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Ehire Adrianza gives Braves a walk-off win over Rays

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Adrianza’s three-run homer in the ninth was the difference.

Pittsburgh Pirates v Atlanta Braves Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images

Ehire Adrianza hit a three-run home run in the bottom of the ninth to give the Atlanta Braves an 8-7 win over the Tampa Bay Rays Sunday afternoon at CoolToday Park.

The Braves were held in check for the first four innings but broke through in the fifth. Pablo Sandoval singled to lead off the inning but was erased on a fielder’s choice by Ender Inciarte. Yacksel Rios got Johan Camargo to fly out for the second out, but then served up a two-run home run to Jason Kipnis that tied the game. Ronald Acuña Jr. then followed with a solo shot of his own to put the Braves up 3-2.

Atlanta went back-to-back again in the eighth against Rays righty Phoenix Sanders. Shea Langeliers hit a solo bomb to left and Sean Kazmar followed with his third homer of the spring to cut the deficit to 7-5.

The Braves would come up big again in the ninth. Jonathan Morales worked a one out walk against Tyler Zombro and then advanced to second on a single by Abraham Almonte. That set the stage for Adrianza, who connected for the three-run bomb and the walk-off win.

Atlanta went with a bullpen game on the mound Sunday. Grant Dayton worked a scoreless first but ran into trouble in the second. Mike Brousseau walked, Brett Phillips doubled, and Kevan Smith singled them home for Tampa’s first runs. Nate Jones replaced Dayton with two outs in the second and was able to escape further damage. Jones would allow one hit over 1 1/3 scoreless innings and has now allowed just two hits in 4 1/3 scoreless innings this spring.

Luke Jackson worked a scoreless sixth but served up a lead off home run in the seventh to Miles Mastrobuoni to tie the game at 3-3. Jackson would retire the next two hitters before allowing a single to Xavier Edwards. Snitker would then turn to Victor Vodnik who struck out Kevin Padlo to end the inning. Vodnik was not as fortunate in the eighth as he allowed a single to Rene Pinto and then a long two-run home run to Dalton Kelly to put the Rays in front 5-3. Vodnik was later replaced by William Woods who served up another long home run to Moises Gomez to extend the lead to 7-3.

Ozzie Albies went 2-for-3 at the plate for the Braves. Freddie Freeman, Pablo Sandoval and Ender Inciarte all had one hit each. Inciarte was seeing his first action in about a week due to a sore thumb. Wander Franco went 1-for-3 for the Rays.

The Braves will host the Twins Monday with Bryse Wilson scheduled to start against J.A. Happ.

More Notes

  • Box Score
  • Will Smith and A.J. Minter tossed a pair of scoreless innings Sunday. Smith struck out the side in the fourth and worked around a two out double by Kevan Smith. Minter allowed a double to Vidal Brujan to lead off the inning but sat down the next three hitters to leave him stranded.
  • The Braves used eight pitchers in Sunday’s bullpen game. They allowed a combined 13 hits and seven runs with three home runs.
  • Bryce Ball and Braden Shewmake both got into the game but went hitless in two at-bats. Ball struck out in his only plate appearance while Shewmake grounded out to lead off the ninth.
  • Brian Snitker told reporters prior to the game that reliever Chris Martin should make his first appearance of the spring in the next few days. Martin is healthy but has been throwing and working in sim games so far during camp.