If the Atlanta Braves‘ first 15 games are any indication, look for a lot of games resembling home run derbies as the season progresses. Thursday’s road contest was another example of just that, as the Braves used four homers to defeat the Pittsburgh Pirates 6-4.
Pittsburgh finished with two home runs of its own as solo shots from Russell Martin and Pedro Alvarez accounted for half of the Pirates’ runs. Meanwhile, Atlanta got one-run dingers from B.J. Upton and Justin Upton, while Chris Johnson and Evan Gattis both recorded two-run homers.
In the process, the Braves broke an Atlanta franchise record for most homers in the first 15 games of a season, with Gattis’ pinch-hit blast in the top of the eighth inning pushing their total to 29.
Coming off Wednesday’s 1-0 home loss to the Kansas City Royals, the Braves seemed to be swinging angry from the get-go, and they needed all the homers they could muster because for the third time in as many starts, pitcher Julio Teheran was less than stellar.
Also key in the win was the Braves’ bullpen, which didn’t allow a base runner over the final four innings. Atlanta’s relief core now has an ERA of 1.24, which is the best mark in Major League Baseball, and the bullpen has tossed 12 innings of scoreless ball in relief of Teheran.