Two runs were all the Atlanta Braves needed, as they defeated the Tampa Bay Rays, 2-1 at Truist Field in Atlanta Thursday night.
Max Fried was outstanding in limiting the Rays to only three hits, while Ryan Yarbrough also pitched well, though he ended up being the tough-luck losing pitcher.
A diving catch and a base running blunder by Kevin Kiermaier highlighted a frustrating ninth inning for the Rays, whose record dropped to 4-3 in this crazy 2020 shortened season.
Fried retired the first 14 hitters he faced, until allowing a seeing-eye single to Mike Brosseau with two out in the fifth.
The only run Fried allowed occurred in the seventh, after a two-out double to Willy Adames, who was driven home by Ji-Man Choi, pinch hitting for Brosseau, off Braves reliever Luke Jackson.
Yarbrough was almost as stingy as Fried, allowing two runs in the second on the only hits he gave up, singles by Marcell Ozuna and an RBI single by Dansby Swanson. Adam Duvall was hit by a Yarbrough pitch in between those singles. Duvall came around to score on a sacrifice fly by Austin Riley, which proved to be the winning run.
In the top of the ninth, Duvall made a stellar sliding catch in left field on a sinking line drive off the bat of Jose Martinez. Brandon Lowe followed with a soft line single to right, and Rays manager Kevin Cash wanted speed on the base paths, and called for Kiermaier to pinch run. Kiermaier took off on a called strike to Hunter Renfroe, and was confused upon approaching second base and didn’t slide. The throw from Braves catcher Tyler Flowers nailed Kiermaier by a literal step.
After the game, Kiermaier blamed himself, assuming Renfroe fouled the ball off. “Simple answer, I did what you can’t do,” Kiermaier said.
Renfroe struck out to end the game.
The Rays now move onto Baltimore to face the Orioles for a weekend series. Blake Snell faces off against former Ray Alex Cobb. Game time is 7:35 p.m., and you can hear all the action starting at 6:30 with Steve Carney and The Inside Pitch on 95.3 WDAE.
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