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Recap: Pirates 9, Braves 18
Line Movements    BT Movements
Game: 1
Venue: Champion Stadium
Date: March 20, 2013 1:05 PM EDT
  

KISSIMMEE, Fla. (AP) - Freddie Freeman and Andrelton Simmons each hit two home runs and the Atlanta Braves bopped the Pittsburgh Pirates 18-9 Wednesday.

Freeman went 4 for 4 and drove in four runs. He's hit five of his seven spring homers in the past six games and is batting .373 (22 for 59) this spring.

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Simmons also doubled in his first game back from the World Baseball Classic.

Braves starter Mike Minor allowed 10 hits, including a homer by Andrew McCutchen, and five runs in four innings. He walked three and struck out five.

Kyle McPherson, competing for a spot in the Pirates' rotation, gave up 10 hits and nine runs in 4 2-3 innings.

Freddie Freeman was already fitting in nicely in the cleanup spot for Atlanta. Now, the Braves also have leadoff batter Andrelton Simmons back and he's hitting well, too.

Simmons, who just returned from the World Baseball Classic, and Freeman each hit two home runs to help the Braves beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 18-9 on Wednesday.

``It's the way you want to start back,' said the young shortstop, who also had a double. ``I hope I didn't waste all my home runs.'

The Braves finished with 21 hits and have totaled 35 runs in their past two games.

``That's a quality lineup over there,' Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said.

The Braves don't count on the slick-fielding Simmons for homers. But they need Freeman to continue his spring power surge into the season as he takes over the fourth spot in the batting order.

``He one of the most naturally talented young hitters in baseball,' Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. ``I'm not surprised (with what he's doing).'

The first baseman, who has five of his seven spring homers in his past six games, was 4 for 4 and drove in four runs. He is batting .373 (22 for 59) and has 15 RBIs.

``He looks great,' Simmons said. ``He is really swinging good.'

So is the native of Curacao. The Netherlands was the surprise team of the WBC, reaching the semifinals, and Simmons was one of the big reasons for the team's success.

Simmons batted .333 with three doubles, two homers, six RBIs and 10 runs scored in eight WBC games.

``We had a blast,' the 23-year-old said. ``I didn't expect it to be that fun. I didn't expect the team to be that good. It was great.'

The high-pressure games also prepared Simmons for his first full major league season. ``I feel more like game ready,' he said.

Gonzalez certainly liked what he saw of the player who is replacing Michael Bourn as the Braves' leadoff hitter.

``He had some great at_bats,' said the manager, adding. ``It wasn't like he'd been on vacation.'

The Braves scored six first-inning runs en route to a 17-10 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies on Monday and pickup up right where they had left off with five first-inning runs against the Pirates after an off day on Tuesday.

Kyle McPherson, competing for a spot in the Pittsburgh rotation, was the victim this time. He worked 4 2-3 innings and gave up 10 hits and nine runs (eight earned).

``He was trying to follow a game plan and that was problematic,' Hurdle said. ``Command was up early. The execution part of the arsenal was really inconsistent. That's what went sideways on him.'

Braves starter Mike Minor drove in the final first-inning run with a double, but he had his own struggles on the mound. The left-hander gave up 10 hits and five runs in four innings, walking three and striking out five.

Andrew McCutchen hit a homer off Minor in the third inning and was 2 for 4 with two RBIs. The Pirates had 16 hits, but 14 were singles.

NOTES: Jordan Walden, who has been battling back issues, made his first appearance for the Braves since Feb. 23 and allowed a run in the fifth inning. He walked two and allowed a hit. ... The Pirates acquired John McDonald from Arizona as a backup middle infielder after Chase d'Arnaud had to undergo surgery for a torn ligament in his left thumb and will be sidelined up to two months. ... Wandy Rodriguez, who returned to Pirates camp on Monday from the WBC, is slated to throw 85-90 pitches in a minor league game in Bradenton on Thursday. He was 1-0 with a 0.96 ERA for the champion Dominican Republic. ... The Pirates play the Orioles at Sarasota on Thursday night, with Jonathan Sanchez scheduled to start. ... The Braves sent reliever Dusty Hughes to the minor-league camp, reducing the spring roster to 40. ... Tim Hudson will start when the Braves host the Nationals in a night game Thursday.

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2014
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved

 CLOSING LAS VEGAS LINE
 Team  ML   RUN   O/U 
 PIT  +125   -150    
 ATL  -145   +130   
LAS VEGAS LINE MOVEMENTS

 CLOSING SPORTSBOOK LINE
 Team  ML   RUN   O/U 
 PIT  +125       
 ATL  -145      
OFFSHORE LINE MOVEMENTS

 BETTING TRENDS
 Team  ML   RUN   O/U 
 PIT  n/a   n/a   n/a 
 ATL  n/a   n/a   n/a 
BT MOVEMENTS

 MLB HEAD TO HEAD
 Feb 24, 2013  Score  ATS Results 
 ATL 2 Over: 11 
 PIT 9 Cover: +100 
 Tools:   Recaps
 Oct 3, 2012  Score  ATS Results 
 ATL 4 Cover: +130 
 PIT 0 Under: 4 
 Tools:   Boxscores    Recaps
 Oct 2, 2012  Score  ATS Results 
 ATL 1 Under: 6 
 PIT 5 Cover: +100 
 Tools:   Boxscores    Recaps
 Oct 1, 2012  Score  ATS Results 
 ATL 1 Under: 3 
 PIT 2 Cover: +125 
 Tools:   Boxscores    Recaps

 MLB RECAPS
 Wednesday, Mar 20
 
    Blue Jays at Orioles
1:05 PM EDT
    Red Sox at Yankees
1:05 PM EDT
    Pirates at Braves
1:05 PM EDT
    Nationals at Marlins
1:05 PM EDT
    Diamondbacks at White Sox
4:05 PM EDT
    Dodgers at Royals
4:05 PM EDT
    Indians at Angels
4:05 PM EDT
    Mets at Astros
6:05 PM EDT
    Rays at Twins
7:05 PM EDT
 
 
 
  
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