Olson’s check-swing double in 11th, d’Arnaud’s single help Braves top Astros
Published 11:43 pm Saturday, August 20, 2022
By PAUL NEWBERRY
AP Sports Writer
ATLANTA — Matt Olson’s check-swing double to left with the infield shifted the other way brought home the tying run in the 11th, and pinch-hitter Travis d’Arnaud won it with a single through the drawn-in defense as the Atlanta Braves came back twice in extra innings to beat the Houston Astros 5-4 Saturday night.
The Astros scored two in the 10th, only to have Atlanta match them in the bottom half. Houston went back ahead on Jeremy Peña’s slow roller that brought home the go-ahead run, but the Braves rallied again.
This time, they ended it.
After Dansby Swanson was placed at second base against Ryne Stanek (1-1), Austin Riley walked. Olson tried to hold up his swing, but it worked out just fine when he sent a run-scoring hit through the abandoned shortstop hole.
With runners at second and third and no outs, the Astros intentionally walked William Contreras. But d’Arnaud lined one past diving first baseman Yuri Gurriel to win it for the Braves.
Jackson Stephens (2-2) earned the win by giving up an unearned run in the 11th.
Both starters turned in strong performances, each going six innings and allowing only a solo homer.
Cristian Javier pitched two-hit ball for the Astros but again failed to get much offensive support. Houston has been held to two runs or less in 10 of his 23 starts, leaving him with a 7-8 record even though his ERA dropped to 2.88.
Rookie Spencer Strider surrendering three hits, walked two and struck out nine for the Braves. The growing popularity of the 23-year-old Strider, known for his thick mustache and 100 mph fastball, was evident from all the the fans in the sellout crowd of 42,893 wearing fake ‘staches in his honor.
Atlanta’s Vaughn Grissom kept up his torrid hitting since being called up from the minors less than two weeks ago.
The 21-year-old launched one into the Astros bullpen in the fifth, giving him three homers in his first 11 big league games.
Grissom’s homer came after Peña went deep for Houston in the top half of the inning to break up the scoreless duel. The Astros shortstop drove one the opposite way, the ball just clearing the tall wall in right field for his 16th homer of the season.
Astros slugger Yordan Alvarez was back at the ballpark, one day after shortness of breath led him to be taken to an Atlanta hospital for tests.
While doctors found no cause for his breathing problems, Houston held Alvarez out of the lineup Saturday and kept a close eye on him for any signs of further trouble.
Manager Dusty Baker said Alvarez could return to the lineup as a designated hitter for the finale of the three-game series.
Astros OF Mauricio Dubón wasn’t seriously hurt after crashing into the wall attempting to make a catch in the fifth inning of Friday’s game. Dubón tried to remain on the field, but he left one batter later with obvious pain in his left shoulder. “He’s better,” Baker said. “He hit in the cage.” Dubón was available Saturday but wasn’t used.
RH Charlie Morton (6-5, 4.04) will take the mound for the Braves in Sunday’s series finale. He’ll be opposed by RH José Urquidy (11-4, 3.69, who is coming off 7 2/3 innings of one-hit ball in his last start against the White Sox. Urquidy has 10 consecutive quality starts since June 14, going 6-1 with a 2.64 ERA over that span.
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