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Braves survive rally, open title defense with win over Reds

Apr 8, 2022; Cumberland, Georgia, USA; Cincinnati Reds second baseman Jonathan India (6) turns a double play over top of Atlanta Braves third baseman Austin Riley (27) during the first inning at Truist Park. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The defending World Series champions recovered from their Opening Night flop but only before a major scare from the Cincinnati Reds.

Charlie Morton retired the first 12 batters he faced and Travis d’Arnaud singled twice and drove in three runs as the Atlanta Braves hung on to edge the visiting Cincinnati Reds 7-6 Friday night. The Braves raced out to a 7-0 lead after three innings.

Morton (1-0) was perfect over the first four innings and allowed two hits and two runs over 5 1/3 innings, walking one and striking out five.

Joey Votto, who like Morton was drafted in 2002, singled cleanly up the middle on Morton’s first pitch of the fifth inning to end any hopes of a history-making night.

Newly acquired closer Kenley Jansen was very shaky in his Braves debut in the ninth, barely closing out Atlanta’s first win of 2022. In the non-save situation, Jansen allowed three hits, three runs, and walked a batter before Jonathan India flew out to center to end the game.

The Reds were playing catch-up all night because starter Reiver Sanmartin (0-1) struggled badly with control.

Making just his third major league start after only four innings of work in spring training, Sanmartin (0-1) walked five batters, allowed four hits and five runs in suffering his first career loss. Sanmartin escaped the first inning without damage when Marcell Ozuna grounded into an inning-ending double play.

Sanmartin was not as fortunate in the second inning as two of the three batters he walked in the inning came around to score. d’Arnaud singled home one run and Orlando Arcia plated another with a sacrifice fly.

Sanmartin walked Austin Riley to open the third. Ozuna singled and Adam Duvall doubled home Riley to make it 3-0.

The Braves immediately added on against reliever Jeff Hoffman, as d’Arnaud singled home Ozuna and Duvall for a 5-0 lead. Arcia added an RBI single and Ozzie Albies added an RBI fielder’s choice to cap the five-run outburst and put Atlanta up, 7-0.

The Reds broke up the shutout bid in the fifth when Mike Moustakas drove home Votto with a sacrifice fly.

The Reds drove Morton from the game in the sixth when Jake Fraley worked a leadoff walk. Following a groundout from India, Braves manager Brian Snitker pulled Morton from the game for reliever A.J. Minter.

–Field Level Media