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Wednesday December 8th, 2021 1:00PM

Riley has another 2-HR game as Braves overwhelm Pirates 7-1

By The Associated Press
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ATLANTA (AP) — Austin Riley drove in five runs while hitting two of Atlanta three homers and the Braves capped their impressive power display in the series by beating the Pittsburgh Pirates 7-1 on Sunday.

Dansby Swanson added a two-run homer. The Braves hit 15 homers, adding to their major league lead, while winning three of four games against the Pirates.

“Obviously they’re hot,” said Pirates manager Derek Shelton of the Braves. “I think we need to get out of this ballpark.”

After losing the opening game of the four-game series 6-4 on Thursday night, the Braves outscored the Pirates 33-3 in three consecutive wins. They hit seven homers, including Riley’s first career two-homer game, in a 20-1 win on Friday night.

“It’s very nice for sure to finally tap into some power and drive the ball,” Riley said.

Max Fried (2-2) allowed one run and four hits and three walks in seven innings. It was his fourth consecutive start allowing only one run. After finishing April with an 11.45 ERA, the left-hander has lowered the mark to 4.63.

Fried enjoyed strong support from Atlanta's suddenly productive lineup.

Riley's second two-homer game of the series on Sunday gave him nine for the season. He said he is learning to hit to all fields. His second homer bounced off and over the top of the brick wall in right field.

“When I first came up I was trying to just yank everything,” Riley said. “Now I’m having power to all parts of the field and I think that’s the biggest thing.”

Ozzie Albies had two hits and scored three runs. Albies, who homered from both sides of the plate in Saturday's 6-1 win, had three in the series.

Bryan Reynolds' double to the left-field corner drove in Adam Frazier in the first inning. The Pirates didn't manage another run off Fried.

Pittsburgh right-hander JT Brubaker (3-4) allowed seven runs and seven hits, including three homers, in 5 1/3 innings. He has allowed a combined 12 runs in losing back-to-back starts.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Pirates: 3B Ke’Bryan Hayes (left wrist strain) was 1-for-2 with a single while playing three innings in his first rehab assignment game with Triple-A Indianapolis on Saturday. Hayes, on the 60-day injured list, is eligible to return on June 3. ... RHP Chad Kuhl (right shoulder) will make his second rehab start with Indianapolis on Tuesday.

Braves: RHP Shane Greene struck out the side in his only inning on Saturday night in his first appearance for Triple-A Gwinnett. Greene, 32, re-signed with Atlanta on May 9. He had a 2.60 ERA in 28 games with Atlanta in 2020. ... RHP Bryse Wilson was optioned to Gwinnett following his win on Saturday night and RHP Jay Flaa was recalled for bullpen depth.

BLAME THE PARK

Shelton said his pitchers learned “if you do not execute good pitches to a good lineup like this, then you are going to pay for it and we paid for it this series.”

Brubaker said his slider Riley hit for his first homer “was up a tick” but the right-hander placed some blame on the way the ball carries at Truist Park.

“Honestly I’ve never seen a ball fly the way it has here,” he said.

THE BOOK ON RILEY

Riley, hitting fifth, gives Atlanta another power bat. He hasn’t relied only on power. An eight-game hitting streak has lifted his batting average to .320. Entering the game, he ranked second in the NL with his .412 on-base percentage.

Riley, 24, hit below .240 in his first two seasons.

“Really good to see him driving the ball the other way,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “You’ve got to have some inner confidence you can do this. He’s still a young guy trying to figure things out.”

UP NEXT

Pirates: Pittsburgh has not announced its starter for Tuesday night's opener of a home series against the Chicago Cubs after placing RHP Trevor Cahill on the 10-day IL on Saturday with a left calf strain. The Pirates are off on Monday.

Braves: Following a day off on Monday, RHP Charlie Morton (2-2, 4.60) is scheduled to start when the Braves open a two-game series at Boston on Tuesday night.

___

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