ATLANTA: Austin Riley knew he had a good chance to score from first base as soon as Ozzie Albies made contact.
The power-hitting left fielder just didn’t know whether he’d get the green light from third base coach Ron Washington.
“I knew it was in the gap, so run as hard as I can,” Riley said. “If he wants to stop me, he’ll stop me. He didn’t stop me. A good hit by Ozzie and a good team win.”
Riley tied the game with a solo homer in the ninth inning and scored the winning run on Albies’ double off Michael Feliz in the 11th, leading the Atlanta Braves past the Pittsburgh Pirates 8-7 for their sixth straight victory Wednesday night.
The Braves (39-29) took over sole possession of first place in the NL East and moved 10 games over .500 for the first time this season.
Josh Bell hit a tiebreaking solo homer off Atlanta closer Luke Jackson in the top of the ninth. Riley, who had a two-run triple in the first, took Kyle Crick deep to make it 7-all in the bottom half.
After Riley was hit by a pitch on his left hand in the 11th, Albies drove a gapper into right-center and Riley slid headfirst across the plate to end it.
“As soon as I hit it in the gap,” Albies said, “I knew he would score and win this game.”
Jacob Webb (4-0) pitched two innings to earn the victory.
Feliz (2-3) took the loss.
Rain delayed the game for 55 minutes in the seventh.
Braves starter Mike Soroka allowed career highs of five runs and 10 hits in five innings. The 21-year-old began the night having given up one run or less in nine of 10 starts this season, but did not factor in the decision. Soroka, whose ERA rose 54 points to 1.92, walked one and struck out three.
Atlanta led 3-0 in the first on Nick Markakis’ opposite-field RBI single and Riley’s triple. The Braves were up 4-2 in the second after Freddie Freeman’s RBI single and 6-2 in the third following Soroka’s two-run single.
Pittsburgh made it 3-2 in the second on RBI singles by Adam Frazier and Elías Díaz and 6-4 in the fourth on Kevin Newman’s two-run double. Starling Marte’s 10th homer cut the margin to 6-5 in the fifth.
The Pirates tied it 6-all in the sixth against Josh Tomlin. Gregory Polanco had a pinch-hit single, advanced to third on Newman’s single and scored on Corey Dickerson’s sacrifice fly.
“We had our backs against the wall a little bit, but we battled back and gave ourselves a chance,” said Bell, who leads the majors with 61 RBIs. “It’s good mojo going into tomorrow.”
Mitch Keller, making his second career start for Pittsburgh, allowed six runs and 10 hits in three innings. His ERA rose 1.93 points to 15.43.
The post Braves top Pirates in 11 for six in row appeared first on The Manila Times Online.