Braves beat Mariners as rookie's first win offers hope to thin rotation

AP photo by John Bazemore / Atlanta Braves rookie Jared Shuster allowed one hit and one walk while striking out seven batters in six innings Sunday at home, earning his first win in a 3-2 victory against the Seattle Mariners.
AP photo by John Bazemore / Atlanta Braves rookie Jared Shuster allowed one hit and one walk while striking out seven batters in six innings Sunday at home, earning his first win in a 3-2 victory against the Seattle Mariners.

ATLANTA — Jared Shuster kept his emotions in check on the mound and during postgame interviews after the first win of his MLB career.

Then the rookie left-hander was presented with the lineup card at his locker as a souvenir. Finally, Shuster broke out a big grin as he admired the keepsake on his day to remember — and possibly an important day for Atlanta's rotation.

Shuster allowed one hit in six innings Sunday afternoon, and the Braves took their first series victory over the American League's Seattle Mariners in 12 years with a 3-2 win.

"I felt much more comfortable out there," said the 24-year-old Shuster (1-2), who had seven strikeouts with only one walk in his fourth career start.

After beginning the day with a 7.24 ERA, he made a strong case for earning a longer look in a rotation that has lost Max Fried and Kyle Wright to what are expected to be lengthy stints on the injured list.

"It was much better, just trusting myself, trusting the catcher and trusting everyone behind me," Shuster said.

Shuster's calm demeanor served him well in overcoming his April struggles and helped keep him focused after being optioned to Triple-A Gwinnett before being recalled on May 16.

"He's kind of one of those guys who doesn't show a lot of emotion," Braves manager Brian Snitker said.

One day after the Braves fell to 0-3 in bullpen committee games with a 7-3 loss to the Mariners, Shuster gave the depleted rotation a lift. He won a spot on Atlanta's roster for opening day by posting a 1.74 ERA in six spring training appearances before allowing a combined eight earned runs in his first two starts.

The performance by Shuster provided a confidence boost for Atlanta, the five-time reigning National League East champion currently atop the divison standings, as it prepares for three games against the NL West-leading Los Angeles Dodgers.

"That was awesome. Really, really impressive, what he did," Snitker said.

Jarred Kelenic led off the second inning with his ninth homer of the season for the Mariners' only hit off Shuster. Kelenic struck out in his next three at-bats.

Atlanta led 3-1 before Jose Caballero hit his first MLB homer, an eighth-inning liner to left field off Nick Anderson.

Raisel Iglesias pitched a perfect ninth with two strikeouts for his third save in four chances, completing a game that took just 2 hours, 5 minutes.

Braves catcher Travis d'Arnaud had two hits, including his first homer of the season.

Seattle right-hander George Kirby (5-3) allowed three runs in seven innings as the Mariners wrapped up a 4-5 trip. One of Kirby's few mistakes was an 0-2 changeup to Eddie Rosario, who reached out as if just trying to protect the plate and poked the ball into center field in the third inning to drive in Matt Olson, who walked.

"He put a good swing on it," Kirby said. "I could have put it lower, but I don't want to think about that, you know? I'm just trying to take the positives."

The Braves won two of three for their first series win over the Mariners since 2011, when Atlanta swept three games in Seattle. The Mariners won two of three at home against the Braves last season.

Before this series, the Mariners had not played in Atlanta since the 2017 debut of the stadium currently known as Truist Park.

Atlanta produced a first-inning run for the 20th time this season. Ronald Acuña Jr. singled, extending his hitting streak to 11 games, and scored from first on Olson's double to the corner in right field.

Caballero, who began the day with three stolen bases this season, doubled his total. He became the first Mariner with three steals in a game since Mallex Smith had four against the Texas Rangers on May 27, 2019. Smith had 46 stolen bases that season.

Caballero was hit by a pitch in the third inning before stealing second and third. He walked in the sixth and stole second. In each inning, Caballero was stranded on third base.

In the Dodgers-Braves series opener Monday night, the scheduled starters are right-handers Charlie Morton (5-3, 2.85 ERA) for Atlanta and Gavin Stone (0-0, 9.00) for Los Angeles. In five career starts against the Dodgers, Morton is 1-2 with a 4.94 ERA.

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