Atlanta Rookie Shuster 1 hits Mariners; Braves Win 3-2
ATLANTA (AP) — Jared Shuster kept his emotions in check on the mound and during his postgame interviews following his first major league win.
Then the rookie 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 and the Braves took their first series victory over Seattle in 12 years by beating the Mariners 3-2 on Sunday.
“I felt much more comfortable out there,” said 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, the left-hander made a strong case for earning a longer look in a rotation that has lost Max Fried and Kyle Wright to injuries.
“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 opening-day roster 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 as Atlanta, which leads the NL East, prepares for three games against the NL West-leading Los Angeles Dodgers.
“That was awesome. Really, really impressive, what he did,” said Snitker.
Jarred Kelenic led off the second with his ninth homer 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 big league 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 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 right-field corner.
FALCONS IN THE HOUSE
Atlanta Falcons quarterback Desmond Ridder threw out the ceremonial first pitch and sat beside running back Tyler Allgeier during the game.
Caballero, who began the day with three stolen bases this season, doubled his total. He became the first Mariners player with three steals in a game since Mallex Smith had four against Texas 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.
Mariners: RHP Luis Castillo (2-2, 3.31 ERA) will face LHP Kyle Muller (1-3, 7.71) when Seattle opens a home series against on Monday night.
Braves: RHP Charlie Morton (5-3, 2.85 ERA) will start when Atlanta opens a three-game home series against the Dodgers on Monday night in a matchup of first-place teams with the two best records in the NL. Morton is 1-2 with a 4.94 ERA in five career starts against the Dodgers.