a step, then the hammer fell. Ynoa struck an outright missile across the dead center pitch, making a home run for the second straight start and giving the Braves a 6-0 lead. Oddly enough, the last Atlanta pitcher to hit a grand slam was Jaime Garcia, who in 2017 was traded to the Twins in exchange for… Huascar Ynoa.
The Nationals would score a run against Ynoa in the seventh inning, but that was not won after Cristian Pache played a poorly in an outfield single, allowing Josh Bell to reach third in what should have been. a simple. Still, a five-point lead was enough for Ynoa and the Atlanta bullpen as Tyler Matzek and AJ Minter mowed down the Nationals to secure a series opener win.
Ynoa improves his record to 3-1 on the season and now has a 2.36 ERA. His inclusion in the rotation has helped keep the Braves afloat so far, and his bat has been amazing. His two homers in 11 at batting match the Brave Catchers home run total in 112 at batting this season. Not to be overshadowed, Ronald Acuna took sole control of the home race with his fourth round breath, his tenth of the season. He continues to carry the offense and appears to be making good progress following his abdominal fatigue two weeks ago.
The Braves will get two more shots at the nationals, with an opportunity to claim a series victory tomorrow. Hopefully the rest of the rotation can follow the lead of Ynoa, who has placed herself squarely in the Rookie of the Year conversation with her performance so far. It was a great start to the series for Atlanta.