Sunday June 4th, 2023 3:37AM

Braves blast five 2-run HRs in rout of Rangers

By The Associated Press
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ARLINGTON, Texas — Kevin Pillar and Ronald Acuña Jr. each hit a two-run homer in the second inning, spoiling Cody Bradford’s big league debut as the Atlanta Braves routed the Texas Rangers 12-0 on Monday night in an interleague matchup of division leaders.

Orlando Arcia, Austin Riley and Marcell Ozuna also socked two-run shots for the Braves, who hold the top spot in the NL East. Charlie Morton (5-3) struck out a season-high 10 and limited the Rangers to seven singles and one walk in 6 2/3 innings to win consecutive starts for the first time this season.

Arcia homered in the sixth and Riley in the seventh, both off reliever Cole Ragans as the Braves averted their first five-game losing streak since September 2017. They were swept in Toronto over the weekend, giving up two runs in the bottom of the ninth Sunday to lose 6-5.

“It was a big win. We let one get away (Sunday),” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “It was great to come out and swing the bats. And Charlie was awesome.”

Ozuna’s drive came in the ninth off Rangers reserve catcher Sandy Leon, making his eighth career pitching appearance.

Matt Olson and Ozzie Albies hit back-to-back RBI doubles in the fifth.

Bradford (0-1) was called up from Triple-A Round Rock for his major league debut with the AL West leaders coming off a 10-game road trip. The 25-year-old lefty from nearby Aledo, Texas, and Baylor University gave up six runs on seven hits and two walks in five innings.

“Obviously, not how anybody draws up their debut, but I got blessed with an amazing opportunity to pitch at home in front of a lot of friends and family,” he said. “The Braves did a good job of hitting pitches over the middle of the plate.”

Bradford was 5-1 with a 0.91 ERA at Round Rock.

“It’s fair to say he made some mistakes, especially with his off-speed pitches,” Rangers manager Bruce Bochy said. “We had trouble keeping the ball in the ballpark tonight. It’s tough to debut against this club.”

Pillar’s homer was his second in two days and third in four games. Four of his five home runs this season have been hit in May.

Acuña launched a 454-foot drive on a slider low and outside into the second deck beyond the visitors’ bullpen in left-center.


Braves: RHP Kyle Wright (shoulder inflammation) was transferred to the 60-day injured list.

Rangers: General manager Chris Young said the return of SS Corey Seager (strained hamstring), out since April 11, is “imminent.” ... Young had no timetable for RHP Jacob deGrom (elbow inflammation), sidelined since April 28. “He’s had a couple good days of throwing,” Young said. “We’ll sit down and try to map out a schedule for his return.”


The Braves claimed RHP Dereck Rodriguez off waivers from Minnesota and optioned him to Triple-A Gwinnett. ... Texas optioned RHP Yerry Rodriguez to Triple-A.


Rangers 1B Nathaniel Lowe’s hitting streak ended at 13 games, but Texas C Jonah Heim extended his to 13 to take over the longest active streak in the majors. … The Braves are 10-4 (.714) against left-handed starters, best in the NL and second in the majors to Tampa Bay’s 6-2 (.750).


Braves: LHP Jared Shuster (0-1, 8.31 ERA) was recalled from Gwinnett after Monday’s game to start Tuesday’s middle game of the three-game series.

Rangers RHP Dane Dunning (3-0, 1.71) has allowed only two runs in 11 innings since filling deGrom’s spot in the starting rotation.

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  • Associated Tags: Atlanta Braves
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