ATLANTA (AP) — A move toward simplicity served Spencer Strider well in his first home start.
The adjustment could help Strider keep his new-found place in the Atlanta Braves’ rotation.
Strider outpitched Roansy Contreras in a matchup of hard-throwing rookies, Dansby Swanson had three hits, including a two-run homer, and the Braves beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 4-2 on Friday night for their ninth straight win.
The winning streak is the National League’s longest this season. Houston and the New York Yankees have had 11-game streaks.
The Pirates have lost four straight, matching their longest losing skid of the season.
Strider (2-2) allowed only four hits with eight strikeouts and one walk in 5 2/3 scoreless innings. Strider, making his first home start and only his third overall, pitched into the sixth inning for the first time.
“I definitely wanted to simplify things,” Strider said, adding he felt he made things too difficult for himself in his last start, when he lasted only 4 1/3 innings and received no decision in a 6-2 win at Colorado on Saturday.
Strider said his plan was to “just focus on being in line to the plate.” He allowed only two hits through his first five innings.
The 23-year-old Strider began the season as a reliever before moving into the No. 5 spot in the rotation. He gave credit to Swanson for giving him a confidence boost, as well as some pointers, following his start at Colorado.
“He was just relaying to me that my stuff is good and he’s seeing it behind me,” Strider said, referring to Swanson’s view of his work from his shortstop position. “He can tell when I’m getting too complicated.”
Strider’s growth has provided depth to a rotation following attempts to find a fifth starter behind Max Fried,…