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Jose Siri hits tiebreaking 2-run homer in 9th, Rays beat Braves 8-6 to avoid sweep

Jose Siri hits tiebreaking 2-run homer in 9th, Rays beat Braves 8-6 to avoid sweep

ATLANTA (AP) — Jose Siri hit tiebreaking, two-run homer in the ninth inning off Braves closer Raisel Iglesias, and the Tampa Bay Rays beat Atlanta 8-6 on Sunday to avoid a three-game sweep.

Ben Rortvedt hit the first grand slam of his career in the fourth and Brandon Lowe was 2-for-3 with a homer for the Rays, who entered having lost seven of nine.

“Wins are tough to come by,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “We are feeling it right now. Up 6-2, normally you are feeling pretty good, but the reality is, teams are playing us tough. Pleased with the effort for sure today.”

Austin Riley hit a two-run homer in the eighth for Atlanta against Jason Adam (1-0) to tie the game at 6-all, his third straight game with a home run.

In the ninth, Iglesias (0-1) walked leadoff batter Randy Arozarena and struck out Richie Palacios before Siri hit a low changeup 416 feet to the stands in left-center.

“I’m in the on-deck circle, so I see it right off the bat,” Rortvedt said. “He’s hitting lasers to all parts of the ballpark. It is a lot of fun to watch. He’s electric.”

Pete Fairbanks recorded his 10th save in 11 chances for the Rays, walking the leadoff man in the ninth before retiring the next three batters.

Rays starter Zach Eflin gave up four runs, three earned, on seven hits in 5 2/3 innings. He struck out seven and did not walk a batter.

Braves rookie Hurston Waldrep struggled again in his second major league start, giving up six runs on five hits, including two homers, four walks and a hit batter in 3 1/3 innings. He struck out two. Waldrep has allowed 13 runs over seven innings in the majors.

After the game, Braves manager Brian Snitker said Waldrep would be sent down to Triple-A Gwinnett.

Matt Olson extended his hitting streak to 10 games, going 3-for-3 with a double. For the second straight game as the Braves' leadoff hitter, Jarred Kelenic hit a home run, this one leading off the game. Travis d'Arnaud was 2-for-4 with a homer.

Rortvedt's grand slam broke a 2-2 tie in the fourth. With one out, Waldrep hit Arozarena with a pitch, then walked Palacios and Siri. Rortvedt pulled the first pitch just inside the right field foul pole for his first home run of the season.

“In that situation, the first pitch might be the best pitch to hit,” Rortvedt said. “My first (at-bat), I think I had six pitches and I flew out. First pitch there might be the best pitch, and I put a swing on it.”

The Braves cut the lead into the lead in the sixth inning on an RBI single by Adam Duvall and a throwing error by third baseman Palacios that plated Austin Riley. Palacios, playing third for the first time in his three-year career, committed two errors.

Long-awaited debut

Right-hander Grant Holmes made his major league debut for the Braves after 10 years in the minors, throwing three scoreless innings. Holmes was a first-round pick by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 2014 amateur draft. The Braves sent left-hander Ray Kerr to Triple-A Gwinnett before the game and promoted Holmes.

Trainer's room

Rays: José Caballero (illness) was scheduled to return to the lineup Sunday, but was a late scratch with calf tightness. Ahmed Rosario replaced him at shortstop. ... Shortstop Taylor Walls (illness) was not available.

Up next

Rays: RHP Aaron Civale (2-5, 5.20) will face Twins RHP Pablo López (6-6, 5.33) in the opener of a three-game series at Minnesota on Tuesday.

Braves: LHP Max Fried (6-3, 3.20) opens a three-game set against Tigers RHP Reese Olson (1-8, 3.68) in Atlanta on Monday.

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AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb