Bud Norris made a relatively successful spring training start today, as he went three innings and gave up one run in his stint for the Braves against the Marlins. That one run that Norris gave up was only one of two that the Marlins would get today, as the Braves were able to pick up a 5-2 victory over the Marlins.
Norris made it through the first two innings with little-to-no problems, as he pitched a perfect one-two-three inning in the first and he nearly did the same in the second inning. A double by Jeff Mathis ended a streak of 11 batters retired all spring so far by Bud Norris, but Norris was still able to make it through the second inning unscathed. Bud finally gave up a run in his final inning of work today, but this happened after he managed to send Ichiro Suzuki back to the dugout via pickoff at first base. All in all, it was a decent day of work for Norris (3 IP, 4 H, 3 Ks, 1 BB, 1 ER) as he continues to consolidate his presumptive role in the Braves' starting rotation.
Meanwhile, Lucas Sims made his second appearance of the spring in this game, and he had a much better outing than his first appearance. Sims came on for the sixth inning, and once he exited after the end of the seventh inning, he tallied four strikeouts and only gave up one hit and a walk. His efforts helped the Braves hold on to a slim one-run lead at this point in the game, so it was nice to see him bounce back from a rough spring debut last week.
The slim lead that the Braves had came courtesy of a two-run homer in the fourth inning from Jeff Francoeur. Frenchy was able to lift a ball from Justin Nicolino into the wind and over the left field fence for a homer that gave the Braves a lead that they wouldn't relinquish. Francoeur has made a creditable start to spring for the Braves, and he's definitely in the running to make the major league squad if this keeps up.
The #Braves don't currently have an obvious roster spot for Francoeur or Swisher. But if one opens, Frenchy would get the nod.— Mark Bowman (@mlbbowman) March 10, 2016
The other player who scored on Jeff Francoeur's homer was Hector Olivera. Olivera led off the fourth inning with a double, which was his first extra-base hit of spring. The double was his 10th hit overall this spring, which actually leads the Braves in that category so far. As long as this translates to regular season production and he continues to avoid being horrible in left field, then the Braves will surely be pleased with Olivera's progress this spring.
Atlanta added two more runs in the top of the ninth to give themselves some breathing room. Emilio Bonifacio hit a triple that scored Reid Brignac, and then Chase d'Arnaud hit a double to bring in Bonifacio, and those two extra base hits made it 5-2 Braves at that point.
In other news, the exciting trio of Dansby Swanson, Mallex Smith, and Ozhaino Albies had a bit of a lowkey day. Swanson had a walk and a strikeout in his two plate appearances, Smith came on as a pinch-runner in the 6th but was picked off, but Ozzie and Swanson did make a connection on a double play in the 9th inning, so there was yet another hopeful flash of things to come in the future in that regard.
Overall, it was a pretty good day of work for the Braves. Spring training wins definitely don't mean as much as wins from April-October, but they're still enjoyable and I don't think that anybody will complain about too many of the events that occurred today on the diamond for Atlanta.