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Braves’ bullpen struggles in loss to Tigers

Atlanta’s bullpen struggled Saturday in a spring loss to Detroit.

MLB: Spring Training-Toronto Blue Jays at Atlanta Braves Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Braves watched a 5-0 lead slip away in a XXXX loss to the Detroit Tigers.

Charlie Morton walked Tigers leadoff man Zack Short to start the game, but nothing else in a scoreless first. Austin Meadows reached to start the second on an error by second baseman Austin Meadows. Morton then walked Parker Meadows, but got Donny Sands to bounce into a double play. He then issued another walk to Justyn-Henry Malloy, but got Andrew Lipcius to ground out to end the inning.

Ozzie Albies put the Braves on the board in the second inning. Matt Manning retired Braden Shewmake and Eli White to start the inning, but then issued back-to-back walks to Forrest Wall and Justin Dean. Albies made him pay with a long home run to right to make it 3-0.

Morton came back out for the third and allowed a single to Short, but then struck out Cesar Hernandez and Greene. He would then give way to Jon Olczak who hit Spencer Torkelson to put runners at first and second. Both runners moved up on a wild pitch, but Olczak struck out Austin Meadows to end the inning.

The Braves put two more runs on the board in the third. Marcell Ozuna reached on a two-out single and then scored all the way from first on a double by Braden Shewmake. White followed with a single to right to score Shewmake and extend the lead to 5-0.

Raisel Iglesias entered in the fourth and struggled. Parker Meadows got thing started with a monstrous home run to right to make it 5-1. After a ground out, Malloy singled and then scored on a double by Lipcius to make it 5-2.

The Tigers drew closer against A.J. Minter in the fifth. Riley Greene got the inning started with a single to left field and then advanced to second on a walk by Torkelson. Austin Meadows followed with a single to center that scored Greene to make it 5-3. Parker Meadows brought another run home with a soft single to left to cut the lead to 5-4. Minter struck out Donny Sands and was then replaced by Lucas Luetge who struck out Malloy and Lipcius to avoid anymore damage.

Detroit took the lead in the sixth as Luetge came back out to start the inning. He sandwiched a pair of outs around a single by Hernandez. Torkelson followed with another single and then Austin Meadows brought home both runners with a hit to right to put Detroit in from 6-5. Jake McSteen replaced Luetge on the mound and served up a two-run shot to Parker Meadows to make it 8-5.

Atlanta struck back in the bottom half of the inning as Eli White doubled and then came around to score on another double by Forrest Wall. Orlando Arcia brought home Wall with a single to left to make it 8-7.

The Braves’ bullpen continued to struggle in the seventh. Joe Jimenez took over on the mound and retired the first two hitters he faced, but then ran into trouble. Corey Joyce doubled and then came around to score on a ground-rule double by Andrew Navigato. Jimenez then walked Dom Johnson and would give way to Kyle Wilcox. Jake Helton followed with a single to left that scored Navigato to extend the deficit to 10-7.

The Tigers blew the game wide open in the eighth scoring six times against Kyle Wilcox and Domingo Gonzalez.

It was not a good day for Atlanta’s bullpen as several of their top options struggled. Iglesias, Minter, Luetge and Jimenez combined allowed 11 hits and nine runs in just 3 1/3 innings. White finished with two hits in the game and drove in another run. Wall was 1-for-2 with a walk, scored two runs and also stole a base.

Atlanta will be back in action Sunday against Pittsburgh with Jared Shuster scheduled to get the start.

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