The Atlanta Braves extended their winning streak, the longest active in Major League Baseball, to nine games on Friday with a 4-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates (box score).
The Braves were led by rookie right-hander Spencer Strider, who recorded the longest appearance of his big-league career by tossing 5 ⅔ shutout innings. He surrendered four hits and a walk on 92 pitches, all the while punching out eight Pirates. Strider coerced a game-high 18 whiffs, including 11 on his fastball. Said heater, undoubtedly one of the best in the majors, averaged 97.7 mph and topped out at 100.5 mph.
Strider was making his third start since joining the Braves rotation in late May. His seasonal totals now stand at a 2.35 ERA and a 3.00 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 38 innings.
Offensively, the Braves were paced by shortstop and impending free agent Dansby Swanson. He notched three hits, including a home run, and drove in a pair of runs. (Matt Olson and Ozzie Albies also drove in runs.) Here’s a look at Swanson’s home run:
Swanson entered the evening hitting .278/.348/.426 (112 OPS+) with six home runs in 58 games. He’s been particularly good since the calendar flipped to May, batting .311/.378/.467 with five of those home runs in his prior 36 games before Friday.
The Braves entered Friday with a 31-27 record, putting them 6 ½ games back of the New York Mets in the National League East. The Mets were in action — and leading by a 3-0 margin — versus the San Diego Padres at press time. (You can follow along with that contest by using our GameTracker.)