Spencer Strider struck out eight, but the Atlanta Braves came up short in a 7-2 loss to the Houston Astros Wednesday afternoon at CoolToday Park.
Strider’s day got off to an unfortunate start. Kennedy Corona reached on a slow roller that was just out of the reach of Strider for an infield single. Strider then struck out the next two hitters, but then just missed with a 3-2 pitch to Cesar Salazar for a walk. Bligh Madris followed with a soft single to center bringing home Corona to make it 1-0.
That would bring Brian Snitker to the mound who would bring in Jon Olczak to finish the inning. Olczak got Rylan Bannon to pop out to end the inning.
The Braves would utilize the re-entry rule and send Strider back out for the second inning. He struck out Luke Berryhill to start the inning, but then allowed a sharp double to Shay Whitcomb down the line in left field. However, he’d leave him stranded as the next two hitters flew out to end the inning.
The Astros added on against Strider in the third. Logan Cerny singled to begin the inning and then moved to third on a soft single by Corey Julks. Cerny scored on a sacrifice fly by Salazar to make it 2-0.
Strider returned for the fourth and looked dominant striking out the side.
Okay, why not? Spencer Strider's 8th strikeout.— Gaurav (@gvedak) March 15, 2023
3.2IP 5H 2ER 1BB 8K pic.twitter.com/gg0fYlTH0A
Strider came back out for the fifth and allowed a single to Alex McKenna. That would be the end of the line for Strider who was replaced by Jesse Chavez. McKenna was thrown out trying to steal by Sean Murphy and Chavez struck out a pair to bring the inning to a close.
Strider was victimized by some soft contact, but otherwise put together a solid outing. He allowed six hits, a walk and two runs to go along with eight strikeouts in just 3 2/3 innings.
The Braves got on the board in the fifth as Jordan Luplow began the inning with a double to left. Luplow moved to third on a fly out by Orlando Arcia and then scored on a sacrifice fly by Ozzie Albies to make it 2-1.
Kirby Yates entered in the sixth and struck out the first two hitters he faced before the wheels started to come off again. Jordan Brewer doubled down the line in left and then came home to score on another double by Chad Stevens to make it 3-1. Dauri Lorenzo followed with yet another bloop single that dropped in fair down the line in left that scored Stevens to make it 4-1. Yates was replaced by Dylan Lee who allowed a single to Marty Costes to bring home another run.
Atlanta got a run back in the home half of the sixth as Keshawn Organs scored on a ground out by Kevin Pillar.
Jake Elliott tossed a scoreless seventh for Atlanta and then came back out for the eighth. He struck out the first two hitters of the inning before McKenna reached on an error by third Ogans at third base. Costes followed with a single and then Zach Daniels brought them both home with a double to left to make it 7-2. Matt Swarmer replaced Elliott and allowed a single to Madris to bring home another run.
Atlanta added their final run in the eighth. Ryan Casteel singled and later moved to third on a hit by Greyson Jenista. Casteel came in to score on a wild pitch to make it 8-3.
The Braves will make the trip to Tampa Thursday where they will take on the Rays at Tropicana Field. Charlie Morton is scheduled to make his third appearance of the spring for Atlanta.