Spring Training: Braves fall to Pirates, 4-2 (2015)
The Braves came up short in a 4-2 loss to the Pirates on Sunday afternoon. Jung Ho Kang belted a two-run homer in the ninth to send Pittsburgh to victory.
At the plate: Chris Johnson had two hits, including a solo-homer in the sixth inning that stood as everything the offense could muster over the first seven innings. After a slow start, he has collected eight hits in his last twelve at-bats and is hitting .286 on the spring. Johnson’s day notwithstanding, the Pirates used Stolmy Pimentel and five relievers combined to hold the Braves to just three hits in total. Atlanta’s only other run, and only other hit for that matter, came on a squeeze but from Phil Gosselin in the eighth which plated Todd Cunningham and briefly tied the game, 2-2.
On the mound: Shelby Miller put together a strong six inning effort, allowing just one run on one hit and one walk while striking out four. He allowed a third inning run, when Austin Meadows tripled and scored on a sacrifice fly from Pedro Florimon. Atlanta’s bullpen allowed the other three runs, which were all courtesy of Jung Ho Kang. He lined an RBI-single in the seventh against Jason Grilli and belted a two-run homer off Michael Kohn (1-1) in the ninth. Sandwiched in between, Jim Johnson tossed a scoreless eighth inning.
Of note: The Braves released left-handed reliever James Russell on Sunday morning. He had been hit hard this spring, allowing 10 runs in 7-2/3 innings over three appearances. The 29-year-old was acquired from the Cubs last season, but has struggled against lefty hitters, who batted .284 with a .351 OBP in 2014. Russell avoided arbitration with Atlanta over the winter and agreed to a one-year, $2.4 million contract. The move will saved the Braves roughly 75 percent of that according to Mark Bowman of MLB.com.
Up next: Braves @ Tigers — Monday, March 30 at 1:05 p.m.
RHP Mike Foltynewicz vs. RHP Alfredo Simon
Grant McAuley covers the Braves for Sports Radio 92-9 The Game. Follow Grant on Twitter.