Austin Riley returned to deliver to help the Atlanta Braves extend their winning streak to three straight with a 12-5 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Atlanta had many opportunities throughout the game, but could not fulfill it since it started the game 1-for-15 with runners in scoring position. Everything changed in the seventh inning when Austin Riley approached the plate with two men on board and lined up a Kyle Crick slider to the right down the line and came out for a three-run homer to put the Braves ahead 6-5. .
Atlanta poured it into the eighth and added three big insurance runs to the scoreboard. Dansby Swanson started with a single and advanced to third with a double by Freddie Freeman. That double was the number 300 of Freeman's career, which makes him the fifth Brave with at least 300 doubles and 200 homers in his career.
That set the stage for Josh Donaldson, who jumped on a broken ball and made his way to the left to increase the lead to 9-5.
The floodgates opened again in the ninth. Charlie Culberson scored on an RBI groundout by Swanson and then Freeman followed with his 15th homer of the season to score 12-5. In total, the Braves scored 10 runs unanswered and nine from the seventh inning.
The late heroics helped to overcome an unstable departure from Max Fried. Atlanta scored a run at the top of the first, but Fried struggled with his command by allowing four runs in the bottom half of the inning, including a two-run home run by Melky Cabrera.
The Braves reduced the lead to 4-2 with a run scored by Tyler Flowers in the second, but Cabrera hit again in the bottom half of the inning with a producing single to push the lead to 5-2.
Fried would come out after four innings and had allowed nine hits and five runs, along with two walks and three strikeouts.
Atlanta crawled closer in the sixth when pinch-hitter Matt Joyce homered Riley to reduce the deficit to 5-3. Josh Donaldson worked a one-day walk in the seventh and moved to the second when Nick Markakis reached an error by left fielder Bryan Reynolds. Riley took care of the rest, returning the leadership to the Braves forever.
The home run was the ninth of Riley's season and gives him 25 RBIs in only 18 games. Swanson hit two more hits and gave him 21 in his last 15 games. Freeman and Ronald Acuña Jr. finished with two hits each.
The series will continue on Tuesday with Kevin Gausman who will face Joe Musgrave.