ATLANTA — Williams Perez gave up one run over five innings in his first major league start and fellow rookie Todd Cunningham drove in the tiebreaking run with a groundout as theAtlanta Braves beat the Tampa Bay Rays 2-1 on Wednesday night.
The Braves bullpen threw four scoreless innings to close out the win for Brandon Cunniff (2-0). Jason Grilli picked up his 12th save to ensure a split of the two-game series.
Freddie Freeman scored the go-ahead run after reaching on a ground-rule double in the sixth inning. He advanced to third on Nick Markakis' single and scored on Cunningham's grounder.
Rays right-hander Jake Odorizzi (3-4) allowed two runs and four hits over six innings. It was the eighth time this season the Rays have scored two runs or less in one of his starts.
Perez was impressive in just his third appearance. He gave up singles to the first two batters he faced, then settled down and retired nine in a row. In the fourth and fifth innings, he encountered some trouble, but managed to escape without giving up another run.
Freeman helped Perez end a bases-loaded jam in the fourth with some nifty glove work that turned into an inning-ending 3-6-1 double play. Perez spiked the ball after the play and congratulated Freeman on his way off the field.
In the fifth, Perez struck out Steven Souza Jr. and Evan Longoria with two men on.
Rays: Matt Moore threw a bullpen session on Wednesday after throwing 31 pitches in a simulated game on Monday as he continues to recover from Tommy John surgery.
Braves: Infielder Phil Gosselin had successful surgery on his injured thumb on Wednesday. He is on the 15-day DL and is expected to miss roughly eight weeks. He had seven hits in his last 14 at-bats before getting injured while diving for a groundball on May 17.
Rays: Alex Colome (2-1) will take the mound as the Rays host the opener of a four-game series against the Oakland A's on Thursday. After winning his first two starts, the right-hander has struggled in his last two, giving up 11 runs and 17 hits in 9 1-3 innings. Jesse Chavez (1-3, 2.63 ERA) will start for Oakland.
Braves: Julio Teheran (3-1) and the Braves will take on the Brewers in the first game of a four-game series in Atlanta. Teheran leads the National League in run support per nine innings at 7.1. Teheran is 1-2 with a 1.69 ERA in his career vs. Milwaukee. He will be opposed by Matt Garza (2-5).