By GEORGE HENRY
ATLANTA (AP) — Mike Soroka says he hasn’t paid much attention to how solid his numbers are this season.
Even without his best stuff, the 21-year-old Soroka was still savvy enough to win his sixth straight decision and Soroka become the youngest pitcher in Atlanta history with eight career wins as the Atlanta Braves snapped a three-game skid with a 10-5 victory over the Detroit Tigers on Saturday.
“We had a couple of weak contact balls in (the fifth) inning and two came around,” he said. “That’s the way baseball is. I’ve had a couple of games when I got lucky on a couple of hard-hit balls hit right at guys. Some days those are going to fall. That’s all right with me.”
Freddie Freeman and Austin Riley each hit a two-run homer to power the offense.
Soroka (6-1) scuffled a bit, at least compared to the high standard he set this season, allowing season highs of three runs and seven hits and striking out five in 6 2/3 innings. He began the game with a 1.07 ERA that, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, was the third-best since 1913 by a pitcher 21 or younger in his first eight starts.
He showed some aserunning flair, too, helping stir the offense as Atlanta rallied from a 3-2 deficit in the two-run fifth. After Ozzie Albies singled, Soroka sped up his run to the bag on a bunt attempt when pitcher Daniel Norris threw errantly to first. Though he was initially called out, Soroka was ruled safe on Atlanta’s successful challenge.
Acuna followed with a run-scoring single up the middle, and the 6-foot-5 Soroka advanced all the way to third. He scored on Dansby Swanson’s forceout to give the Braves a 4-3 lead.
“On the single, you’ve got to make sure you get from first to third,” Soroka said. “That should be a given, to give the guys a chance to put the ball in play and score another run, so that was huge.”
Riley’s eighth homer in 16 career games, the second-most in history to tie Toronto’s Carlos Delgado in 1994 and Colorado’s Trevor Story in 2016, put Atlanta up 6-3 in the sixth and chased Norris (2-4).
The Tigers led 1-0 on Brandon Dixon’s RBI single in the first, marking just the fifth hit Soroka had allowed against 45 batters with runners in scoring position.
Soroka issued no walks for the second time in three starts, but he failed to hold a one-run lead in the fourth, giving up an infield bloop single to Norris, who advanced to third when Niko Goodrum doubled off the left-field wall and both runners scored on Christin Stewart’s opposite-field single to left.
The Braves led 2-1 in the fourth when Freeman hit his 14th homer, a 390-foot shot that glanced off the second level of the right-field stands.
Detroit, with the AL’s lowest-scoring offense, cut the lead to 6-4 in the seventh on Goodrum’s RBI triple. Swanson got the run back in the bottom half of the inning with his 11th homer.
Braves closer Luke Jackson earned a five-out save, his eighth overall this season in 12 chances.
Norris allowed six hits, one walk and six runs — five earned — and struck out four.
“That throwing error to first, I whiffed on that,” Norris said. “I didn’t make the play. The home run to Freeman was strike silder, and you can do that with him. And the last homer, obviously I hate leaving on that note.”
Tigers: 1B Miguel Cabrera was held out of the lineup as the team waited on MRI results of the slugger’s right knee. Cabrera, a two-time AL MVP and 11-time All-Star, left in the sixth inning of Friday’s win over Atlanta. He has dealt with knee soreness since spring training. Manager Ron Gardenhire said after the game that the team will seek a second opinion on the images before deciding what’s next for Cabrera.
Braves: CF Ender Inciarte, sidelined the last 16 games with a lumbar strain, threw for the first time since going on the injured list May 15. Manager Brian Snitker said it’s too early to tell when Inciarte will begin a rehab stint.
Among pitchers 21 or younger since 1913, only Fernando Valenzuela, with a 0.50 ERA for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1981, and Vida Blue, with a 1.02 ERA for the Oakland A’s in 1971, were better than Soroka through their first eight starts. He also was attempting to become the first pitcher since 1920 to begin a season with nine straight starts of one earned run or fewer allowed. Edinson Volquez, with Cincinnati in 2008, and Mike Norris, with Oakland in 1980, each had eight. Soroka was recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett on April 18.
Tigers: LHP Matthew Boyd (5-4, 2.85 ERA) will make his 13th start this season and first career appearance against Atlanta. Boyd has pitched 12 consecutive scoreless innings in going 1-0 over his last two starts.
Braves: RHP Julio Teheran (3-4, 3.53 ERA) will make his 13th start and second career start against Detroit. Teheran went 1-0 with a 0.98 ERA in five starts last month.
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