The Atlanta Braves played spoilers on Saturday night with a 5-3 win over the Detroit Tigers.
In Aaron Blair’s final start in a rough rookie season, the right-hander struck out 10 batters to get his second win of the year.
Blair lasted six innings, allowing just four hits and two earned runs on his way to his second win. It was a promising start for Blair, displaying an ability to generate swings and misses that he lacked throughout most of the season.
Despite an impressive resume at Turner Field, the Braves scored two quick runs on Jordan Zimmermann in his four innings of work. He fell to 9-7 on the year with the loss.
Just like Friday night, Ian Kinsler started the scoring off for the Tigers. Jarrod Saltalamacchia led off the third inning with a five-pitch walk. Zimmermann bunted him over to second to put Kinsler at the plate with two outs and a runner in scoring position. On a 1-0 curveball from Blair, Kinsler lined it to left field to bring around Saltalamacchia, giving the Tigers a 1-0 lead.
The Braves quickly answered in the bottom of the fourth inning. Adonis Garcia led off with a single to center field, and Freddie Freeman followed him with his 34th home run of the season on a 3-2 slider that he lifted over the right center field wall to give the Braves a 2-1 lead.
In the bottom of the sixth, Atlanta added one more insurance run to its one-run lead. Nick Markakis drove another Zimmermann slider over the wall on a 2-1 count to give Blair and the Braves a 3-1 lead through six innings. It was Markakis’ 13th homer of the season.
An old friend of Atlanta quickly answered Markakis’ solo home run in the top of the seventh inning. Leading off the inning, Justin Upton drove a 1-0 fastball from Blair over the left center field wall to cut the deficit back to one run.
Dansby Swanson got things started in the bottom half of the seventh with a single to left field. Mallex Smith followed with a bunt single to put runners on first and second with nobody out. Ender Inciarte executed a sacrifice bunt to put Swanson and Smith on second and third with Garcia at the plate. Garcia delivered with a groundball single up the middle to score both Swanson and Smith, putting the Braves ahead, 5-2.
Jim Johnson came in the ninth inning to close things down. Detroit threatened quickly with a Nick Castellanos double. Castellanos moved to third base on a Saltalamacchia fly out to right field, and he scored on Jose Iglesias’ single to cut the deficit to two runs. With two outs and the tying run at the plate, Victor Martinez grounded out to Jace Peterson to give the Braves the victory.