The Braves exacted some revenge on the Rays tonight with a 7-4 win in Atlanta’s Truist Park Home Opener. After the Braves jumped out to an early lead it was a back & forth affair until Atlanta pulled away and out of reach in the middle and late innings.
STORY OF THE GAME
Atlanta tried to get on the board early when Acuña was thrown out at home in the 1st inning on Freddie’s double to right field. Acuña thought it was worth a look for Braves Manager Brian Snitker, but no challenge was initiated. Rays CF Kevin Kiermaier got the relay started when he backed up Hunter Renfroe who misplayed the ball. Kiermaier isn’t the guy Atlanta wants picking up the ball when they’re trying to stretch hits into extra bases, Kiermaier was ranked 2nd in the AL in Defensive Runs Saved last year with 13, behind Mookie Betts (16).
On Freddie’s next at-bat he sent a hanging curveball over the Right Field fence to put the Bravos ahead 2-0 in the 3rd inning. Ozuna followed Freeman up with a 107 mph SCUD through the left side of the infield for a single. Marcell would be left stranded on 1st base after a Matt Adams lineout to Center Field & d’Arnaud’s 2nd strikeout of the game in his Braves debut.
Tampa Bay plated a run after a breaking ball got away from d’Arnaud and he made a wild throw to 3rd base that went into left field, scoring the advancing runner. Soroka shut down the Rays the rest of the inning with a strikeout for the 3rd out.
Freddie kept on rolling in the bottom half of the inning by beating Tampa’s shift for a single. Bringing him within a triple of the cycle. Freddie & Ozuna would be left stranded on base after Margot made a leaping catch on a Matt Adams fly ball to the Left Field Wall.
After 5 1/3 innings, Darren O’Day was brought on in relief of Mike Soroka with runners on 1st & 2nd and one out. Soroka left the game with no earned runs, 4 hits surrendered, 3 walks, & 5 strikeouts; with a 2-1 lead over the Rays. After Soroka’s exit, O’Day got Margot to flyout to Ozuna in Left but then surrendered a single to Kiermaier to score Wendle and tie the game. Since Wendle was Soroka’s responsibility, his ERA was raised to 0.79. A single by Hunter Renfroe scores 2 runs to take the 4-2 lead for Tampa Bay; bringing Soroka’s ERA up to 1.59 & O’Day’s ERA up from 0.00 to 6.75. AJ Minter then began to warmup in the bullpen for the Braves. After a walk, O’Day stopped the bleeding with a third out strikeout of Rays catcher, Mike Zunino.
Charlie Morton wouldn’t return to the mound in the 6th, with Andrew Kittredge coming on in relief for the Rays. After a leadoff double by Travis d’Arnaud, Dansby brought the Braves within 1 run with a ground rule double. Austin Riley moved Swanson over to 3rd with a swinging bunt, but would be thrown out at 1st. Riley would be Kittredge’s last batter as Oliver Drake would come on in relief for the Rays to face Ender Inciarte. After an 0-2 count, Ender would battle back for a walk, putting runners on the corners for Atlanta. Drake came back with a strikeout of Acuña on a check swing. One batter later, Ozzie chopped a high bouncer to the 2nd baseman, forcing the fielder to rush & fumble the transfer. Dansby scored, tying the game & advancing Inciarte to 2nd. Freddie’s seeing-eye single scored Inciarte from 2nd, but Ozzie was thrown out at 3rd for the inning ending out.
AJ Minter entered the game in the 7th with a 5-4 lead & a 5.40 ERA. He worked a 3 up, 3 down inning with 2 strikeouts & a groundout. In the bottom half of the inning, back-to-back doubles by Ozuna & Camargo put runners on 2nd & 3rd with nobody out for d’Arnaud’s sacrifice fly to extend the lead for Atlanta to 6-4. A wild pitch by Tampa’s Alvarado advanced Camargo to 3rd base. After an absolute BEAUTY of a stop by Adames he made an error on the throw to 1st; allowing Dansby to reach base safely & score Johan from 3rd, extending the Braves lead to 7-4. Later in the inning, Ozzie Albies struck out for the third out, leaving the bases loaded.
Chris Martin kept the Rays at bay in the 8th, working a scoreless top half of the inning.
Mark Melancon pitched a scoreless top half of the 9th inning on 9 pitches, securing the win for the home team.
Soroka: 5.1 innings pitched, 4 hits, 3 runs, 2 earned runs, 3 walks, & 5 strikeouts.
O’Day: 0.2 innings pitched, 2 hits, 1 run, 1 earned run, 1 walk, & 1 strikeout.
Minter: 1 inning pitched, 0 hits, 0 runs, 0 earned runs, 0 walks, & 2 strikeouts.
Martin: 1 inning pitched, 0 hits, 0 runs, 0 earned runs, 0 walks, 1 strikeout.
Melancon: 1 inning pitched, 0 hits, 0 runs, 0 earned runs, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts.
Winning Pitcher: Darren O’Day.
Save: Mark Melancon.
RBI: Albies, d’Arnaud, Freeman 3, Swanson.