Spring Training: Braves fall to Nationals, 9-8 (2015)

The Atlanta Braves squared off with the Washington Nationals for the first of three times during the Grapefruit League season. It was a back and forth game that saw the Nats rally in the middle innings for an eventual 9-8 victory of Friday at Champion Stadium.

At the plate: Back at home and with Freddie Freeman back in the lineup, the Braves had their biggest offensive outburst of the young spring. Freeman finished 2-for-3 with a homer, three RBI and a pair of runs scored. Jonny Gomes collected two hits in three trips and drove in a run. Zoilo Almonte had the DH duties and finished 2-for-4 with a run scored. It was another good day for infielder Jace Peterson, who started at second and went 2-for-4 and scored two runs. Leading off again, Eric Young Jr. started in center field and was 0-for-2 with a walk and was hit by a pitch.

After Jordan Zimmermann worked a pair of scoreless frames, the Atlanta roughed up Taylor Jordan in the third inning. Pedro Ciriaco homered to get Atlanta on the board, while Freeman and Gomes each drove in runs to make it a 3-3 game. The Braves worked over Craig Stammen for five runs on eight hits in just 1-2/3 innings. Freeman was at it again in the fifth, belting a two-run homer. Ciriaco’s two-run double capped Atlanta’s scoring for the day, providing an 8-7 advantage that would slip away in the seventh.

On the mound: Alex Wood made his spring debut. He worked a 1-2-3 first, but ran into trouble in the second inning. Former Brave Dan Uggla singled with one out and scored on a two-run homer by Tyler Moore. Wood closed out the inning with a strikeout and a ground-out. His final line: 2 IP, 2H, 2ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 1 HR.

Jason Grilli came on to work the third inning. The Nationals stung him with three consecutive one-out singles to plate a run and make it a 3-0 game. Lefty Josh Outman worked a scoreless fourth, but no such luck for Juan Jaime in the fifth. The righty retired just two hitters, walked three and surrendered four runs on three hits, including a bases-clearing triple by Moore, who drove in five runs on the day.

After Michael Kohn supplied 1-1/3 innings of scoreless relief, Arodys Vizcaíno (0-1) struggled in the seventh. He allowed two runs on one hit, two walks and a costly wild pitch as the Nationals took a 9-8 lead. Young right-hander Tyrell Jenkins closed it out with two scoreless innings.

Of note: Uggla got the start at second base for Washington. He’s in camp on a minor league deal, trying to resuscitate his career. Uggla singled against Wood in the second inning and finished 1-for-2 with an RBI and a run scored… Top prospect Jose Peraza took over at second base in the seventh and grounded out in his only at-bat… Atlanta pitchers walked eight batters on the day, three of those came in to score and one occurred with the bases loaded… The Braves collected a spring-best 14 hits on the day and plated five two-out runs… Well-traveled lefty Rich Hill (1-0) restored order with 1-1/3 innings of shut-out relief to earn the win.

Up Next: Saturday, March 7, SPLIT SQUAD

  • Braves vs. Tigers (1:05 PM) — RHP Shelby Miller vs. RHP Justin Verlander
  • Braves @ Mets (1:10 PM) — RHP Mike Foltynewicz vs. RHP Matt Bowman



Grant McAuley covers the Braves for Sports Radio 92-9 The Game. Follow Grant on Twitter.

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