The Braves blanked the Rays by a 2-0 score on a cloudy Thursday afternoon in North Port. Both runs came courtesy of solo homers. First, Ronald Acuña Jr. tagged Collin McHugh for a massive dinger and gave his swagger a workout:
The following frame, Michael Harris followed suit by socking a low liner into the perfect spot: just over the fence, but just inside the foul pole:
Michael "Left-Handed Acuña" Harris (via u/HitchOnAHearse). pic.twitter.com/uTPFk4fxXV— Baseball GIFs (@gifs_baseball) March 11, 2021
The rest of the game was pretty uneventful. The Braves threatened a few times late, but Tyler Glasnow was eating them alive early, striking out seven in four innings while allowing just two baserunners, including the side in the first after Acuña reached on a soft tapper single. After Acuña homered in the sixth, Atlanta loaded the bases against McHugh (hit-by-pitch, Bryce Ball single, walk), but Travis d’Arnaud hit a grounder back up the middle for a really easy double play.
On the pitching side, Kyle Wright tossed four scoreless frames, though he dealt with some traffic on the bases. He got out of the first thanks to a double play ball, and worked around a one-out walk in the second. Wright had some temporary trouble throwing strikes in the third, leading to a long at-bat that ended in a hard groundball double into the right-field corner and then a walk, but battled back with a strikeout and a hard-hit fly to center that Cristian Pache flagged down. His fourth was much smoother, 1-2-3 with a strikeout.
The remainder of the Braves’ arms on the afternoon had little trouble getting their work in. Nate Jones threw a scoreless frame and allowed just an infield single. Tyler Matzek had a “Manfred’s Bane” inning (strikeout, walk, strikeout, strikeout), and then asked skipper Brian Snitker to go back out for a few more batters in the seventh, getting a flyout and then a groundout from Wander Franco to wrap up his day. That meant Patrick Weigel had to come out to pitch to just one batter, whom he struck out looking. Grant Dayton (one walk, one strikeout) and Luke Jackson (three up, three down) ended the game.
Acuña’s day ended at 2-for-3 with an infield single, the dinger, and a stolen base. No other Brave reached base more than once; Ozzie Albies probably wishes the day went better as he struck out twice and then wore a McHugh fastball in the back after Acuña homered.
The Braves head to Fort Myers tomorrow, where they’ll take on the Twins, with Huascar Ynoa apparently getting the top spot on the pitching ledger.