ATLANTA – Charlie Morton allowed only two hits while pitching into the sixth inning in his return from a broken leg, Travis d'Arnaud drove in three runs and the Atlanta Braves held off the Cincinnati Reds 7-6 Friday night.
Morton (1-0) was in top form after suffering a broken right leg when struck by a comebacker in Game 1 of the Braves’ World Series win over Houston.
The 38-year-old righty retired the first 12 batters and allowed two runs with five strikeouts with one walk in 5 1/3 innings.
“I honestly didn’t even think about the leg,” Morton said.
Asked to hold a 7-3 lead, new Braves closer Kenley Jansen gave up three ninth-inning runs in his Atlanta debut.
Jansen walked Joey Votto and gave up a single to Tyler Stephenson to open the inning. With two outs, Kyle Farmer hit an RBI single and Jake Fraley had a two-run single before Jansen retired Jonathan India on a flyball.
“He's a big horse that just never stops pitching,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said of Jansen's ability to escape the trouble in his 30-pitch inning.
“I've seen him get in those jams before, playing against him. These relievers, it was a limited spring for them, too. They really haven't gotten the work that they normally would in a regular year with an extended spring training. ... I'm glad we won the game. It wasn't all that bad for him to go out there and throw that many pitches, really," he said.
D'Arnaud had two hits, including a two-run single in Atlanta’s five-run third inning. Matt Olson had three hits.
The Braves took advantage of seven walks by Reds pitchers.
Reds rookie Reiver Sanmartin (0-1) lasted only 2 1/3 innings, and his five walks led to his early exit. Sanmartin allowed five runs on four hits, including a run-scoring double by Adam Duvall in Atlanta's big third inning.
Jeff Hoffman, who replaced Sanmartin, allowed d'Arnaud's two-run single and a run-scoring single by Orlando Arcia.
Morton threw four perfect innings before Votto led off the fifth with a single up the middle. Nick Senzel doubled and Mike Moustakas had a sacrifice fly.
“He’s a guy that’s been around, most of our hitters have faced him and he just seems to continue to do what he does and get people out,” Reds manager David Bell said.
“He’s got great stuff, he has the experience. He made it tough on us through the first five innings," he said.
Reds: Bell said LHP Mike Minor (left shoulder soreness) “felt great” while throwing 35 pitches in a simulated game. Minor's next step could be a minor league rehab assignment unless he first throws another simulated game next week. ... RHPs Daniel Duarte and Alexis Diaz made their major league debuts, each pitching a scoreless inning.
Braves: LHP Tucker Davidson may be the most likely candidate to serve as the sixth starter in the rotation on Tuesday against Washington. Snitker said “we plan on slotting someone in” but hasn't named the starter.
RAISE THE BANNER
The Braves continued to celebrate their first championship since 1995. A World Series banner was raised in center field before the game. Braves players and coaches will be presented their World Series rings before Saturday night’s game.
LISTEN TO THE UMP
For the first time at Truist Park, an umpire announced a replay review decision to fans. Following a review of the play, crew chief Jerry Layne announced Senzel made a catch of Ozzie Albies’ second-inning liner in center field.
Braves RHP Kyle Wright, who carries an ugly 6.56 ERA in his first 21 regular-season games, including 14 starts, over four seasons will face Reds RHP Vladimir Gutierrez (9-6, 4.74 ERA in 2021) in Saturday night's third game of the four-game series.
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