Elder and Adrianza shine, bullpen collapses in Braves' 11-8 loss to Astros
By Eric Cole
Bryce Elder shined on the mound for the Atlanta Braves and the offense backed him up with big games from Ehire Adrianza and Marcell Ozuna. Unfortunately, the spring training fodder portion of the Braves' bullpen collapsed spectacularly as Atlanta fell to Houston by the score of 11-8.
Bryce Elder got the start for the Braves against Houston and he was just flat out excellent. In his three innings of work, he gave up no runs on one hit with no walks and three strikeouts. While we are still early on in spring training, with Mike Soroka still on the mend and Ian Anderson's early struggles, Bryce may be the frontrunner for the fifth spot in the Braves' rotation especially if the Braves are wanting to avoid options that aren't on the 40 man roster like Dylan Dodd right out of the gate.
It was all Braves through the first few innings in this one. Forrest Wall reached on an error in the first, promptly stole second base, and then was driven home by an RBI single off the bat of Ehire Adrianza. Wall and Adrianza would strike again in the second inning as Wall doubled to bring home Magneuris Sierra and Adrianza proceeded to hit another RBI single to drive home Wall to give the Braves a 3-0 lead.
After not scoring in the third inning, the Braves' offense got right back to work in the fourth. Josh Fuentes hit his first homer of spring training to lead off the inning. After back to back strikeouts, Adrianza would draw a walk followed by a ground-rule double off the bat of Marcell Ozuna to put runners on second and third. Sam Hilliard would come through with a two-run double and just like that, the Braves were up 6-0 on the Astros.
After a pair of scoreless innings from Danny Young, the Braves offense got back to work in the sixth. After Magneuris led the inning off with a single and a stolen base, Ehire Adrianza hit yet another RBI single to push the lead to 7-0. Ozuna followed with a single to move Ehire to second where a timely error at third base allowed Adrianza to score and give the Braves another run.
Victor Vodnik entered the game for the Braves in the sixth and had a rough go of it. The first four batters his faced reached base and while he got to two outs and had limited the damage to two runs, he would then give up a two-run single and all of a sudden, it was an 8-4 game.
Things continue to go off the rails in the seventh with Coleman Huntley on the mound. After five batters, Huntley had recorded one out and the Astros had scored another run and that was it for Huntley. Grant Holmes came in and promptly had another run score off of him to make it an 8-6 game. A bases clearing double later and the Braves were trailing 9-8 and by the end of the inning, it was 10-8.
The Astros would add a run in the eighth inning to make it a three run deficit for the Braves. Down to their last three outs in the ninth, the Braves went quietly and took the unfortunate loss.