One down, maybe nine more to go.
On Friday, Atlanta launched its most daunting road swing of the season, a 10-game excursion through St. Louis, New York (Yankees) and Milwaukee; and as first impressions go, the Braves couldn't have asked for a better start, rolling over the error-prone Cardinals, 5-1.
The story of the Braves' decisive victory can be told in three parts:
a) The offense continually put the Cardinals on the defensive, churning out 10 hits for the night. As such, Atlanta's breakthrough in the latter innings—scoring one in the 7th, three in the 8th, one in the 9th—seemed more inevitable than surprising.
Johan Camargo (two runs, two RBI, three hits) and Dansby Swanson, batting in the 7- and 8-holes, also provided excellent lineup protection for Braves pitcher Julio Teheran, cumulatively tallying two runs, three RBI and six hits.
b) The aforementioned Teheran was sparkling on the mound, surrendering zero runs and only two hits over six strong innings.
The Colombian native might have inflicted even more damage, if Braves manager Brian Snitker hadn't subbed in a pinch-hitter in the seventh inning.
c) Speaking of which ... the Cardinals defenders committed three errors in the game. But the greatest self-inflicted wound occurred in the 7th, when starter Miles Mikolas hit Ender Inciarte with the bases loaded, allowing the Braves to finally crack the scoreboard (breaking a scoreless tie).
How did the bases get jammed? Danny Santana, who pinch-hit for Teheran, ending up lacing a single to center field, prior to Inciarte earning his RBI ... the hard way.
For that game-changing inning (three straight singles from Camargo, Swanson, Santana), Ronald Acuna Jr. led off with a ho-hum groundout.
Of greater importance, baseball's top-ranked prospect has seemingly recovered in full from last month's potentially nasty injury in Boston, when the 20-year-old sprained his left ACL while trying to beat out a bang-bang call at first base.
On this night, Acuna went 0 for 4 with one walk.
Back to Teheran: Since SunTrust Park opened 14 months ago, the Braves starter has endured his share of rocky moments at home.
But on the road? He's perhaps tossing at an All-Star level in enemy ballparks.
To wit, charting one-plus seasons at the Braves' new park, Teheran has a cumulative ERA of 5.12.
On the road, though, Teheran owns a rock-solid 3.28 ERA since 2017. Of his seven away starts for this season, the right-hander has yielded three or fewer earned runs five times.
With the victory, the Braves (46-34) now possess a three-game lead in the National League East.
At this pace, they're on track for 93 wins by season's end.