Dansby Swanson had two homers and four RBIs, Kevin Gausman breezed through eight innings and the Atlanta Braves beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 6-1 on Tuesday night.
Swanson’s first homer gave the Braves a 2-0 lead in the fifth before he sent another two-run shot into nearly the same spot in the left field bleachers, extending the lead to 5-0 in the seventh. Kurt Suzuki doubled down the left-field line, scoring Ozzie Albies from first for the third run. Tyler Flowers scored on a wild pitch in the ninth to make it 6-0.
Gausman (8-9) gave up four hits with five strikeouts and two walks, helping the NL East-leading Braves take the first two legs of the three-game series.
Ivan Nova (7-8) allowed Swanson’s first home run after retiring his initial 10 batters, including the first nine on 29 pitches. Ender Inciarte singled to center for Atlanta’s first hit with one out in the fourth.
Nova got through six innings on 78 pitches (51 strikes), but was removed when Josh Harrison pinch-hit with one out and the Pirates trailing 2-0 in the sixth. He allowed two runs and four hits with four strikeouts.
Harrison singled and the Pirates eventually loaded the bases with two outs, but Gausman got out of the jam when Josh Bell grounded out to short.
Gregory Polanco led off the ninth with a home run off Chad Sobotka for Pittsburgh’s lone run.
The Pirates had allowed one run in each of their previous five games, but were 2-3 during that stretch.
Braves: OF Michael Reed was recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett. RHP Bryse Wilson was optioned to Gwinnett following his major league debut Monday.
Pirates: RHP Clay Holmes was recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis. OF Jordan Luplow was optioned to Indianapolis.
Braves: Suzuki was pulled after being hit by a pitch in the ninth inning. Flowers ran for Suzuki shortly after he made his way to first base.
Pirates: OF Starling Marte did not start after visiting a doctor earlier Tuesday. He entered the game as a defensive replacement in center field for the eighth inning. Marte was benched Monday, but pinch hit in the ninth inning after Hurdle deemed he lacked effort while running the bases in a 2-1 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Sunday.
Braves: RHP Julio Teheran (8-7, 4.24) would like to build off his past two starts when he takes the mound for the series finale against the Pirates on Wednesday. After failing to go at least six innings in three starts from July 24-Aug. 5, he has gone a combined 13 in his last two starts while allowing three runs and five hits.
Pirates: RHP Trevor Williams (10-9, 3.53) will aim to keep his hot stretch going when he faces the Braves on Wednesday. He has allowed two runs or fewer in each of his past six starts and hasn’t surrendered a run in four of those starts, dating to July 11