Austin Riley homers in MLB debut, Braves blank Cardinals 4-0

ATLANTA (AP) When Austin Riley connected with the pitch, his father was watching from the concourse at SunTrust Park.

Mike Riley knew it was good contact, but he couldn't tell how far the ball went.

Then he looked toward the outfield.

''As soon as I saw the outfielders not move,'' the elder Riley said, ''I knew it was gone.''

Austin Riley homered in his big league debut Wednesday night, leading Atlanta to a 4-0 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals and signaling the arrival of another top prospect for the Baby Braves.

''He's got lights-out power,'' said Hall of Famer Chipper Jones, who played his entire career with the Braves and was at the game. ''I think he's a 40-homer guy before it's all said and done in the big leagues.''

Mike Soroka turned in another strong start with three-hit ball over seven scoreless innings, but this night belonged to the 22-year-old Riley. He was called up from Triple-A Gwinnett before the game after Ender Inciarte went on the injured list with a sore back.

Riley, who started in left field and batted sixth, struck out swinging against Michael Wacha in the first at-bat of what the Braves hope will be a long major league career.

Then, leading off the fourth, Riley showed why he was leading the International League with 15 homers and 39 RBIs.

Riley launched a high fastball deep into the left-field seats, a 438-foot drive that gave the Braves a 2-0 lead and sent his parents and a group of about 40 family and friends - many of whom hastily made the drive from his native Mississippi - into a delirious celebration.

''I'm speechless,'' Riley said, struggling to find the words. ''That second at-bat, I figured he was going to challenge me a little bit. I was able to put a good swing on it.''

Riley hit another drive to the edge of the warning track his next time up, and handled a couple of chances without any problem in left. Normally a third baseman, he figures to mostly play left field at least during his initial stint in the big leagues. Josh Donaldson is locked in at third base for 2019 with a one-year, $23 million deal.

After taking over as a defensive replacement for Riley, Charlie Culberson sealed the victory with a two-run homer in the eighth.

It was quite a showing for Atlanta's kids.

Even younger than Riley, the 21-year-old Soroka (4-1) lowered his ERA to 0.98 in six starts. The right-hander has yet to allow more than one earned run in any of his appearances, and this was his best one yet.

Soroka escaped a bases-loaded jam in the third, getting Paul Goldschmidt to ground into an inning-ending double play. He stared down another trouble spot in the sixth when the Cardinals put runners at second and third, fanning Jose Martinez to snuff out the threat.

''What I like about this kid is he doesn't panic. He just goes pitch to pitch,'' Braves manager Brian Snitker said. ''That's a great trait for a young pitcher to have.''

In the eighth, Dan Winkler walked the first two St. Louis hitters on eight pitches, but Luke Jackson worked out of the jam - this time, it was Paul DeJong hitting into a double play - and finished up for his fifth save in six chances.

Wacha (3-1) surrendered only four hits and one earned run over five innings.

''Anytime you've got somebody new coming in there, you don't really have too much video on that guy,'' Wacha said. ''Obviously, I didn't want to make that pitch where he ended up hitting the homer, but he didn't miss a mistake.''

Atlanta also scored when the Cardinals pitcher threw one away at third base after appearing to pick off Ronald Acuna Jr., who was able to trot home when the ball skidded under the glove of Matt Carpenter.

LUKE, YOU ARE OUR CLOSER

Jackson has been a godsend for Atlanta's shaky bullpen.

After giving up four runs in his first appearance of the season, he has surrendered just one over his past 19 innings and appears to be the closest thing the Braves have to a closer.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Cardinals: RHP Carlos Martinez (shoulder) threw two innings for Double-A Springfield in an 8-2 loss to Arkansas on Wednesday. He allowed one run on four hits and could rejoin St. Louis for a weekend series in Texas.

Braves: Inciarte went on the 10-day injured list with a lumbar strain. He left Tuesday night's game after experiencing tightness in his lower back.

UP NEXT

In the rubber game of the series, RHP Adam Wainwright (3-3, 4.15) goes for the Cardinals against Atlanta RHP Julio Teheran (2-4, 4.26).

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Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963 His work can be found at https://apnews.com/search/paul%20newberry

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For more AP baseball coverage: https://apnews.com/apf-Baseball and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Copyright 2019 by AP. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of AP is strictly prohibited.

123456789RHE
STL23-20
000000000031
ATL22-21
00110002X460
  • W: M. Soroka (4-1)L: M. Wacha (3-1)S: L. Jackson (5)
  • HR: ATL - C. Culberson (3), A. Riley (1)
PLAYERS OF THE GAME
HITTERSABRHRBIHRBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLGOPSFPTS
M. Carpenter 3B20000110.199.323.333.6561.5
P. Goldschmidt 1B20000213.266.354.467.8221.5
P. DeJong SS40100002.319.410.552.9621.0
M. Ozuna LF40000013.231.314.513.827-0.5
J. Martinez RF40100022.333.390.463.8530.0
Y. Molina C40000011.276.299.429.728-0.5
D. Fowler CF30000100.296.415.417.8321.0
K. Wong 2B20100100.250.366.419.7852.0
M. Wacha P10000000.143.143.214.3570.0
J. Brebbia P0000-000.000.000.000.000-
a- J. Gyorko PH10000001.200.263.200.4630.0
G. Gallegos P0000-000.000.000.000.000-
J. Gant P00000000.000.000.000.0000.0
  • a-flied out for Brebbia in the 7th
HITTERSABRHRBIHRBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLGOPSFPTS
R. Acuna CF41100021.273.364.468.8315.0
D. Swanson SS40000011.255.318.463.781-0.5
F. Freeman 1B30100100.304.401.516.9172.0
J. Donaldson 3B30100122.255.382.474.8562.0
N. Markakis RF41100004.293.388.453.8412.0
A. Riley LF31111010.333.3331.3331.6675.5
C. Culberson LF11121000.452.438.8061.2447.0
O. Albies 2B40000020.257.303.432.734-1.0
T. Flowers C10000210.273.341.442.7831.5
M. Soroka P20000012.077.077.077.154-0.5
a- M. Joyce PH10000000.268.333.512.8460.0
D. Winkler P0000-000.000.000.000.000-
L. Jackson P00000000.000.000.000.0000.0
  • a-flied out for Soroka in the 7th
BATTING
  • SH - M. Wacha (3)
  • Runners left in scoring position, 2-Out - M. Ozuna, J. Martinez 2 (2), Y. Molina, J. Gyorko
BATTING
  • 2B - J. Donaldson (12)
  • HR - A. Riley, C. Culberson (3)
  • RBI - A. Riley, C. Culberson 2 (10)
  • 2-Out RBI - C. Culberson 2 (2)
  • Runners left in scoring position, 2-Out - R. Acuna, N. Markakis 4 (4), M. Soroka
BASERUNNING
  • SB - R. Acuna 2 (4)
FIELDING
  • E - M. Wacha
FIELDING
  • DP - 2 (Albies-Freeman; Donaldson-Freeman)
PITCHERSIPHRERBBSOHRERAWHIPFPTS
M. Wacha (L, 3-1)5.04214414.931.643.0
J. Brebbia1.00000201.900.934.0
G. Gallegos1.00000204.241.004.0
J. Gant1.02220211.480.700.0
PITCHERSIP
M. Wacha (L, 3-1)5.0
J. Brebbia1.0
G. Gallegos1.0
J. Gant1.0
PITCHERSIPHRERBBSOHRERAWHIPFPTS
M. Soroka (W, 4-1)7.03003300.981.0126.5
D. Winkler0.00002001.501.00-2.0
L. Jackson (S, 5)2.00000302.051.0914.5
PITCHERSIP
M. Soroka (W, 4-1)7.0
D. Winkler0.0
L. Jackson (S, 5)2.0
PITCHING
  • Pitches-Strikes - M. Wacha 90-51, J. Brebbia 10-7, G. Gallegos 12-9, J. Gant 21-17
  • Ground Balls-Fly Balls - M. Wacha 6-5, J. Gant 1-0
  • Batters Faced - M. Wacha 23, J. Brebbia 3, G. Gallegos 3, J. Gant 5
PITCHING
  • HBP - M. Soroka (6)
  • Pitches-Strikes - M. Soroka 93-57, D. Winkler 8-0, L. Jackson 21-13
  • Ground Balls-Fly Balls - M. Soroka 9-8, L. Jackson 2-0
  • Batters Faced - M. Soroka 27, D. Winkler 2, L. Jackson 5
PLAYERS OF THE GAME
123456789RHE
STL23-20
000000000031
ATL22-21
00110002X460
HITTERSABRHRBIHRBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLGOPSFPTS
M. Carpenter 3B20000110.199.323.333.6561.5
P. Goldschmidt 1B20000213.266.354.467.8221.5
P. DeJong SS40100002.319.410.552.9621.0
M. Ozuna LF40000013.231.314.513.827-0.5
J. Martinez RF40100022.333.390.463.8530.0
Y. Molina C40000011.276.299.429.728-0.5
D. Fowler CF30000100.296.415.417.8321.0
K. Wong 2B20100100.250.366.419.7852.0
M. Wacha P10000000.143.143.214.3570.0
J. Brebbia P0000-000.000.000.000.000-
a- J. Gyorko PH10000001.200.263.200.4630.0
G. Gallegos P0000-000.000.000.000.000-
J. Gant P00000000.000.000.000.0000.0
Total2703005612-----
  • a-flied out for Brebbia in the 7th
HITTERSABRHRBIHRBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLGOPSFPTS
R. Acuna CF41100021.273.364.468.8315.0
D. Swanson SS40000011.255.318.463.781-0.5
F. Freeman 1B30100100.304.401.516.9172.0
J. Donaldson 3B30100122.255.382.474.8562.0
N. Markakis RF41100004.293.388.453.8412.0
A. Riley LF31111010.333.3331.3331.6675.5
C. Culberson LF11121000.452.438.8061.2447.0
O. Albies 2B40000020.257.303.432.734-1.0
T. Flowers C10000210.273.341.442.7831.5
M. Soroka P20000012.077.077.077.154-0.5
a- M. Joyce PH10000000.268.333.512.8460.0
D. Winkler P0000-000.000.000.000.000-
L. Jackson P00000000.000.000.000.0000.0
Total30463241010-----
  • a-flied out for Soroka in the 7th
BATTING
  • SH - M. Wacha (3)
  • Runners left in scoring position, 2-Out - M. Ozuna, J. Martinez 2 (2), Y. Molina, J. Gyorko
BATTING
  • 2B - J. Donaldson (12)
  • HR - A. Riley, C. Culberson (3)
  • RBI - A. Riley, C. Culberson 2 (10)
  • 2-Out RBI - C. Culberson 2 (2)
  • Runners left in scoring position, 2-Out - R. Acuna, N. Markakis 4 (4), M. Soroka
BASERUNNING
  • SB - R. Acuna 2 (4)
FIELDING
  • E - M. Wacha
FIELDING
  • DP - 2 (Albies-Freeman; Donaldson-Freeman)
PITCHERSIPHRERBBSOHRERAWHIPFPTS
M. Wacha (L, 3-1)5.04214414.931.643.0
J. Brebbia1.00000201.900.934.0
G. Gallegos1.00000204.241.004.0
J. Gant1.02220211.480.700.0
Total8.06434102---
PITCHERSIP
M. Wacha (L, 3-1)5.0
J. Brebbia1.0
G. Gallegos1.0
J. Gant1.0
Total8.0
PITCHERSIPHRERBBSOHRERAWHIPFPTS
M. Soroka (W, 4-1)7.03003300.981.0126.5
D. Winkler0.00002001.501.00-2.0
L. Jackson (S, 5)2.00000302.051.0914.5
Total9.0300560---
PITCHERSIP
M. Soroka (W, 4-1)7.0
D. Winkler0.0
L. Jackson (S, 5)2.0
Total9.0
PITCHING
  • Pitches-Strikes - M. Wacha 90-51, J. Brebbia 10-7, G. Gallegos 12-9, J. Gant 21-17
  • Ground Balls-Fly Balls - M. Wacha 6-5, J. Gant 1-0
  • Batters Faced - M. Wacha 23, J. Brebbia 3, G. Gallegos 3, J. Gant 5
PITCHING
  • HBP - M. Soroka (6)
  • Pitches-Strikes - M. Soroka 93-57, D. Winkler 8-0, L. Jackson 21-13
  • Ground Balls-Fly Balls - M. Soroka 9-8, L. Jackson 2-0
  • Batters Faced - M. Soroka 27, D. Winkler 2, L. Jackson 5
  • 8TH INNING
    Culberson homered to left, Markakis scored04
  • 4TH INNING
    Riley homered to center02
  • 3RD INNING
    Acuna scored, Freeman to second on pitcher Wacha throwing error01
  • 9TH INNING
    • L. Jackson Pitching:
    • J. Martinez: Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Foul, Strike swinging, Martinez struck out swinging
    • Y. Molina: Ball, Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Strike looking, Strike swinging, Molina struck out swinging
    • D. Fowler: Foul, Fowler grounded out to first
    • Middle of the 9th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
  • 8TH INNING
    • Dan Winkler pitching
    • Charlie Culberson in left field
    • M. Carpenter: Ball, Ball, Ball, Ball, Carpenter walked
    • P. Goldschmidt: Ball, Ball, Ball, Ball, Goldschmidt walked, Carpenter to second
    • Luke Jackson relieved Dan Winkler
    • P. DeJong: Ball, Strike swinging, Ball, DeJong grounded into double play third to first, Carpenter out at third, Goldschmidt to second
    • M. Ozuna: Strike looking, Foul, Ball, Strike swinging, Ozuna struck out swinging
    • Middle of the 8th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
    • John Gant relieved Giovanny Gallegos
    • F. Freeman: Foul, Freeman grounded out to second
    • J. Donaldson: Strike looking, Foul, Strike swinging, Donaldson struck out swinging
    • N. Markakis: Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Foul, Foul, Markakis singled to shallow left center
    • C. Culberson: Strike looking, Strike swinging, Ball, Culberson homered to left, Markakis scored
    • O. Albies: Foul, Strike swinging, Foul, Strike swinging, Albies struck out swinging
    • End of the 8th (2 Runs, 2 Hits, 0 Errors)
  • 7TH INNING
    • M. Soroka Pitching:
    • Y. Molina: Foul, Molina grounded out to second
    • D. Fowler: Strike looking, Fowler flied out to deep center
    • K. Wong: Wong reached on bunt single to pitcher
    • Jedd Gyorko hit for John Brebbia
    • J. Gyorko: Ball, Strike looking, Gyorko flied out to deep center
    • Middle of the 7th (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
    • Giovanny Gallegos pitching
    • Matt Joyce hit for Mike Soroka
    • M. Joyce: Foul, Ball, Strike swinging, Joyce flied out to deep right
    • R. Acuna: Strike looking, Strike looking, Strike swinging, Acuna struck out swinging
    • D. Swanson: Ball, Strike swinging, Ball, Strike looking, Strike swinging, Swanson struck out swinging
    • End of the 7th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
  • 6TH INNING
    • M. Soroka Pitching:
    • M. Carpenter: Ball, Foul, Ball, Carpenter flied out to center
    • P. Goldschmidt: Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Strike swinging, Ball, Ball, Goldschmidt walked
    • P. DeJong: Strike looking, DeJong singled to left, Goldschmidt to second
    • M. Ozuna: Ball, Foul, Ball, Ozuna grounded out to pitcher, Goldschmidt to third, DeJong to second
    • J. Martinez: Ball, Strike looking, Foul, Strike swinging, Martinez struck out swinging
    • Middle of the 6th (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
    • John Brebbia relieved Michael Wacha
    • A. Riley: Ball, Riley flied out to center
    • O. Albies: Strike looking, Foul, Ball, Ball, Strike swinging, Albies struck out swinging
    • T. Flowers: Strike looking, Strike (foul tip), Strike swinging, Flowers struck out swinging
    • End of the 6th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
  • 5TH INNING
    • M. Soroka Pitching:
    • D. Fowler: Foul, Fowler grounded out to shortstop
    • K. Wong: Ball, Wong grounded out to second
    • M. Wacha: Strike looking, Foul, Ball, Ball, Wacha popped out to first
    • Middle of the 5th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
    • M. Wacha Pitching:
    • D. Swanson: Swanson grounded out to shortstop
    • F. Freeman: Ball, Foul, Foul, Freeman flied out to right
    • J. Donaldson: Strike looking, Ball, Donaldson doubled to shallow left
    • N. Markakis: Strike looking, Markakis grounded out to second
    • End of the 5th (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
  • 4TH INNING
    • M. Soroka Pitching:
    • P. DeJong: Ball, Strike looking, Ball, DeJong grounded out to third
    • M. Ozuna: Ball, Foul, Strike looking, Ozuna grounded out to third
    • J. Martinez: Ball, Strike swinging, Ball, Foul, Foul, Martinez singled to shallow left
    • Y. Molina: Strike swinging, Molina grounded out to third
    • Middle of the 4th (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
    • M. Wacha Pitching:
    • A. Riley: Ball, Foul, Ball, Riley homered to center
    • O. Albies: Albies flied out to deep center
    • T. Flowers: Foul, Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Ball, Ball, Flowers walked
    • M. Soroka: Soroka reached on fielder's choice to second, Flowers out at second
    • R. Acuna: Foul, Acuna lined out to center
    • End of the 4th (1 Run, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
  • 3RD INNING
    • M. Soroka Pitching:
    • D. Fowler: Ball, Foul, Ball, Foul, Ball, Ball, Fowler walked
    • K. Wong: Ball, Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Pickoff attempt, Foul, Ball, Wong walked, Fowler to second
    • M. Wacha: Ball, Wacha hit sacrifice bunt to third, Fowler to third, Wong to second
    • M. Carpenter: Ball, Ball, Carpenter hit by pitch
    • P. Goldschmidt: Ball, Ball, Foul, Goldschmidt grounded into double play second to first, Carpenter out at second
    • Middle of the 3rd (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
    • M. Wacha Pitching:
    • R. Acuna: Strike looking, Ball, Foul, Acuna singled to shallow left
    • D. Swanson: Pickoff attempt, Ball, Ball, Acuna stole second, Strike looking, Ball, Foul, Foul, Swanson flied out to left
    • F. Freeman: Ball, Strike swinging, Foul, Ball, Ball, Ball, Freeman walked
    • J. Donaldson: Strike swinging, Ball, Foul, Strike looking, Donaldson struck out looking
    • N. Markakis: Ball, Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Strike looking, Foul, Foul, Acuna stole third, Acuna scored, Freeman to second on pitcher Wacha throwing error, Markakis grounded out to first
    • End of the 3rd (1 Run, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
  • 2ND INNING
    • M. Soroka Pitching:
    • M. Ozuna: Ozuna flied out to left
    • J. Martinez: Ball, Strike looking, Strike swinging, Foul, Martinez lined out to center
    • Y. Molina: Ball, Molina flied out to deep center
    • Middle of the 2nd (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
    • M. Wacha Pitching:
    • A. Riley: Ball, Strike looking, Ball, Foul, Strike swinging, Riley struck out swinging
    • O. Albies: Ball, Albies grounded out to second
    • T. Flowers: Ball, Ball, Ball, Ball, Flowers walked
    • M. Soroka: Ball, Strike swinging, Ball, Strike looking, Foul, Strike looking, Soroka struck out looking
    • End of the 2nd (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
  • 1ST INNING
    • M. Soroka Pitching:
    • M. Carpenter: Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Ball, Foul, Foul, Strike swinging, Carpenter struck out swinging
    • P. Goldschmidt: Strike looking, Strike looking, Strike looking, Goldschmidt struck out looking
    • P. DeJong: Strike looking, DeJong fouled out to catcher
    • Middle of the 1st (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
    • M. Wacha Pitching:
    • R. Acuna: Ball, Strike looking, Foul, Foul, Strike swinging, Acuna struck out swinging
    • D. Swanson: Ball, Ball, Foul, Swanson lined out to first
    • F. Freeman: Ball, Ball, Ball, Freeman singled to shallow center
    • J. Donaldson: Ball, Foul, Ball, Ball, Ball, Donaldson walked, Freeman to second
    • N. Markakis: Strike looking, Markakis grounded out to second
    • End of the 1st (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)