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The Braves Bomb At Tampa Bay Yet Again, Fall 5-2

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Loaded bases and poor pitching were once again the story for the Atlanta Braves (2-3) against the Tampa Bay Rays (4-1) at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla, where they would load the bases in the bottom of the third and seal their fate.

Yonny Chirinos started on the mound for the Rays, who was 9-5 with a 3.85 ERA through 26 games last season. Kyle Wright got his first start of the season coming up off an 11-4 season at Gwinnett, with a 4.17 ERA.

Wright had an excellent start to end the first, striking out Choi Ji-Man and Brandon Lowe. Yandy Diaz made contact, but the ball was easily brought in by Ronald Acuna Jr. to end the first-inning scoreless.

The Rays had an impressive double play in the top of the second, after Choi challenged the umpire’s call on whether Matt Adams was safe at first. The third inning is when this game started heating up though. Choi struggled to get a hand on the ball, which allowed Ender Inciarte to make it to first safely.

Next, came the first major league at-bat for Braves catcher, Alex Jackson, who smashed the ball down the third base line for a double play.  Chirinos walked Acuna in the top of the third to load the bases. However, he struck out the next two batters.

Marcell Ozuna came up next and cracked one between second and third to send Inciarte home and give the Braves a 1-0 lead. Chirinos dug himself out of the hole though, ending the top of the third with the Braves leading 1-0.

However, this is where things went wrong for Wright, after a seemingly perfect start. Kevin Kiermaier was able to get a single, then steal second in the bottom of the third, despite a perfect throw from Jackson. Immediately after this, Wright would walk two batters to load the bases, allowing Yoshi Tsutsugo to crush the ball to right field and give the Rays a 2-1 lead.

The next batter Wright faced was Jose Martinez, who hit the ball to left field, giving the Rays the 3-1 lead after Ozuna came up short, playing the ball off of his shin. Joey Wendle  hit one between first and second for Acuna  to grab, but not before the Rays scored one more to extend their lead to three.

After giving up four runs in the bottom of the third, Wright’s night was over. He was replaced by Josh Tomlin, who sent one into the dirt on his third pitch, allowing Martinez to run home and give the Rays the 5-1 lead.

The Braves failed to have any offensive production in the top of the fourth, as Chirinos came out with a vengeance after the Rays got the lead back. Tomlin held the Rays to a scoreless fourth, with the Rays still leading 5-1.

Chirinos was replaced by Peter Fairbanks in the top of the fifth, who came out slinging heat, striking out two Braves in the top of the inning, with the Rays still leading 5-1. Tomlin struck out Tsutsugo on a nasty inside cutter, with Martinez being next on deck with a man on first. However, Tomlin would end the fifth with three strikeouts, with the Rays leading 5-1.

In the top of the sixth, Fairbanks was replaced by Ryan Thompson, who had an easy inning due to great defense from his teammates and a strikeout by Swanson, with the Rays still leading by four.  Luke Jackson would come in for the Braves to replace Tomlin for the night and managed to keep the Rays at bay, with Tampa Bay leading 5-1.

Thompson walked Camargo and Inciarte was able to get a hold of one. He was assisted by Choi overthrowing the ball to second, giving Camargo a chance to get to second and himself a chance to get to first. Jackson cracked one to the shortstop, giving the Rays a double play to get rid of runners on first and second.

Thomspon would go on to walk Acuna and be replaced by Nick Anderson. Ozzie Albies would send one to right field, sending Camargo home. Freddie Freeman would strikeout to end the inning, with the Rays still leading 5-2.

Tyler Matzek would replace Jackson in the bottom of the seventh, who would strikeout Choi to start the inning and have an easy inning with the Rays up 5-2. Thompson would be replaced by former Brave, Chaz Roe, who would have an easy inning to help the Rays retain their 5-2 lead.

The Braves were looking for a lefty on lefty matchup between Matzek and Tsutsugo, but Tsutsugo singled to right field and that ended the night for Matzek, as he would be replaced by Shane Greene.

Greene would snag three outs from four pitches, to give the Braves their final chance to come back in the top of the ninth inning. Oliver Drake would relieve Roe of his duties for the night, who had three easy outs, with the final score being 5-2, Rays.

The Braves are set to face the Rays again Wednesday at Truist Park, in Atlanta at 7:10 p.m. ET.

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