What's buzzing:
10-14
9 - 18
15-11

Freeman's 2 HRs, 4 RBIs lead Braves over Pirates

AP - Sports

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.

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.

Sign up for Yahoo Fantasy Football
View Comments (14)

Recommended for You

  • Biggest surprises of Pittsburgh Steelers 53-man roster cuts

    The Pittsburgh Steelers have released their cuts that give the organization the NFL mandated 53-man roster. For most Pittsburgh Steelers fans, the fact that the team kept third string quarterback Landry Jones might have been the biggest surprise when news broke of the team's up to date 53-man…

    SB Nation
  • Quarterback Kyle Orton pulls fast one on Cowboys, agrees to deal with Bills

    Kyle Orton must have really, really hated retirement, because it didn't last long. He likely never wanted to retire, of course. But through his threats, he convinced the Cowboys he did. There was a standoff all offseason as Orton refused to show up to camp, but also refused to pay back the prorated…

    Shutdown Corner
  • EA Sports under fire for sexist selfies in NHL 15

    This is obviously just a little slice of the overall game, and a facet of the fan depictions in “NHL 15.” But Rousselle is right: Who is this for? Does EA Sports think that women who buy the game, pick up a controller and play a season will see a reflection of themselves in “rulez are hard LOLZ?”…

    Puck Daddy
  • Dana White responds to fans saying UFC 177 should be free: 'Go to the movies tonight, I don't care'

    Dana White wants you to go see a movie if you're not happy with Joe Soto in a UFC main event. Dana White is none too happy with MMA fans who are criticizing the UFC product. Today, his anger is aimed at fans who said that UFC 177 should have been moved to "free" status and put on Fox Sports 1…

    SB Nation
  • Broncos Roster 2014: Surprise cuts and keepers

    There were a lot of big names missing off of the Broncos initial 53-man roster. But who exactly were the biggest surprises....to make the team and to be cut?Surprises that stuck3. Gerrell Robinson Corey Nelson/Steven Johnson

    SB Nation
  • 49ers roster cuts tell us a little bit about the “window” and the salary cap

    The San Francisco 49ers made their roster cuts on Saturday, cutting down to the 53-man requirement. The 49ers made some tough decisions, which could tell us something about their considerations for the future. The San Francisco 49ers cut down their roster to the 53-man requirement on Saturday, and…

    SB Nation
  • Dodgers use extreme infield shift

    The defining moment of August 29 at Petco Park was a defensive shift to end all defensive shifts by the Dodgers in the 12th inning. The Dodgers already employed a five-man infield with Abraham Almonte at the plate with runners on second and third base, with center fielder Andre Ethier shifting over…

    SB Nation
  • With heavy heart, Kuchar hovers around the lead

    NORTON, Mass. (AP) — With an orange ribbon on his hat and nine birdies on his card, Matt Kuchar pulled within a shot of the lead Saturday in the Deutsche Bank Championship. Not that he needed a reminder, but a message posted on the scoring table spoke to the emotions involved in this tournament.

    Associated Press
  • Michael Sam cut by St. Louis Rams

    Michael Sam has been cut by the St. Louis Rams. The other 31 NFL teams now have 24 hours to claim him off of waivers. Michael Sam was cut today by the St. Louis Rams, according to various sources, a victim of the numbers game and not homophobia.

    SB Nation
  • Shayna Baszler's long-winding road of a fight career leads to the door on Saturday

    When Shayna Baszler starting fighting on fly-by-night shows for no money years ago, she never even had a dream of fighting on television, let alone on a UFC pay-per-view event. With the UFC's expanding the number of shows, and thus, bringing in more new fighters than ever, every show seems to…

    SB Nation
  • SEC releases statement that says Vanderbilt uniforms were not legal

    It's against NCAA rules to have slogans on the backs of jerseys, and Vanderbilt was penalized with a timeout per quarter, the punishment for the rule violation.

    Dr. Saturday
  • James Harrison's release came several years after it should have, and that's why it hurts

    James Harrison is one of the more unconventional players the Steelers ever had. As Bradshaw worked the crowd into a frenzy, he hit the emotional climax with, " "Oh, what I would give to put my hands under Mike Webster's butt one more time," after he pulled out a football from the podium. Few were…

    SB Nation
  • Naomi explains hiatus from WWE: 'Minor procedure'

    The Funkadactyls exploded back at the Battleground pay-per-view (PPV) on July 20 in Tampa when Cameron defeated Naomi by pinfall after grabbing a hand full of tights. Later, Naomi would return the favor, albeit in a tag team match, when she submitted Cameron on Raw.

    SB Nation
  • Packers' Final 2014 53-Man Roster

    The Green Bay Packers had a tough cut-down day, but they have finally announced all their roster moves and the final 53-man roster.

    SB Nation
  • Play

    Mo'ne Davis teams up with Southsiders

    It was JRW that knocked Mo'ne Davis' team out of the World Series, but apparently there are no hard feelings.

    WLS – Chicago
  • Batistuta asked legs be cut off to relieve pain

    BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — Former star Gabriel Batistuta, Argentina's record goal scorer for the national team, says he once asked a doctor to amputate his legs to relieve intense pain in his ankles.

    Associated Press
  • Report: Seahawks cut Winston

    Tackle Eric Winston, signed as a free agent by the Seattle Seahawks in July, reportedly has been released after being beaten out for the right tackle job by rookie Justin Britt.

    The SportsXchange