Saturday, March 26, 2022
The Braves starting pitching continued its run of dominance this spring as prospect lefty Tucker Davidson worked three hitless innings in today’s win over the Twins. A day after his 26th birthday, Tucker struck out four and walked none, making a strong case to be included in Atlanta’s Opening Day six-man starting rotation.
Davidson worked an efficient first inning on Saturday, getting all three Twins batters out on contact. With one out in the frame, shortstop Dansby Swanson flashed some leather when Jorge Polanco barreled a ball near the left-side gap…
The second inning featured a Braves score as catcher Manny Pina slapped a two-out line drive single to left to score Marcell Ozuna. And in the third, Atlanta’s offense added three more runs when, following back-to-back walks by both Matt Olson and Austin Riley, Ozuna crushed a home run over the right field wall.
For what seems like the millionth time this spring, the Braves jumped out to a big lead before the opponent could muster a single run. I like this offense already.
After Darren O’Day pitched a clean fourth, lefty reliever Sean Newcomb came on to work the fifth, and unfortunately things went very badly for the former prospect. After striking out Gary Sanchez to begin the frame, Newk allowed a double to Max Kepler, and two batters later another double (by Alex Kirlloff), cutting the Braves lead to 4-1. A batter later, Nick Gordon sent a sharply-hit grounder to right, scoring Kirlloff, and just like that it was a two-run game. Atlanta again went to the bullpen, bringing in Brandyn Sittinger, however, a two-run home run by Byron Buxton tied the game.
The Braves failed to muster any offense in the sixth and A.J. Minter pitched beautifully in the bottom-half of the inning. But Atlanta’s lineup struck again in the seventh when Brock Holt belted a solo homer…
The Braves added three more runs later in the seventh, thanks to some ugly baseball by the Twins. After doubling, Pat Valaika scored on a passed ball, Alex Dickerson scored on a bases-loaded walk and then Chadwick Tromp crossed home from a wild pitch. Through seven, Atlanta led 8-4.
Minnesota answered with two runs of its own in the eighth. With star minor league reliever Indigo Diaz on the mound for Atlanta, Tim Beckham singled, and two batters later David Banuelos started a rally when he slapped a base-hit and both Jose Miranda and Curtis Terry followed with an RBI single and RBI double, respectively. Jake Higginbotham came in to get the final out to end the eighth and he remained in the game to get the final three outs in the ninth, earning the save.
The Braves will continue its spring schedule with a 12:05 PM (CT) matchup with the Rays on Sunday. Tomorrow’s game will be televised again on Bally Sports, with Charlie Morton starting for Atlanta and Ryan Yarbrough on the mound for Tampa Bay.