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Braves top Pirates, first to clinch playoff berth

Sep 10, 2023; Cumberland, Georgia, USA; Atlanta Braves first baseman Matt Olson (28) breaks his bat against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the sixth inning at Truist Park. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Ronald Acuna Jr. and Matt Olson each drove in a pair of runs during a four-run, seventh-inning rally, leading the Atlanta Braves to a 5-2 victory over the visiting Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday as the first team to clinch a playoff spot.

The victory, along with the Philadelphia Phillies’ loss to the Miami Marlins, reduced the Braves’ magic number to clinch the National League East for the sixth straight season to six games. Atlanta (93-49) won the season series 4-3 against Pittsburgh (66-77).

The Braves started their go-ahead rally with two outs against reliever Colin Selby (2-1). Orlando Arcia coaxed a walk and Michael Harris II singled. Acuna drove the second pitch he saw over the head of center fielder Jack Suwinski to score both runners.

After a single by Ozzie Albies and walk to Austin Riley loaded the bases, Olson faced reliever Thomas Hatch and smacked a two-run single to right. Olson leads the majors with 121 RBIs.

The Braves got another solid start from rookie Allan Winans. In his fourth outing, the right-hander worked 6 1/3 innings and allowed two runs on six hits and struck out eight.

Brad Hand (4-1) got the final two outs of the seventh and stranded a runner at third. A.J. Minter pitched a scoreless eighth and Raisel Iglesias worked around a single to complete a scoreless ninth and earn his 29th save.

Pittsburgh starter Luis Ortiz pitched 5 1/3 innings and allowed one run on three hits and two walks in his first career appearance against the Braves.

The Pirates scored twice in the sixth. Ji Hwan Bae singled and Bryan Reynolds followed with an RBI double into the right field corner. Suwinski’s two-out double drove in Reynolds.

The Braves cut the lead to 2-1 in the bottom of the sixth. Albies reached on a fielder’s choice, went to second on Riley’s single, took third on a wild pitch and scored on Olson’s infield grounder.

–Field Level Media