Braves Beat Angels 12-5; Shohei Ohtani Went 5 of 10 with a Walk for the Series
10:36 JST, August 3, 2023
ATLANTA (AP) — The homers just keep coming for the Atlanta Braves, who have their sights set on being the most prolific power team in baseball history.
Ronald Acuña Jr., Austin Riley and Matt Olson went deep for the MLB-leading Braves, who cruised to a 12-5 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday.
Acuña launched a three-run shot over the center-field wall off Lucas Giolito (6-8) in the third inning, then Riley and Olson went back to back in the fourth to cap a six-run outburst that finished off the Angels’ starter.
“It’s crazy,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “What these guys are doing is something else.”
The Braves hit seven homers in taking two of three from the Angels, with the long ball accounting for 11 of their 18 runs. Through 106 games, Atlanta has 206 homers — on pace for 315 for the season, which would best the major league record of 307 set by the 2019 Minnesota Twins.
“When you’re trying to hit homers, the results don’t come,” Riley said. “I think guys are going up there and just trying to put up good at-bats. Guys are strong, and they aren’t trying to do too much.”
Yonny Chirinos (5-4), making his second start for the Braves since being acquired after Tampa Bay designated him for assignment, pitched five strong innings before being lifted after the first two batters singled in the sixth.
Chirinos wound up being charged with three runs after both runners came around to score against reliever Michael Tonkin, who could’ve escaped the jam but failed to touch the bag while covering first on a potential inning-ending double play.
“I’m extremely happy to be a member of this organization,” Chirinos said through an interpreter. “I’m fortunate to have this offensive support. It gives you the confidence to attack hitters.”
Giolito had a far worse outing in his second start for the Angels, who acquired him from the Chicago White Sox in one of several trades designed to boost Los Angeles’ playoff hopes. He matched his career high by giving up nine earned runs in 3 2/3 innings.
Acuña’s 420-foot shot was his 25th homer of a historic season that has stamped him as the National League’s MVP favorite. He also reached on a single, double and a walk, coming around to score each time.
The Braves hit consecutive homers for the second night in a row, with Riley’s two-run shot — his 25th — followed by Olson’s 37th homer.
Hunter Renfroe and Eduardo Escobar had two RBIs apiece for the Angels.
OHTANI VS ACUNA
Acuña’s big day gave him an edge in the three-game matchup between the overwhelming MVP favorites in each league.
For the series, the Braves slugger went 3 for 9 with four walks, a homer, three RBIs and four runs.
Shohei Ohtani went 5 of 10 with a walk but failed to pick up an RBI and scored only one run.
“It seemed like Ohtani was leading off the inning a lot in this series, which helped,” Snitker said. “He’s such a force.”
Angels: Ohtani (9-5, 3.43 ERA), who was skipped over in Atlanta after dealing with blister issues, makes his first start in a week to begin a four-game series at Seattle on Thursday. He’ll be opposed by RHP Bryan Woo (1-3, 4.96) of the Mariners.
Braves: After an off day, LH Max Fried (2-1) returns to the Braves’ rotation on Friday for the series opener against the Cubs. The Atlanta ace hasn’t pitched in the majors since May 5, when he went down with a strained left forearm.
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