Charlie Morton was solid in his spring debut and Ian Anderson bounced back with a good performance, but a late lead slipped away in the ninth as the Atlanta Braves fell to the New York Yankees, 10-6.
Morton looked crisp in his first inning of work and showed good movement with his curveball. He fell behind in the count to Oswaldo Cabrera, who took him deep for a solo shot to right. Morton recovered and struck out Giancarlo Stanton to end the inning.
The Braves answered right back against Carlos Rodon, who was also making his spring debut. Ronald Acuña Jr. reached on an infield single and then stole second. Matt Olson then brought him home with his third home run of the spring to put Atlanta in front 2-1.
Morton retired the side in order in the second with three ground outs and then came back out for the third. He got Jake Bauers to ground out and then struck out Billy McKinney. He was then replaced by Jon Olczak who got Harrison Bader to fly out to end the inning.
It was a good debut for Morton who allowed just the homer over 2 2/3 innings. He struck out two and didn’t walk anyone.
The Braves got back to work against Rodon in the third. Acuña got things started with a double to left and then came around to score on a single by Olson to make it 3-1. Austin Riley followed with his second homer in as many days to extend the lead to 5-1.
Travis d’Arnaud followed with a single of his own and then moved up to second on a walk by Michael Harris. That would be the end of the line for Rodon who didn’t retire a batter in the third and would exit having allowed six hits and five runs in 2+ innings.
Ian Anderson took over on the mound in the fourth for Atlanta and needed a good outing after struggling in his debut. He retired the side in order in the fourth including back-to-back strikeouts of Peraza and Stanton. He came back out for the fifth and added two more strikeouts before walking Kyle Higashioka. Anderson then came back and struck out Jake Bauers to end the inning.
Anderson came back out for the sixth and his defense behind him let him down. Billy McKinney led off the inning with a single and then moved up to second on an error by right fielder Justin Dean. Anderson then bounced one in the dirt to Bader that Sean Murphy blocked. McKinney ventured too far off second, but Murphy’s throw down sailed into center field and alluded Eli White. McKinney came all the way around to score on the play to make it 5-2.
Anderson walked who immediately stole second. He then got Gleyber Torres to pop out for the first out and would then give way to Matt Swarmer who struck out Cabrera and Stanton to strand the runner. Anderson had much better results than in his debut. He allowed one hit, one unearned run, two walks and struck out five in 2 1/3 innings.
Kirby Yates worked a perfect seventh. Lucas Luetge issued a leadoff walk in the eighth, but retired the next three hitters in order. Atlanta added an insurance run in the eighth while Eli White lifted a long fly to center that Yankees outfielder Jasson Dominguez lost in the sun for a triple. He came in to score on an infield single by Cad Bunnell to make it 6-2.
Things imploded for Atlanta in the ninth. Alan Rangel walked the first two hitters he faced and then served up a three-run home run to Jamie Westbrook to cut the lead to 6-5. Rangel got Michael Hermosillo to fly out for the first out and was then replaced by Nolan Kingham. Kingham walked Carlos Narvaez and then allowed a single to Andres Chaparro. Things only got worse from there as Kingham served up a three run home run to Dominguez to put the Yankees in front 8-6. A two-run single by Jesus Bastidas extended New York’s lead to 10-6.
Rangel and Kingham combined to retire one batter, allowed five hits, eight runs and issued four walks.
The Braves will enjoy their first off day of the spring Monday. They will return to action Tuesday against the Red Sox in their first night game of the Grapefruit League season.