Shuttling between the Gwinnett Stripers of Triple-A East and the Atlanta Braves hasn’t shaken Bryse Wilson in his sixth professional season.
Wilson had the longest start of his Major League career on Saturday afternoon as the Atlanta Braves defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates 6-1 at Truist Park. In six-and-two-thirds innings, Wilson surrendered only one run on five hits. He struck out four and conceded two walks, as well as a home run to Pittsburgh catcher Michael Perez. Wilson improved to 2-2 on the year.
For the cherry on top of the sundae, Wilson added his first hit of the season with a line drive to right field. In his first plate appearance, Pittsburgh starter Mitch Keller nearly hit Wilson in the face with a fastball. Wilson barely eluded it and it struck his right hand.
As was the case with his first win of the season against the Chicago Cubs on April 18, Wilson received plenty of run support. Home run support, that is.
Atlanta Manager Brian Snitker, a former player with the Durham Bulls during their days in the Carolina League, praised Wilson’s variety of pitches.
“When he had his debut against the Pirates [in 2018] that was the one thing that stood out, was that changeup,” Snitker said. “Personally I think he started messing with the slider so much that he lost feel of his changeup a little bit. Two starts ago in [Triple-A] Gwinnett, he broke out his changeup really well and it’s a really good pitch for him. The fact that he throws strikes is huge. I’m just glad when he got hit that it didn’t affect him.”
Third baseman Ozzie Albies slammed two home runs, one from each side of the plate, to propel the Braves to a 5-1 lead at the end of five innings. Ronald Acuna Jr. led off the first with a dinger against Keller, who fell to 2-6.
“Fastball command was good,” Wilson said. “We were able to keep them on their heels between the four-seam and the two-seam, and the changeup was really good today. Really I was just able to pound the zone and throw a lot of strikes.”
Wilson’s best start in a Braves uniform came six days after his franchise-record streak of winning seven consecutive starts for the Gwinnett Stripers of Triple-A East came to an end. Last Sunday, Wilson had a no decision after he surrendered four runs off ten hits in six innings against the Louisville Bats at Coolray Field. He struck out three and walked none.
Though it had been known by local friends and family for several days, the Braves formally called Wilson up from Gwinnett on Saturday morning after optioning Jacob Webb back to Triple-A following the Braves 20-1 mauling of the Pirates on Friday night.
It was the second straight start where Wilson went six innings. On May 11 against Toronto, Wilson left the game with Atlanta leading 3-2. Against the Blue Jays, Wilson struck out five in six innings. He yielded two runs off six hits with no walks on 84 pitches.
Wilson now has a career Major League mark of 5-3. This season, he is 2-2 with a 4.38 ERA. He has 15 strikeouts and seven walks.
Atlanta is 22-24, two-and-a-half games behind the New York Mets for first place in the National League East. The Braves have a two-game series against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park starting Tuesday night. Next weekend, they face the Mets at Citi Field.
WIlson is a 2016 Orange High graduate who signed with Atlanta immediately after marching in the Smith Center. He is the first Orange High product to reach the Major Leagues. Josh Horton and Chris Maples reached the Triple-A level with the Oakland and Detroit organizations, respectively.