Riley, Ozuna lead hitting revival in Braves’ 7-3 win over Rays, helping Sale improve to 7-0 at home

Austin Riley drove in three runs with three hits, including a two-run homer, Marcell Ozuna added a three-run shot and the Atlanta Braves’ long-suffering offense offered signs of recovery in a 7-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday night.

Chris Sale (9-2) improved to 7-0 at home. The left-hander allowed two runs on five hits and two walks in seven innings.

Riley had a run-scoring double in Atlanta’s five-run first inning and added a two-run homer, only his fourth, in the second.

The Braves’ seven runs, all in the first two innings, were their top total for a full game since an 8-3 win at Boston on June 4. It was a much-anticipated bright spot for a struggling lineup.

The Braves’ 3.55 runs per game since May 1 ranked as the second-lowest average in the majors, ahead of only the Chicago White Sox (3.25), in that span.

Atlanta’s bats showed encouraging production in a 6-3 win at Baltimore on Thursday that ended a five-game losing streak. The Braves’ 12 hits against Baltimore was their most since June 1. They added 12 against Rays right-hander Zack Littell (2-5) and four relievers.

"The last few days we’ve seen some individuals’ positives," said Braves manager Brian Snitker before the game. "When that thing gets flowing it can be a lot of fun to watch, that’s for sure."

Ozuna has been the lone consistent hitter in the otherwise disappointing lineup. He leads the NL with 19 homers and 60 RBI.

Austin Riley #27 of the Atlanta Braves takes the field prior to the game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Atlanta Braves at Truist Park on Friday, June 14, 2024 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Daniel Shirey/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

Braves leadoff hitter Michael Harris II left the game in the first inning with tightness in his left hamstring. There was no immediate update on the severity of the injury.

Atlanta lost right fielder and reigning NL MVP Ronald Acuña Jr. to a season-ending knee injury on May 26.

The Rays took a 1-0 lead in the first on Amed Rosario’s RBI double but stranded runners on second and third when Sale struck out Jose Siri and Jonny DeLuca.

Littell allowed seven runs, six earned, on eight hits, including the homers by Ozuna and Riley, in two innings.

Braves left fielder Jarred Kelenic made a leaping catch at the wall of DeLuca’s drive off Dylan Lee in the ninth following a double by Siri. Richie Palacios, who had a run-scoring double in the seventh, drove in Siri with a single. Raisel Iglesias recorded the final out for his 18th save.


Rays: DH/OF Harold Ramírez, who was designated for assignment last week, is a free agent after receiving his outright release. ... 2B José Caballero (illness) left the game in the third inning.

Braves: RHP Ian Anderson is moving closer to a rehab assignment as he continues his recovery from Tommy John surgery in April 2023. Anderson has been throwing at the team’s Florida complex and is moving closer to a rehab assignment. "He’s been pretty good," Snitker said. "It’s just a matter of building him up now."


Former Rays RHP Charlie Morton (3-3, 4.12) will face his former team when the Braves are matched against Tampa Bay RHP Ryan Pepiot (4-3, 4.17) on Saturday. Morton pitched for the Rays in 2019 and 2020.

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