Soroka bests de­Grom in pitch­ers’ duel

The Welland Tribune - - Sports - GE­ORGE HENRY

AT­LANTA — No-hit­ter or not, Mike Soroka knew the Braves would be cau­tious and not let him overex­ert his right shoul­der.

“The first time I even thought about what was go­ing on was go­ing out for the sixth,” he said. “It was hap­pen­ing so quickly.

You get into a rhythm that way, and that wasn’t bad as well.”

Soroka did not al­low a hit un­til the sev­enth in­ning, Freddie Free­man home­red and drove in both runs, and the At­lanta Braves beat the strug­gling New York Mets, 2-0, in Na­tional League base­ball ac­tion Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon.

Soroka, 20, the youngest pitcher in the ma­jor leagues and one of base­ball’s top prospects, re­turned from a shoul­der strain that side­lined him since May 17 to out­pitch NL ERA leader Ja­cob de­Grom in a game that lasted only 2 hours, 12 min­utes.

Mak­ing his fourth ca­reer start, Soroka (2-1) gave up one hit, one walk and struck out four in 6 1/3 in­nings. He had a sim­ple game

Braves’ Mike Soroka was bril­liant in a 2-0 Braves win over the Mets.

plan. “Pitch my game and let them ad­just to my game as op­posed to the other way around,” Soroka said. “I think we did a re­ally good job of that.”

Free­man, the NL bat­ting leader, has hit safely in 23 of his past 24 games. He drove in the first run with a sin­gle in the fourth off de­Grom (4-2). He home­red

off Jeremy Blevins in the eighth. Free­man has five homers in his past seven games and 14 over­all.

At­lanta man­ager Brian Snitker said that Soroka would be on a pitch count, so it was no sur­prise when he re­placed him with A.J. Min­ter af­ter Michael Con­forto sin­gled to be­gin the sev­enth af­ter 74 pitches. The Mets have lost 10 of their past 11 and 17 of their past 21. They went 3-6 at SunTrust Park this sea­son against the NL East-lead­ing Braves.

De­Grom (4-2) al­lowed seven hits and one run and struck out seven in seven in­nings and threw 86 pitches.

He be­gan the game lead­ing with ma­jors with a 0.81 ERA since April 21.

The punch­less Mets have scored 10 runs in their past 87 in­nings. They’ve lost de­Grom’s past five out­ings even though he’s al­lowed only five runs over that span.

De­Grom said he wasn’t blam­ing team­mates for the lack of run sup­port, but third base­man Todd Fra­zier summed up the state of the Mets’ of­fence.

“Af­ter the game, I said, ‘Dude, I’m sorry. I don’t know what’s go­ing on. I don’t know why we’re not pro­duc­ing for you,’” Fra­zier said. “We talk about try­ing too hard. Maybe we’re try­ing too hard when he’s pitch­ing, but a guy throws like that, he works fast. He was just dom­i­nant.”

CUR­TIS COMPTON AT­LANTA JOUR­NAL-CON­STI­TU­TION

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