Spring Training: Braves walk-off against Orioles, 6-5 (2015)
The Atlanta Braves grabbed a 6-5 walk-off win over the Baltimore Orioles on Thursday night.
At the plate: The Braves piled up 14-hits in this one, including multi-hit games from a pair of outfielders in need of one for different reasons. Nick Markakis picked up two-hits, his first since his debut back on March 23. The new Atlanta right fielder played in his first game against his old team, after spending the first nine years of his career with Baltimore.
Meanwhile, Joe Benson was officially extended a non-roster invite to big league camp earlier in the day. He responded by going 4-for-5 with the walk-off, RBI-single that sent Atlanta to a 6-5 victory. Suffice it to say, that bolstered his efforts to make the club as a reserve. The Braves launched their game-winning rally against T.J. McFarland (1-1), when Kelly Johnson singled and was chased to third on a double by Eric Young Jr. A wild pitch allowed Johnson to score and set the stage for Benson’s walk-off base hit.
Johnson’s single pushed his spring training line to .300/.426/.540 in 61 plate appearances, giving him an extremely strong cast to secure one of the open spots on the Braves bench. As for the regulars, Freddie Freeman was 1-for-4 and Andrelton Simmons went 1-for-3, both collecting RBI-singles. Young crossed the plate two more times and his now tied for the Grapefruit League lead with 15 runs scored. His seven stolen bases are tied with Marlins speedster Dee Gordon for the most in baseball this spring.
On the mound: Alex Wood capped his spring training with a fine outing. The lefty allowed just one run on six hits while striking out four men. Wood is slated to start the second game of the regular season against the Marlins on Tuesday. The going was not as nice for Chien-Ming Wang, who surrendered four runs – three earned – on five hits in just 1-1/3 innings of work. Brady Feigl finished the seventh inning and Jason Grilli followed with scoreless eighth. New left-hander Andrew McKirahan (1-1) debuted with a perfect ninth, striking out two men and earning the win. The Braves just added McKirahan on a waiver claim from the Miami Marlins.
Of note: After the game, the Braves announced they traded for Diamondbacks right-hander Trevor Cahill [Full Story]… Righty reliever Arodys Vizcaino was suspended for 80-games for violating the league’s performance enhancing drugs policy. Vizcaino, 24, tested positive for stanozolol, which is commonly referred to as winstrol and is a synthetic anabolic steroid. He had already been optioned to Triple-A Gwinnett and will serve his suspension there. The Braves reacquired Vizcaino from the Cubs over the winter in a trade that sent second baseman Tommy La Stella to Chicago.
Up next: Braves vs. Orioles — Friday, April 3 at 6:05 p.m.
Grant McAuley covers the Braves for Sports Radio 92-9 The Game. Follow Grant on Twitter.