ATLANTA (AP) — Kyle Wright picked up a World Series ring along with many of his Atlanta teammates, then pitched two-hit ball over six scoreless innings to lead the Braves over the Cincinnati Reds 2-1 on Saturday night.
Atlanta won its second straight following an opening-day loss, moving over .500 at 2-1. Last year, the Braves didn’t have a winning record until they were 57-56 on Aug. 8. They sprinted to their first title since 1995, capped by a six-game Series victory over the Houston Astros.
Wright (1-0) struck out six and walked one. He retired 10 consecutive batters before walking Tommy Pham to open the seventh.
A.J. Minter got three straight outs, Darren O’Day pitched a perfect eighth and Will Smith got the save, allowing Tommy Pham’s two-out walk and Joey Votto’s RBI single before Photo of Aristides Aquino popped out.
Newly closer Kenley Jansen gave up three runs on Friday night while throwing 30 pitches in the ninth inning of a 7-6 win.
Wright, a 26-year-old right-hander, enjoyed a strong beginning to what he hopes is a fresh start to his career. The fifth overall pick by Atlanta in the 2017 amateur draft, Wright had a 6.56 ERA in his first four seasons.
Braves manager Brian Snitker said before the game “the best thing that happened to Kyle” was spending a full 2021 season at Triple-A Gwinnett. Wright was promoted, and he allowed one run in 5 2/3 innings in two World Series appearances against Houston.
Snitker says he sees a new “inner confidence” in Wright, who he said is “more on the attack.”
Reds right-hander Vladimir Gutierrez (0-1) allowed two runs and on six hits in 4 1/3 innings. Marcel Ozuna’s first-inning double drove in Matt Olson, who had singled, and Ozzie Albies’ sacrifice fly brought home Austin Riley.
Olson was thrown out at the plate in the third and seventh innings. Shortstop Kyle Farmer’s relay from left fielder Jake Fraley to catcher Aramis Garcia caught Olson in the third. Aquino’s throw to the plate from left field nailed Olson, who tried to score from second on Ozuna’s single, his third hit of the game.
755 DIAMONDS AND A PEARL
The Braves received their World Series ringsin a pregame ceremony. The massive ring carries 755 diamonds, a tribute to Hall of Famer Hank Aaron’s home run total.
The ring also includes a white pearl on the right side, a nod to the pearl necklace Joc Pederson wore last season.
Former Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman, now with the Dodgers, will be presented his ring when Los Angeles visits Atlanta June 24-26.
Reds: RHP Lucas Sims could be ready to join the team within two weeks and allow another option as closer. Sims opened the season on the 10-day injured list after offseason health issues put him behind his normal spring training schedule. Sims is expected to start a rehab assignment with Triple-A Louisville next week. Manager David Bell said Sims could join the team as soon as April 20.
Braves: RHP Ian Anderson (9-5, 3.58 ERA in 2021) who left his last spring training start on Monday due to a blister on his right big toe, is not expected to have any limitations in his season debut on Sunday. ... C Manny Piña (sore left wrist) took batting practice. The Braves avoided an IL stint for Piña because William Contreras, who started on Saturday night, is on the roster as a third catcher behind Travis d’Arnaud.
RHP Hunter Greene, the No. 2 overall selection in the 2017 draft by Cincinnati, will make his much-anticipated major league debut on Sunday when he faces Anderson in the series finale. The hard-throwing Greene, 22, was 10-8 with a 3.30 ERA last year at Double-A Chattanooga and Triple-A Louisville.