The Braves win the eighth straight game

ATLANTA – What a difference a week makes. Eight days after convening a rare team meeting, Braves manager Brian Snitker finds that his team is going through a series of victories that reached eight games with a 3-1 victory over the Pirates on Thursday night at Truist Park.

Max Fried escaped several threats in six innings and Adam Duvall triggered the early offensive production that led the Braves to their longest winning streak since winning nine straight games from 13 to 22 August 2021. The defending World Series champions were four games under. 500 (23-27) when this series of eight games began.

“You have to deal with storms,” ​​Snitker said. “You get stretches in six months where there is nothing you can do. You have to wear it. And when you do, there’s usually something good on the other side of it. “

One year after winning the World Series despite not having a winning record until August, the Braves never panicked as they struggled through the first two months of this season. But with a strong Mets team sitting at the top of the National League East, Atlanta recognized that winning a fifth division title in a row could depend on turning things around in this friendly part of the schedule.

This winning streak has consisted of one win against the D-backs, four against the Rockies, two against the A’s and one against the Pirates. By winning those games they were “meant to win,” the Braves have won four games at the Mets and now sit just 6 1/2 games from first place in the NL East.

“We definitely did not feel that we were playing up to the standards we keep to ourselves,” Duvall said. “For whatever reason, we could not get on that roll. It’s good to sometimes bring everyone together and make sure we’re on the same page, just to refocus a bit and make sure goal # 1 at the end of the day is to win the battle. “

A couple of hours before this winning streak began with a victory on June 1 in Arizona, Snitker gathered his players in the clubhouse and emphasized the need to regain focus. Less than 24 hours earlier, his team had made several baserunning mistakes, thrown to the wrong bases and squandered a comfortable lead against the D-backs.

“We played hard and did all that, the train just went a little off the track,” said Snitker.

An easy way for a team to adjust is via the type of pitching the Braves have shown, while allowing two runs or fewer in six of the last eight games. Bullpen has continued to be a force, and the rotation has been led by Fried and Kyle Wright, who have strengthened their respective All-Star resumes over the past week.

Fried limited the Pirates to one over six innings, but he was nowhere near as dominant as he was on Friday, allowing just two hits over eight goalless in Coors Field. But the left-hander used his great choice to get out of trouble in the first half and limited injury while allowing at least two hits in four of the first five innings.

Fried has produced an ERA of 2.21 on the 11 starts he has made since he stumbled on the opening day. As for Duvall, his match after a 38-homer season lasted much longer. The veteran outfielder went in in June and hit .190 with a .526 OPS. He has hit .320 with three doubles, a triple, two homers and 1,080 OPS in the seven games he has played this month.

“I do not know if that is necessarily a good thing, but I have learned to deal with some tough spots,” Duvall said. “I feel like I’ve been to some places that are not necessarily ideal.”

Where the Braves stood a little over a week ago was certainly not ideal. But things have looked much different now that a strong and deep lineup has begun to take shape.

Ronald Acuña Jr. (1,205), William Contreras (1,102), Duvall (1,080) and Austin Riley (1,054) have all produced a four-digit OPS this month with at least 20 strokes.

With this success, the Braves have regained some of the confidence that helped them get through a turnaround operation that pointed them towards a World Series title.

“It’s waiting for something to go right instead of waiting for something to go wrong,” Snitker said. ‘That’s the difference. You can never explain in this thing how or why. “