The Atlanta Braves used a five-run fifth inning to beat the Washington Nationals 9-5 on Tuesday. It was the first game between the two National League East favorites entering the 2013 season. While this game doesn’t count, both teams get a chance to look at the new teams.
Jordan Parraz opened the fifth inning with a lead-off homer to left field. Following an Evan Gattis double, Freddie Freeman knocked him in for the second run with an RBI single. Juan Francisco helped his case in the third base competition with an RBI single in the inning and finished the day 2-3. Outfielder Todd Cunningham recorded an RBI with a bases loaded walk and Joey Terdoslavich had a sacrifice fly to cap off the fifth inning scoring.
The Braves did most of their damage off Nationals reliever Ryan Perry, but got a few runs off starter Ross Detwiler. Justin Upton and B.J. Upton each had RBI singles to left field to get the Braves on the board in the third inning.
The Braves got behind early as starter Mike Minor had some issues in the first inning. The shaky first included two National runs on three hits, two walks and a wild pitch. Minor bounced back in the second inning, retiring the side in order and recording two strikeouts. Walks were a big factor in Minor’s struggles last season and something he has to continue to eliminate in his starts.
The Nationals managed three runs off the Braves’ bullpen, which didn’t include any of the locks or leaders to make the Braves 25-man roster. Reliever David Carpenter rebounded from an abysmal first outing to pitch a scoreless fourth inning that included a strikeout. Cory Rasmus followed Minor and struck out two in his lone inning of work.
Strikeout Watch: The Braves struck out seven times on Tuesday, bringing the spring training total to 32.
Third Base Battle: Francisco started and went 2-3, including an RBI single, run and strikeout. Chris Johnson did not play.
Upton Brothers: Both brothers finished with the same stat line: 1-2 with an RBI single. Justin raised his average to .300 while B.J. is now at .500.
Up Next: The Braves play the Detroit Tigers at 1:05 p.m. on Wednesday. Tim Hudson is in line to start.