Thursday’s Atlanta Braves victory at Turner Field was a night to remember for Alex Wood, as he became the 36th former Bulldog to reach the Major Leagues.
Wood pitched a scoreless ninth inning, needing just seven pitches to help the Braves cruise to an 11-3 win over Toronto. The crowd of 29,967 featured Wood’s family, friends, former Georgia teammates and plenty of Bulldog fans.
“I was fortunate to get in there at the end, it was pretty special,” said Wood. “When I walked out there, I heard some Dog fans barking and everyone cheering. It was a pretty neat moment. I wish everybody could experience the feeling I had tonight at some point in their lives.”
The 6-foot-4, 215-pound left-hander started the ninth by retiring Mark DeRosa on a groundout to second. Colby Rasmus reached on an infield single and then Wood got Maicer Izturis to ground into a game-ending double play. A second round draft pick in 2012, Wood became the sixth former Bulldog to appear in the Major Leagues this year. He is the second Georgia player to make his MLB debut this season, joining pitcher Josh Fields (Houston) who made his on April 2.
The Braves officially promoted Wood from Double-A Mississippi on Thursday afternoon. Wood had posted a 4-2 record with a 1.26 ERA in 10 starts with Mississippi this year. Wood is now part of the Braves seven-man bullpen.
In related MLB news Thursday, former Bulldog pitcher Justin Grimm earned another victory for the Texas Rangers as they defeated Arizona 9-5 in Arlington. Grimm (5-3, 3.93 ERA) leads all American League rookies in wins and strikeouts. He was the American League Rookie of the Month in April.