Any questions about how the Atlanta Braves would fare against the American League’s elite were answered Monday night when they routed the Texas Rangers 12-0.
Monday’s game was a matchup of division leaders as the Braves lead the NL East and the Rangers currently sit at the top of the AL West.
“It was a big win. We let one get away (Sunday),” Braves manager Brian Snitker said after the game. “It was great to come out and swing the bats.”
With the win, the Braves averted their first five-game losing streak since September 2017.
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Atlanta started the game red-hot and they never looked back.
Kevin Pillar and Ronald Acuña Jr. each hit a two-run homer in the second inning then Marcell Ozuna, Orlando Arcia, and Austin Riley pushed the Braves’ lead further with two-run home runs in 6th, 7th and 9th innings.
Pillar’s homer was his second in two days and third in four games. The scores continue a good showing in the month of May, as he notched a fourth home run earlier in the month.
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Arcia homered in the sixth and Riley in the seventh, both off reliever Cole Ragans.
Ozuna’s drive came in the ninth off Rangers reserve catcher Sandy Leon, who was making his eighth career pitching appearance.
Matt Olson and Ozzie Albies hit back-to-back RBI doubles in the fifth.
The Braves also looked impressive on the mound, with Charlie Morton striking out a season-high 10 batters.
“Charlie was awesome,” Snitker said.
He limited the Rangers to just seven singles and a walk through 6 2/3 innings to win consecutive starts for the first time this season.
The double-digit shutout spoiled the big league debut for Rangers pitcher Cody Bradford, a 2019 draftee out of Baylor University.
Bradford was called up from Triple-A Round Rock for his major league debut. The 25-year-old lefty from Aledo, Texas, gave up six runs on seven hits. He also gave up two walks in five innings.
“Obviously, not how anybody draws up their debut, but I got blessed with an amazing opportunity to pitch at home in front of a lot of friends and family,” Bradford said. “The Braves did a good job of hitting pitches over the middle of the plate.”
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“It’s fair to say he made some mistakes, especially with his off-speed pitches,” Rangers manager Bruce Bochy said. “We had trouble keeping the ball in the ballpark tonight. It’s tough to debut against this club.”
The Braves’ win comes after they got swept by Toronto over the weekend, 0-3 on Friday, 2-5 on Saturday, and 5-6 on Sunday.
The Braves, who won the World Series in 2021, and the Rangers, who were World Series finalists in 2010 and 2011, will play their second game Tuesday at 8:05 p.m.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.