Braves edge Tigers for first win of Spring, 6-4 (2015)
The Atlanta Braves hit the road for their second game of the Grapefruit League season on Thursday, scoring twice in the ninth inning to grab a 6-4 victory.
At the plate: The Braves were without several regulars in the lineup again, but found the runs a little more plentiful than they were in Wednesday’s loss. Auditions for a pair of everyday jobs continued. Phil Gosselin got the start at second base and collected a two-out, two-run single in the fifth to put Atlanta up, 2-1. Eury Perez started in center field, where he hopes to earn regular playing time in the absence of Melvin Upton Jr. On the day, Perez went 0-for-4 with a walk and a run scored while getting time in both center and right. He helped spark the go-ahead rally by stealing two bases in the ninth inning, including home plate as part of a double steal with Johan Camargo.
Veteran catcher John Buck had some struggles with the glove during a start at first base, but smacked a two-run double and walked twice in three plate appearances. Christian Bethancourt doubled and scored a run, finishing 1-for-3 on the day. Chris Johnson went hitless in three trips as the designated hitter. Joey Terdoslavich, who is fighting for a spot on the bench, went 1-for-2 with a double, two walks and two runs scored.
On the mound: Julio Teheran struck out the first two hitters he faced, but the Tigers plated a run on a hustle double from Steven Moya and a broken-bat, RBI-single from J.D. Martinez in the first inning. Hernan Perez coaxed a lead-off walk from Teheran in the second, but was erased on a 6-4-3 double play. Detroit put two more men aboard, on a single and an error by third baseman Kelly Johnson, but Teheran escaped further damage. His final line: 2 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K.
Left-hander Eric Stults followed Teheran and navigated through two scoreless frames. He allowed two hits, but a pair of errors committed behind him caused Stults to expend a few more pitches. Righty Brandon Cunniff had a walk and a strikeout in a scoreless fifth inning. Ian Thomas allowed a run on two hits and struck out one in the sixth. Highly regarded right-hander Jason Hursh did not have a good spring debut. He blew the save, but ended up earning a win for his troubles. Hursh allowed two runs on four hits while walking two and striking out one. Sugar Ray Marimon worked a perfect ninth for the save.
Of note: Bethancourt showed off his arm in the fourth inning by gunning down Hernan Perez attempting to steal second… The Braves defense committed four errors on the day, though none resulted in any Detroit runs. Two of those miscues were charged Buck, the longtime catcher who got a rare start at first base… Jose Peraza pinch-ran for Terdoslavich in the top of the ninth… Speedy center fielder Mallex Smith, who is likely to open the season with Double-A Mississippi, grounded out to short in his lone at-bat.
Up next: Braves vs. Nationals – Friday, March 6, at 1:05 p.m.
LHP Alex Wood vs. RHP Jordan Zimmermann
Grant McAuley covers the Braves for Sports Radio 92-9 The Game. You can follow Grant on Twitter.