By PAUL NEWBERRY, AP Sports Writer
ATLANTA (AP) — The Dodgers acquisition of Manny Machado paid off with his first homer for his new team. Rich Hill handled the rest.READ MORE: John Driskell Hopkins of Zac Brown Band diagnosed with ALS
Machado homered for the first time since being acquired by Los Angeles, Hill blanked Atlanta over seven dominant innings and the Dodgers routed the Braves 8-2 on Thursday night.
Machado, picked up last week from Baltimore to add even more punch to a team that leads the National League in homers, went deep in his seventh game with the Dodgers. He lined a fastball into the left-field seats leading off the sixth against Anibal Sanchez, Machado’s 25th homer of the season overall.
“It feels great, man,” Machado said. “We came out with a W, which makes the home run that much better.”
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts made sure to track down the ball for his newest star.
“This is a new chapter in his life,” Roberts said. “I don’t know if he cares about it or not, but I thought it was important to get him that souvenir. We expect him to hit a lot more of those.”
Hill (4-4) limited the Braves to three hits and a walk while striking out seven, and he even picked up his first RBI of the season .
“They didn’t have many good swings off him,” Roberts said.
Hill was sidelined last month with recurring blisters, but he put the time to good use. A slight change in his delivery resulted in more sideways movement on his breaking ball, which he combined with a fastball that remained in the low 90s all night to totally stifle the Braves.
“We had a good mix going,” Hill said. “Overall, just making sure I stayed aggressive with every pitch that came out of my hand.”
Atlanta managed only one scoring threat against the 38-year-old left-hander, which wasn’t even of Hill’s doing. With two outs in the sixth, Freddie Freeman reached when Machado’s wild throw from third got knocked out of Cody Bellinger’s glove as the first baseman tried to swipe Freeman with a tag. Nick Markakis walked on four pitches — the lone time Atlanta got a runner as far as second base against Hill — but Kurt Suzuki hit an inning-ending flyout.
While Sanchez (5-3) turned in another solid outing for the Braves, defensive blunders and a lack of offense ruined his night.
Shortstop Charlie Culberson’s throwing error in the fifth led to an unearned run. Another errant throw by second baseman Ozzie Albies in the seventh set up Hill’s run-scoring single, which finished off the Braves starter.
Sanchez went 6 1/3 innings and wound up being charged with four earned runs when the Dodgers blew open the game against Sam Freeman. Joc Pederson doubled into the right-field corner, and Yasmani Grandal’s two-out, two-run single stretched the lead to 6-0.READ MORE: 3-Dose Covid-19 Vaccine Produces Strong Immune Responses In Young Children
Culberson, getting a rare start at shortstop while Dansby Swanson took the night off, was charged with another throwing error in the eighth as the Dodgers tacked on two more runs. The Braves entered with just 48 errors in 98 games, fourth fewest in the NL.
The way Hill was pitching, the Braves had no room for error.
“He has a good curveball. His fastball kind of jumps on you a little bit,” said Culberson, a former teammate of Hill’s. “You’ve got to tip your cap to Rich. He threw the ball well and missed our bats.”
Ronald Acuna Jr. provided Atlanta’s only burst of offense with a two-run homer off Daniel Hudson in the eighth.
Shortly after the game, the Braves completed a deal to acquire left-hander Jonny Venters from the Tampa Bay Rays.
The 33-year-old Venters came up with the Braves and was a key member of the bullpen until three elbow surgeries stymied his career. He returned this season with the Rays, his first appearance in the big leagues since 2012.
In 22 appearances, Venters went 1-1 with a 3.86 ERA.
The Braves gave up an international signing slot.
Albies was back in the Atlanta lineup after missing four games with a sore right hamstring. The All-Star, one of just two players in the NL with 20 homers and 10 stolen bases, went 0 for 4 and was charged with an error when he made a horrible throw even though he had no chance of getting Alex Verdugo on an infield hit.
Dodgers: LHP Clayton Kershaw (3-5, 2.64 ERA) takes the mound in the second of four games at SunTrust Park. He is 3-0 with a 1.47 ERA in nine career starts against Atlanta.MORE NEWS: The US Is In Process Of Releasing Monkeypox Vaccine From National Stockpile For 'High-Risk' People
Braves: RHP Mike Foltynewicz (7-6, 2.85) will be looking to get back on track after three straight rough outings. He has surrendered 21 hits, 14 earned runs and four homers in his last 18 1/3 innings.