ATLANTA — — Kyle Wright has regained his confidence and the Atlanta Braves hope to have found renewed depth in their rotation.
Wright won a World Series ring with several of his Atlanta teammates, then went two-hitter in six scoreless innings to lead the Braves over the Cincinnati Reds 2-1 on Saturday night.
“I feel like I have confidence in myself,” said Wright, who spent most of the 2021 season at Triple-A Gwinnett before being promoted to allow a run in 5 2/3 innings in two World Series appearances against Houston.
“Using the World Series is a great way to build that confidence,” Wright said.
Atlanta earned its second straight victory after a loss on Day 1. Last year, the Braves didn’t have a winning record until they went 57-56 on Aug. 8. They sprinted to their first title since 1995, capped by a six-game win over the Houston Astros.
Wright (1-0) struck out six and walked one. He struck out 10 consecutive batters before walking Tommy Pham to open the seventh.
“He just threw,” Reds manager David Bell said of Wright. “He has good things for sure, but he located his lead, changed gears and kept the ball on the ground. Moved all around. Truly, he commanded and controlled exactly what he wanted to do and executed a plan against us.
AJ Minter had three straight outs, Darren O’Day threw a perfect eighth and Will Smith earned the save, allowing Tommy Pham’s walk and Joey Votto’s RBI single before Aristides Aquino came out.
New closest Kenley Jansen gave up three runs Friday night while throwing 30 shots in the ninth inning of a 7-6 victory. Braves manager Brian Snitker said the 30 pitches were “absolutely” the reason Jansen wasn’t asked to pitch in consecutive games.
Wright, a 26-year-old right-hander, got off to a solid start in what he hopes will be a fresh start in his career. The fifth overall pick by Atlanta in the 2017 Entry Draft, Wright had a 6.56 ERA in his first four seasons.
Snitker said Wright “discovered who he was” last season in the minors.
“He’s great, kind of what you were looking for, what you thought he was capable of,” Snitker said of Wright’s performance against the Reds.
Reds right-hander Vladimir Gutierrez (0-1) allowed two runs and six hits in 4 1/3 innings. by Marcel Ozuna doubled in the first run drove Matt Olson, who picked, and Ozzie Albies’ sacrificial fly brought home Austin Riley.
755 DIAMONDS AND A PEARL
The Braves received their World Series Rings at a pre-match ceremony. The massive ring bears 755 diamonds, a tribute to Hall of Famer Hank Aaron’s home run total.
The ring also features a white pearl on the right side, a nod to the pearl necklace Joc Pederson wore last season.
“When they showed it to me, my jaw dropped open,” Snitker said.
Former Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman, now with the Dodgers, will receive his ring when Los Angeles visits Atlanta June 24-26.
CHECK THIS SCOUT REPORT
Olson was ejected at home plate in the third and seventh innings. Shortstop Kyle Farmer’s left fielder relay Jake Fraley at receiver Aramis Garcia caught Olson in third. Aquino’s throw at home plate from left field nailed Olson, who tried to score from second on Ozuna’s single, his third hit of the game.
The Braves acquired Olson from Oakland after realizing they couldn’t re-sign Freeman.
“If someone wrote in the Oakland scouting report that I’m fast, they’ve been lying,” Olson said with a smile.
Aquino’s throw was clocked at 101.6 mph.
“It makes me feel a little better,” Olson said.
Reds: RHP Lucas Sims could be ready to join the team within two weeks and allow another closer option. Sims opened the season on the 10-day injured list after offseason health issues put him behind his normal spring training schedule. Sims is expected to begin a rehab mission with Triple-A Louisville next week. Bell said Sims could join the team as early as April 20.
Braves: RHP Ian Anderson (9-5, 3.58 ERA in 2021) who left his last start of spring training on Monday due to a blister in his right big toe, should not have limitations in his debut of season Sunday. … C Manny Piña (sore left wrist) practiced batting and was available on the bench.
RHP Hunter Greene, the No. 2 overall selection in the 2017 draft by Cincinnati, will make his highly anticipated major league debut on Sunday when he takes on Anderson in the series finale. Hard pitcher Greene, 22, was 10-8 with a 3.30 ERA last year at Double-A Chattanooga and Triple-A Louisville.