Snider homers, Chen solid against Braves

Snider homers, Chen solid against Braves

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- After Wei-Yin Chen and Alex Wood provided strong starts that indicated they are ready for the regular season, the Braves staged a two-run ninth-inning rally to claim a 6-5 win over Orioles on Thursday night at Champion Stadium.

Joe Benson's walk-off single against T.J. McFarland scored Eric Young Jr. with the winning run and also capped a four-hit night for the surprise bench candidate who did not even gain non-roster invitee status until Thursday.

Steve Pearce's RBI single off Chien-Ming Wang capped Baltimore's three-run seventh inning, which was highlighted by Travis Snider's two-run home run. Snider's homer off Wang was ruled a double until Orioles manager Buck Showalter convinced umpires that the ball had cleared the right field wall.

Chen surrendered three hits through the first four innings and then allowed the Braves to begin their two-run fifth inning with three consecutive singles. After Andrelton Simmons scored Christian Bethancourt with one of those singles, pinch-runner Jace Peterson scored a go-ahead run on a wild pitch.

Wang, who is targeted to begin the year in Triple-A Gwinnett's rotation, soured a relatively encouraging night for the Braves' pitching staff. Wood surrendered one run and six hits while delivering five strong innings in his final start of the Grapefruit League season. Most of the damage he incurred occurred when he allowed singles to Manny Machado, Caleb Joseph and Nolan Reimold in the fifth inning.

"This was the first day that I felt my timing was good and I was commanding all three pitches," Wood said. "It's nice to have a start right before the season where you feel like you're finally hitting your stride a little bit."

Braves outfielder Nick Markakis recorded a pair of singles while playing against his former club for the first time in his professional career.

Chen, who limited the Braves to two runs and six hits over five innings, said it's been a productive spring for him in learning a new grip to create more separation between his fastball and changeup. 

"Last spring, my offspeed pitches were pretty good at first, but it wasn't all that consistent," Chen said through his interpreter. "This year, I was trying to fill it out, and over this spring, I felt better and better in mastering it. I talked to my teammates and coaches about how to throw it and how to grip it. And I think over this spring, it's been getting better and better."

Up next: Baltimore's Ubaldo Jimenez and Atlanta's Shelby Miller will make their final preparations for the regular season when the Orioles host the Braves at Ed Smith Stadium on Friday at 6:05 p.m. ET in a game that can be seen live for free on MLB.TV. Jimenez has allowed three earned runs over 15 innings in his past three starts. Since notching just two outs in his spring debut, Miller has been on a roll, limiting opponents to just three runs over his past 18 innings.

Mark Bowman is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.