Wright wins 17th; Riley, Acuña homer as Braves edge Rockies
ATLANTA (AP) — Kyle Wright pitched seven scoreless innings to earn his major league-leading 17th victory, Austin Riley and Ronald Acuña Jr. homered, and the Atlanta Braves beat the Colorado Rockies 3-2 on Wednesday night.
Wright broke a tie with Houston’s Justin Verlander and Tony Gonsolin of the Los Angeles Dodgers to take the lead in wins.
“Yeah, it’s pretty cool how quickly it’s turned around,” Wright said. “I had two starts last year, and they were both pretty bad before I got called back up for the World Series. Just to see the growth I made last year at Triple-A and to continue to build on what I’m working on is definitely exciting doing this. It’s a great feeling, winning.”
The defending World Series champion Braves avoided their first four-game losing streak since last Sept. 14-18. Atlanta, with the NL’s third-best record at 80-51, remained three games behind the New York Mets in the East Division.
Facing Colorado for the first time in his career, Wright (17-5) allowed five hits with two walks and six strikeouts, throwing 63 of his 96 pitches for strikes. The No. 5 overall draft pick of 2017 is trying to become the first Braves pitcher to lead the NL in wins since Russ Ortiz had 21 in 2003. Hall of Famer Tom Glavine was the last Atlanta pitcher to lead the majors in victories with 21 in 2000.
A.J. Minter faced the minimum for Atlanta in the eighth, and Kenley Jansen earned his 30th save in 35 chances after facing five batters in a shaky ninth.
Riley’s 32nd homer, an opposite-field, two-run shot to right-center off Ryan Feltner (2-6), put the Braves up 2-0 in the first. Acuña made it 3-0 with his 11th long ball, an estimated 444-foot blast to center off Feltner that left his bat at 111 mph.
“It always feels good to be on the field and it feels good to produce and whenever you can put on a show for the fans, that’s great because you know they deserve it,” Acuña said through a translator.
Michael Toglia hit his first career homer, a two-run shot, to make it 3-2 in the ninth off Jansen.
“I wasn’t sure because I saw it bounce back in and I wasn’t positive if it hit the brick or the railing,” Toglia said. “But going around second, I knew and I looked at my family and saw them hugging, and that was more emotional.”
Wright, coming off seven scoreless innings in a 14-2 victory Aug. 24 at Pittsburgh, pitched around a walk in the first before stranding two runners in scoring position in the second when Brian Serven popped up and in the third when José Iglesias flew out. He didn’t allow a runner to advance past first the rest of the way.
The Rockies were attempting to win three straight on the road for the first time this year, the last stretch coming Sept. 12-18, 2021 when they won five in a row. Colorado is 20-43 away from Coors Field and has the majors’ worst road winning percentage.
Prior to Atlanta’s four-game sweep June 2-5 at Coors Field, the Rockies had won 30 of 42 games against the Braves. They are 15-5 in Atlanta since the start of 2015 and are 11-3 at Truist Park.
Riley began the night hitting .317 over his last 88 games and he has 24 homers and 67 RBIs over that stretch.
“Sometimes there’s no holes in his swing, so you have to mix what you’re doing with him and not show him any patterns,” Feltner said of Riley. “That pitch was on the outer edge of the plate, and he put a really good swing on it. Tip of the cap to him for that.”
Wright improved to 11-2 with a 2.82 ERA in 15 starts at Truist Park this year. He has won four straight starts and eight of nine overall.
Feltner allowed three runs and five hits in 5 2/3 innings. He began the game 0-2 with a 19.06 ERA in two career starts against Atlanta and dropped to 0-4 with a 5.97 ERA in eight road games this season.
With two outs in the first and Atlanta leading 2-0, William Contreras tried to score from first on Michael Harris II’s double into the right-field corner but was tagged out on Brendan Rodgers’ relay throw to the plate. … Rockies CF Randal Grichuk laid out on a running dive to his left to catch Acuña’s liner for the first out of the third.
Acuña, who homered for the first time since Aug. 13 at Miami, went 1 for 4 after returning from missing three games with pain in his surgically repaired right knee. “It feels terrible, but we’re just going to play through it until the season ends,” he said. … The Braves are 63-29 with him in the lineup and 17-22 without. … Atlanta 2B Ozzie Albies will begin a rehab assignment on Thursday. He’s been sidelined since June 14 with a broken left foot. … The Braves returned RHP Darren O’Day and C Chadwick Tromp from rehab assignments after both were reinjured Tuesday. O’Day has a sprained right big toe and Tromp has an injured left quadriceps.
Braves RHP Spencer Strider (8-4, 2.87 ERA) will face RHP Chad Kuhl (6-7, 5.17) as the teams wrap up a three-game series.
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