William Contreras had three RBIs while the pitching staff was largely good if a bit uneven at times as the Braves got their first spring win with a 5-3 victory over the Boston Red Sox.
Huascar Ynoa got the start for the Braves and made quick work of the Red Sox in the first inning with a pair of strikeouts. His fastball looked quite good. In the second inning, Ynoa would walk Bobby Dalbec, but proceed to strike out the next two batters before his second walk of the inning ended his outing. Kurt Hoekstra would then come on in relief and walk the first batter he faced to load the bases and then walk the ninth hole hitter to give the Red Sox their first run of the game before finally recording the third out.
Touki Toussaint had himself quite the relief outing in the third inning as he struck out the side. He needs a strong spring to secure a roster spot, but there is no denying that he has the talent to get there. The fourth inning was less kind as he gave up a double and pair of walks to load the bases before an RBI groundout cut the Braves lead to 4-2 before getting another two outs before any more damage could be done.
AJ Minter then got the nod and thanks to some decent hitting and some less than inspiring fielding (possibly because of the sun), three straight one out singles loaded the bases. Thankfully, a double play got him out of the fifth with no real damage done. Tyler Matzek took the mound in the bottom of the sixth and did what he did all of the 2020 season...dominate. The Red Sox went down in order including a strikeout.
Finally, we had Jasseel de la Cruz take the mound and he saw the bases get loaded with no out in a hurry with a double and pair of walks. Boston would get a run on a double play, but an inning ending strike out let him escape the inning and close out the Braves’ win.
Ronald Acuna Jr. led off the game with a rope of a double to left and a couple batters later after an Ozzie Albies walk, one of the Braves’ newest additions, Jake Lamb, sent him home with an RBI single. Acuna was flying home and it was pretty clear that he had no intention of being denied and third base coach Ron Washington had no intention of stopping him. Johan Camargo would then strike out before a Phillip Ervin single loaded the bases for William Contreras who promptly walked to make it a 2-0 lead. It was here where instead of seeing what Cristian Pache could do with the bases loaded against Garrett Richards, instead the inning was sort of ended thanks to a new rule this spring.
Contreras draws a bases-loaded walk to push lead to 2-0 in first, and #Braves won't add anymore because they've "rolled" the inning with just one out, something managers can do this year if they're controlling pitch counts, etc.— David O'Brien (@DOBrienATL) March 1, 2021
Pache would then lead off the second inning with one on and proceed to get robbed of a homer and the Braves went down quietly after that. Fwiw, that would have been an opposite field homer for Pache in a lot of other parks. The third inning would feature Ozzie reaching second base with one out on what was initially ruled an error. Camargo and Ervin would then put up back to back walks to load the bases where William Contreras connected for a two run single to make it a 4-1 Braves lead. The inning was rolled again with Pache on deck again.
After walks from Camargo and Phillips loaded the bases, Contreras two-run single through left side pushes #Braves lead to 4-1, and again Red Sox are rolling the inning. This time with two out.— David O'Brien (@DOBrienATL) March 1, 2021
Toussaint to start third inning for ATL, which leads 4-1.
The sixth inning saw Braden Shewmake get on the board with a single and a stolen base with two outs, but the Braves went quietly beyond that. The seventh inning saw the Braves add a run thanks to some suspect fielding (Boston had five errors on the day....ya spring training!).