Braves’ Adam Duvall delivers in 10th to edge Pirates

Adam Duvall lined a single into the gap in right-center leading off the bottom of the 10th inning to drive in designated runner Luke Williams from second base and give the Atlanta Braves a 2-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Saturday afternoon.

After making a highlight-reel leaping catch at the right-field wall to rob Michael A. Taylor of an RBI extra-base hit in the sixth, Duvall drilled a 0-1 fastball by Pirates reliever Kyle Nicolas (0-2) for his sixth career walk-off hit.

Jarred Kelenic went 2-for-3 with a home run and a walk for Atlanta, which won its second straight game and improved to 19-5 all-time against the Pirates at Truist Park.

Ke’Bryan Hayes had two hits and Bryan Reynolds extended his major league best hitting streak to 25 games with a ninth-inning triple for Pittsburgh.

The contest featured a much-anticipated starting pitchers duel between Pirates rookie Paul Skenes and Braves lefty Max Fried. Theye didn’t disappoint even though neither figured in the decision.

Both left after yielding one run over six innings. Fried allowed just six singles and walked three while striking out four. Skenes also allowed six hits and walked two while striking out nine, including the final four batters he faced.

Skenes, who entered the contest with a major league-best 70 pitches of 100 mph or better, didn’t hit triple-digits once in the hot (90 degrees) and humid (67 percent) conditions. He threw 102 pitches, 61 for strikes.

Skenes, who lowered his ERA to 2.06, now has 70 strikeouts and 10 walks in 52 1/3 innings in nine starts. According to researcher and reporter Sarah Langs, the first overall pick of the 2023 MLB Draft out of LSU joined Masahiro Tanaka of the Yankees (73 strikeouts, eight walks in 2014) as the only pitchers since at least 1901 to have 70 or more strikeouts and 10 or fewer walks in their first nine major league appearances.

Atlanta took a 1-0 lead in the first inning when Kelenic lined a 1-1 fastball into the right-field bleachers for his ninth home run. It marked the second straight start that Skenes allowed a homer to the first batter he faced to start a game.

Pittsburgh tied it in the fifth inning when Taylor led off with a single, advanced to second on a walk to Andrew McCutchen, went to third on a groundout and scored on Edward Olivares’ sacrifice fly.

Pittsburgh appeared to take a 2-1 lead in the 10th when Oliveras, who started the inning as the designated runner at second and had advanced to third on a groundout, crossed the plate on a wild pitch by Daysbel Hernandez (2-0). However, the Braves challenged the tag play and the call was reversed.

Pirates reliever Aroldis Chapman struck out two batters in the ninth to give him 1,197 for his career, moving past Billy Wagner (1,196) for most in major league history by a left-handed reliever. Chapman had seven pitches clocked at 100 mph or more, including a 102.9 sinker to strike out Sean Murphy for the record-breaker.

–Field Level Media