Freeman’s four-hit game pushes Braves past Rays

Freeman’s four-hit game pushes Braves past Rays

Freddie Freeman emerged from his slow start to go 4-for-5 with a home run, helping the Braves to a 7-4 win against the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday in Atlanta’s home opener.

Freeman entered the game hitting only .143 with one RBI, and he was coming off a four-strikeout outing. He responded with the 14th four-hit game of his career and first since March 30, 2019, at Philadelphia. Freeman added three RBIs.

The Braves, who overcame a 4-2 deficit, ended a two-game losing streak and broke Tampa Bay’s four-game winning streak. It was the fourth straight season the Braves have won their home opener.

Darren O’Day (1-0) was credited with the win despite being charged with a blown save in his two-third-of-an-inning performance. Mark Melancon worked a perfect ninth to pick up a save in his season debut.

The losing pitcher was Oliver Drake (0-1), who allowed one run on two hits and one walk with one strikeout in two-thirds of an inning.

Neither starting pitcher figured in the decision. Tampa Bay’s Charlie Morton struck out seven in five innings, allowing two runs on six hits and one walk. Atlanta’s Mike Soroka allowed three runs, two earned, on four hits and three walks with five strikeouts.

The Braves broke in front in the third inning when Freeman hit his first home run, a two-run shot to right-center field.

Tampa Bay cut the deficit to 2-1 with an unearned run in the fifth inning. Willy Adames lined to two-out single to right field and Mike Zunino walked. Adames took third on a wild pitch and scored when catcher Travis d’Arnaud threw the ball away trying to erase Adames at third.

The Rays took a 4-2 lead with three runs in the sixth to chase Soroka. Kevin Kiermaier drove in the first run with a single, and Hunter Renfroe knocked in two more with a base hit.

Atlanta answered with three in the bottom of the sixth to regain the lead. The Braves scored on an RBI double by Dansby Swanson and run-scoring singles from Ozzie Albies and Freeman.

The Braves scored two more times in the seventh. d’Arnaud drove in the first on a sacrifice fly, and Johan Camargo came around to score on a throwing error by shortstop Adames.

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