Marcell Ozuna’s 19th homer leads Braves past Rays

MLB: Tampa Bay Rays at Atlanta BravesJune 14, 2024; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Atlanta Braves catcher Sean Murphy (12) singles against the Tampa Bay Rays in the second inning at Truist Park. Mandatory credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Marcell Ozuna belted his National League-leading 19th home run, marking a five-run first inning that sent the Atlanta Braves to a 7-3 victory over the visiting Tampa Bay Rays on Friday.

Ozuna’s three-run shot to the opposite field went well into the right-field stands. It gave him 60 RBIs, also top points in the NL.

The Braves’ Austin Riley ended a 5-for-34 (.147) slump by going 3-for-4 with a homer and a double.

Atlanta starter Chris Sale (9-2) pitched seven innings and allowed two runs on five hits with two walks and seven strikeouts. Both walks were followed by double plays to end the inning. Sale now has 206 career strikeouts against the Rays, second most against the Tampa Bay franchise.

Raisel Iglesias entered the ninth inning with two runners on base and got Yandy Diaz to ground out for the final out, earning his 18th save.

Tampa Bay starter Zack Littell (2-5) had his worst outing of the season. He pitched two innings and allowed a season-high seven runs, six earned, on eight hits with one walk and two strikeouts.

The Rays scored a run in the first inning on Amed Rosario’s RBI double.

The Braves responded with five runs in the bottom of the first. After Ozuna’s home run, Matt Olson and Riley hit back-to-back doubles for a 4-1 lead. Riley scored when Littell set up Adam Duvall’s comebacker and sent the throw to first base on an error.

Riley added a two-run homer in the second inning to extend the lead to 7-1. It was Riley’s fourth home run and first since May 3.

Tampa Bay narrowed the deficit to 7-2 in the seventh inning on a two-out, runscoring double by Richie Palacios.

The Rays scored a run in the ninth off Dylan Lee. Jose Siri doubled and scored on a two-out single by Palacios, two batters after Atlanta left fielder Jarred Kelenic belted a homer off Jonny DeLuca.

Atlanta midfielder Michael Harris II was injured in the first inning while moving from first to third. It was removed due to tightness in the left hamstring.

–Field-level media