The second inning supplied just the tune up the Braves sought Monday.
Five runs, via three hits and two walks, came across in the frame as the Braves beat up on old foe Tanner Roark, leading to an 8-5 win over the Reds in the team’s first of two exhibition games at SunTrust Park.
After a quiet first inning shrouded by a storm, the skies cleared for the Braves’ bats. Ronald Acuna and Nick Markakis led off the second with walks. Ozzie Albies singled home Acuna before Tyler Flowers endured his seemingly scheduled hit-by-pitch.
An out later, Dansby Swanson reached on a fielder’s choice that scored Albies. Following Ender Inciarte’s sacrifice fly, Josh Donaldson laced his first hit at SunTrust Park — a harrod-contact double into left-center — that scored the fifth run.
Donaldson’s knock came hours after his latest one-liner that’s proliferated across social media. When a television reported asked Donaldson what he could specifically bring to the Braves, he responded: “Have you ever seen the back of my baseball card?”
The former MVP and his new team could be quite a dangerous offense. Even if it comes in an inning-spurt, as it did Monday, that might be enough some nights.
“He played two nine-inning games back-to-back,” manager Brian Snitker said of Donaldson. “He’ll have (Tuesday) off and be ready to go Thursday.”
Roark was chased after 1-2/3 inning. The weather made for suboptimal conditions, yes, but the Braves bats were his bigger problem. The team hit, exhibited patience, took advantage of an error and previewed its speed on the bases.
Exhibition games are just that, but the Braves won’t complain about getting results at this stage. Other forms of offensive output later in the game: Flowers’ and newcomer Matt Joyce’s sacrifice flies, and Dansby Swanson’s opposite-field homer in the sixth.
“The kid is healthy,” Snitker said of Swanson. “He doesn’t have that bothersome wrist he fought all last year. It’s good to see him going the other way there. I don’t know that he’s hit an opposite-field homer. He’s had some really good at-bats. I like the way he’s turning the bat loose … it’s been good to see. I’m glad he’s healthy.”
The Braves and Reds will play again Tuesday afternoon, which will include Sean Newcomb’s last bit of preseason work. The Braves will fly to Philadelphia following the game and open the regular season at Citizens Bank Park on Thursday.
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.