“He was like, ‘Man,’" Riley said, "and I was like, ‘You shoved today. No matter whether you like it or not, you shoved.'”
Soroka certainly had no reason to feel ashamed after he allowed the Tigers three earned runs over 6 2/3 innings. But the 21-year-old Braves hurler was understandably frustrated by the fact he was a pair of two-out hits away from becoming the only pitcher in the live-ball era (since 1920) to allow one earned run or fewer in nine consecutive starts to begin a season.
“You’re not accustomed to see him give up runs,” Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson said. “But if you look at the way he pitched, I think they were just putting balls where we weren’t. It was just a little bit of tough luck for him.”
The tough luck began in the first inning, when Christin Stewart snuck a double past the first base bag and then scored when Brandon Dixon flared a two-out RBI single to shallow right field. Soroka had entered the game having limited opponents to a .093 (4-for-43) batting average with runners in scoring position.
After Niko Goodrum doubled with two outs in the fifth, Stewart struck again when he delivered a soft, opposite-field single that gave the Tigers a 3-2 lead. It marked just the third time Soroka has ever allowed three earned runs or more.
Soroka owns a 1.41 ERA through this year’s nine starts and the distinction of being the only pitcher since 1913 to allow one earned run or less in 11 of his first 14 career starts.
“We got a couple weak-contact balls in that inning and two came around [to score],” Soroka said. “That’s the way baseball is. I’ve had games where I’ve gotten lucky with some hard-hit balls hit right at guys. Some days, those are going to fall.”