PITTSBURGH (AP) – Bryse Wilson worked five solid innings, becoming the third 20-year-old pitcher to start in his big league debut for Atlanta this season in the Braves’ 1-0 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday night.
Wilson allowed three hits, struck out five and walked three as Atlanta increased its NL East lead to one game over idle Philadelphia while ending its four-game skid. The Braves purchased the right-hander’s contract from Triple-A Gwinnett prior to the game so they could give their regular starters a rest.
Mike Soroka was 20 when he started May 1 against the Mets at New York and Koby Allard did it on July 31 against Miami.
The last team to use three starters before they reached their 21st birthday in a season was the 1965 Kansas City Athletics with Hall of Famer Catfish Hunter, Don Buschhorn and Ron Tompkins.
Five relievers finished the seven-hitter. Dan Winkler pitched the ninth, working around a leadoff single for his second save.
Pittsburgh has allowed exactly one run in five straight games, but has lost three of them. The organization hasn’t done that since July 13-18, 1888, when they were the Alleghenys, according to Stats.
The Braves scored in the first inning when Freddie Freeman hit a two-out double and scored on Nick Markakis’ single.
Center fielder Ender Inciarte preserved the lead in the seventh he when he threw out Adeiny Hechavarria trying to score from second base on Corey Dickerson’s single to end the inning. The call was upheld after a video review.
Pirates starter Chris Archer (4-6) was removed after four innings because of left leg discomfort. Archer appeared to be injured while batting in the third inning. He fell as he attempted to check his swing while striking out.
Manager Clint Hurdle and a trainer visited the mound after Archer warmed up before the fourth, but he remained in the game for one more inning.
Archer allowed one run and five hits with three strikeouts and one walk. He is 1-1 with a 4.91 ERA in four starts for Pittsburgh since being acquired from the Tampa Bay Rays in a trade.
Wilson (1-0) began the season at Class A Florida and went a combined 8-5 with a 3.23 ERA in 23 starts in the minor leagues. He was the Braves’ fourth-round pick in the 2016 draft.
The only bad moment for Wilson came when he appeared to single with two outs in the fourth inning, but he was thrown out at first base by right fielder Gregory Polanco.
Atlanta’s Johan Camargo reached base in all four plate appearances with three singles and a walk.
Pirates: 2B Josh Harrison (strained left hamstring) did not play.
The Braves designated veteran infielder Ryan Flaherty for assignment to open a roster spot for Wilson and outrighted left-hander Chad Bell to Gwinnett.
The Pirates shuffled left-handed relievers, recalling Steven Brault from Triple-A Indianapolis and optioning Buddy Boshers. Brault replaced Archer and pitched two scoreless innings.
Pirates center fielder Starling Marte was benched a day after he failed to hustle twice while running the bases in a 2-1 victory over the Chicago Cubs in 11 innings.
20 IS THE MAGIC NUMBER
Braves rookie outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr., who’s also 20, was chosen as the NL Player of the Week after going 13 for 28 (.464) with four home runs in eight games.
Braves veteran right-hander Brandon McCarthy joked on Twitter about Atlanta’s plethora of youngsters.
“Are you under 21 and looking to make some last minute summer cash? Try out for the Braves,” he wrote.
Braves: RHP Kevin Gausman (7-9, 4.22 ERA) will pitch Tuesday night and is 2-1 with a 2.84 ERA in three starts since being acquired from Baltimore in a trade.
Pirates: RHP Ivan Nova (7-7, 4.26 ERA) has won all three career starts against Atlanta with a 1.69 ERA.
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