Olson hits early grand slam, NL-leading Braves add three more homers for fifth straight victory
ATLANTA - Matt Olson hit a first-inning grand slam and the homer-happy Atlanta Braves won their fifth straight game with a 10-2 rout of the Colorado Rockies on Saturday.
Ozzie Albies, Eddie Rosario and Orlando Arcia also went deep as the National League-leading Braves (45-26) moved a season-high 19 games over .500. They have combined for 42 runs and 52 hits during the winning streak and lead the majors with 122 homers.
“It really is one through nine - there’s no soft spots,” Olson said. “Being on the other side of good lineups like that, you feel like every guy has a chance to do something big.”
Olson’s 20th long ball, an opposite-field shot that sailed 424 feet into left-center, added to the Braves’ dominance in the first. Their 66 runs top the majors and they also rank first with 31 games of at least one run in the first.
“It’s always good to be the team that scores first,” said Olson, whose nine first-inning homers are most in the majors. “We’ve been doing it at a pretty good clip this year and it kind of sets the tone for the game.”
After Olson made it 4-0, Michael Harris II’s sacrifice fly and Albies’ 16th homer put the Braves up 6-0 in the second. Rosario and Arcia went deep in the third to pad the lead at 9-0.
Bryce Elder (5-1) retired the first 11 batters he faced before Ryan McMahon hit a hard single past Albies at second in the fourth. He gave up Mike Moustakas’ homer in the fifth and finished with four hits and one run allowed with no walks and four strikeouts in six innings.
Elder began the game ranked second in the NL with a 2.69 ERA. The 23-year-old was coming off allowing eight hits and a career-high five runs in 5 1/3 innings against Washington and taking his first loss of the season last Sunday.
It marked Elder’s 19th consecutive outing of at least five innings pitched. Atlanta is 10-4 in his starts this season.
“I thought he was really good,” manager Brian Snitker said. “I liked how he bounced back and had his sinker going again. His slider was a good pitch for him, his changeup. He looked more kind of free and easy and himself, I guess.”
Connor Seabold (1-3) was charged with a career-high nine runs and tied a career high with nine hits allowed. He lasted three innings and gave up four homers as his ERA rose 118 points to 5.88.
“Any time I’d make a mistake, they’d hit it hard,” Seabold said. “Any time I made a pitch, it seemed like they still hit it hard. They were on a lot of what I threw today.”
The Rockies, last in the NL West, have lost 14 of 19, including four straight. Their starting pitchers have posted a 7.73 ERA over that span.
Arcia, who added an RBI single in the fifth, went 3 for 4 and is hitting .339. Harold Castro’s RBI double off Joe Jiménez in the seventh cut the lead to 10-2. Castro moved from second base to pitch the eighth, giving up two hits and facing four batters.
Atlanta C Sean Murphy left the game in the third with right hamstring tightness after hitting a hard single to the wall in left-center. Murphy pulled up as he crossed the bag and signaled to the dugout that something was wrong. Snitker and a trainer came out to see about him, and Murphy walked slowly off the field. He was replaced by Travis d’Arnaud. Snitker said after the game that the team is waiting on results of an MRI.
Colorado designated RHP Dinelson Lamet for assignment after he allowed eight runs and three two-run homers and his ERA rose to 11.57 in Friday’s 8-1 loss. Manager Bud Black hopes Lamet will clear waivers and get assigned to Triple-A Albuquerque.
“We were hoping that moving him into the rotation would sort of get him on track back to his initial role as a pitcher with the Padres as a starting pitcher,” Black said. “He had a big year in 2020. We were hoping he could find that form again as a starter. That’s not to say it can’t happen, but these four starts were tough.”
Gavin Hollowell was recalled from Albuquerque in a corresponding move.
Braves RHP Charlie Morton (5-6, 3.60 ERA) will face RHP Chase Anderson (0-0, 2.72) as the teams play the finale of a four-game series Sunday.