Lopez, Albies shine as Braves beat Orioles 6-3 and snap slide

BALTIMORE (AP) — After Reynaldo Lopez matched his season high with eight strikeouts over six shutout innings in the Atlanta Braves' 6-3 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Thursday, the new MLB ERA leader revealed the catalyst for exceptional season: his wife.

“She was constantly telling my agent to keep looking for opportunities where I could be a starter somewhere,” Lopez (4-2) said through an interpreter. He signed a 3-year contract with the Braves last November with the intention of returning to a starting role. “She was the one who kind of kept the faith.”

Reynaldo Lopez hadn't pitched regularly in a rotation since the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. But it’s safe to say Jhilaris Lopez was onto something.

Thursday was yet another outing where he looked like one of the game's best, allowing only two singles while throwing 58 of 91 pitches for strikes.

At one point he retired one point retiring 14 consecutive batters to help Atlanta snap a five-game slide and halt the Orioles' six-game win streak.

When it was over, he had posted his third-straight start of six innings and three or fewer runs, and the eighth of the season overall. It lowered his ERA to 1.69.

“I’m definitely proud of the way I’ve been pitching, but to be honest I don’t pay much attention to that kind of stuff,” Lopez said of the ERA leaderboard. “I really just try to block out all the noise and the thoughts that can creep into your head.”

Marcell Ozuna's two-run double off Cole Irvin (6-3) staked Lopez to a first-inning lead, and Ozzie Albies' four hits helped Atlanta add a run each in the fourth and sixth innings, and two more in the ninth.

In all, the Braves produced 12 hits, their most since June 1.

“They’re all good, but that was an especially good ballgame to win,” Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said.

Baltimore’s Kyle Stowers hit a three-run homer off reliever Pierce Johnson in the seventh to close Baltimore’s deficit to one and put Atlanta’s third win of a nine-game road trip in doubt.

“It gave us a chance,” Stowers said. “I've spent some time up here since ‘22, and every stretch I’ve been here, late innings we find a way to fight.”

Joe Jimenez worked a scoreless eighth against the top of Baltimore’s order, and after the Braves’ two-run ninth Raisel Iglesias survived the tying run reaching the plate to record his 17th save.

Lopez's batters-retired streak ended when issuing his only walk to Adley Rutschman with two outs in the sixth. But he followed by inducing Ryan O’Hearn into an inning-ending lineout to ensure Rutschman did not become the first Oriole runner to get beyond second base.

“I think he’s getting over the hump of the starting thing now,” Snitker said of Lopez. "He’s been really good, I’ll tell you that. To me he’s exceeded expectations.

TRAINERS ROOM

Orioles: RHP Dean Kremer (triceps strain) threw a bullpen session on Thursday morning, and the club expects to make a decision soon about where he begins a rehab assignment, manager Brandon Hyde said.

UP NEXT

Braves: LHP Chris Sale looks to rebound from a hard-luck loss — his second — as Atlanta opens a three-game home series against Tampa Bay.

Orioles: RHP Kyle Bradish looks to give back-to-back quality starts for the first time this season in the opener of a three-game set against visiting Philadelphia.

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