ATLANTA — If a career-high 11 strikeouts and a dominant night on the mound weren't enough of a confidence boost for Atlanta Braves starter Kyle Wright on Friday, then manager Brian Snitker surely provided it.
Wright had retired 11 consecutive batters before hitting the Miami Marlins' Garrett Cooper with a one-out fastball in the sixth inning. A single from Jorge Soler and a two-out walk to Jesús Sánchez loaded the bases.
Snitker headed to the mound, a move he rarely makes without changing pitchers, and Wright said he "thought for sure I was done." The 26-year-old pitcher told the skipper he felt strong, and Snitker nodded in agreement before returning to the dugout.
"That was the answer I was hoping for," Snitker said later.
His faith was rewarded. Avisaíl García ended the inning on a grounder to the mound, and Wright was greeted in the dugout by high-fives from his teammates and a slap on his back from Snitker.
The Braves beat the Miami Marlins 3-0 thanks to Wright (2-0), who allowed only four hits in six innings, and a double by Matt Olson in the seventh that scored two runs.
"Those are such good moments for pitchers, young pitchers especially," Snitker said. "That could be a huge stepping stone for that kid."
Wright set his MLB career high in strikeouts for the second straight start, topping his nine in five innings during an April 15 road start against the San Diego Padres. The former Vanderbilt University standout from Alabama has a 1.06 ERA after three starts this year.
"This is how I envisioned every season starting," said Wright, the No. 5 overall pick in the 2017 summer draft.
Instead, he had struggled in brief visits to the majors for years before spending almost all of the 2021 season at Triple-A Gwinnett. Wright joined the Braves for the postseason last fall, though, and allowed only one run in 5 2/3 innings in two World Series appearances. He then won a rotation spot this spring.
Wright kept Miami hitters off balance by mixing his pitches. Jazz Chisholm fanned on a 96 mph fastball to lead off the game, then struck out — again swinging — on curveballs in the third and sixth innings. Wright struck out the side in the first and fourth innings.
The Braves were up 1-0 on Friday before Olson's double down the right-field line off Richard Bleier drove in Dansby Swanson and Eddie Rosario, who reached as a pinch-hitter on Brian Anderson's fielding error.
Kenley Jansen pitched the ninth for his fourth save in four chances this season.
Miami starter Trevor Rogers (0-3) allowed one unearned run on four hits in five innings. The left-hander regrouped after lasting only 1 2/3 innings in his previous outing, a 10-2 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies on April 16 in which he allowed seven runs.
Rogers threw 33 pitches in the first inning and allowed an unearned run after his errant pickoff throw to second base. The ball skipped into center field, allowing Olson to advance to third. Olson scored when Marcell Ozuna beat out a grounder on a fielder's choice, and Miami unsuccessfully challenged the close play at first base.
The MVP of the Braves' World Series win over the Houston Astros last season, Soler lifted his helmet in appreciation of a first-inning ovation from fans in his return to Atlanta, then singled up the middle for his first of two hits. Soler will be presented his World Series ring before Saturday night's game.
With Rosario hitting .081 (3-for-37) and without a hit in seven at-bats against left-handers this year, Travis Demeritte was given the start in right field against Rogers. Snitker said he doesn't expect to hold out Rosario against all left-handers.
"When he gets it going," Snitker said, "he's going to hit lefties."
Atlanta outfielder Adam Duvall did not start while attending to a family illness.