Dansby finishes inches from cycle, settles for win

The All-Star finalist shortstop went 4-for-5 with 3 RBIs in romp

July 2nd, 2022

CINCINNATI -- The calendar may have flipped to July, but the Atlanta Braves’ hot hitting June carried seamlessly into the new month. 

Coming off of a historic month in which the Braves finished 21-6 and whacked 54 home runs, their lineup remained red-hot in a 9-1 victory Friday night to open the series against the Reds. 

 -- one of the National League’s hottest hitters -- stole the show, supplying a 4-for-5 performance with three RBIs to pave the way offensively. Batting .341 in his last 30 games, Swanson has turned his 2022 season up a notch as a main cog in the lineup after a slow start to the season. 

“[I] just kind of got in tune with myself,” Swanson said. “It just felt like in Philly, I just missed a lot of balls, and the ones that I did hit hard got caught. That’s the nature of the game. You’ve just got to continue to move forward and take it a day at a time.”

In the third inning, Swanson stretched a single into a double on a ball that traveled just 159 feet into the left-center-field gap by hustling out of the box. Later on, he was rewarded for his efforts with a skyscraping three-run homer which essentially put the game away in the late innings.

Swanson even walked to the plate in the top of the ninth inning with a chance to record the first cycle of his career. The 28-year old rifled a line drive into the gap that looked destined for three bases until Reds outfielder Tommy Pham dove to cut the ball off at the very last moment.

“I’m always honest … I knew there was a chance. There was definitely a chance,” Swanson joked after the game.

Instead he settled for a double, his fourth hit of the game.

Manager Brian Snitker has come to expect this level of effort from his infielder, and Friday’s display was no different.

“That’s Dansby,” Snitker said. “His clock is unbelievable, his instincts are off the charts and he’s always looking to push the envelope and take an extra base. He’ll play the game in front of him as good as anybody I’ve seen.”

It wasn't just Snitker who praised the infielder after the game though. His efforts caught the eye of starting pitcher Max Fried.

“I think we’ve kind of seen this from Dansby for the last couple years,” Fried said after the game. “He’s as solid as they come, he plays great defense every day and puts together competitive at-bats … He’s someone that we’ve really relied on, he’s been a big part of this team for a while.”

While Swanson flourished to begin the series, it wasn't just the infielder who picked on the Reds’ pitching staff, as seven of Atlanta’s nine starting batters recorded at least one base hit.

Just four at-bats into the game, Austin Riley capitalized on an outside changeup just within reach, depositing it 405 feet over the center-field fence off of Reds starting pitcher Mike Minor.

After Minor departed from the game, the Braves' lineup saddled each of the three relievers out of the 'pen with at least one earned run.

Ronald Acuña Jr. -- who had missed the previous four games with left foot soreness -- returned to the leadoff spot in the lineup as the designated hitter, and he too joined in on the fun, tallying a 2-for-3 day of his own.

With his offensive counterparts opening the floodgates during the middle innings, Fried said it took a lot of the pressure off of him into the late innings of his outing. He’s come to expect a high level of success from the reigning champs

“One through nine [in the lineup] is pretty good,” Fried said. “It’s not an easy lineup to navigate. You have to pitch an entire 27 outs.”