ATLANTA -- Freddie Freeman fueled the decisive sixth inning with a one-out double and Williams Perez made the most of his first career start while helping the Braves claim a 2-1 win over the Rays Wednesday night at Turner Field.
Rays starting pitcher Jake Odorizzi had surrendered just two hits before allowing Freeman's double and Nick Markakis' single with one out in the sixth. After Todd Cunningham followed with a go-ahead RBI groundout, the Braves' bullpen preserved the lead and the effort provided by Perez, who surrendered just one run and notched seven strikeouts over five innings.
"[Perez] pitches with his eyes a little bit," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "He knows what kind of swings [hitters] are taking at his pitches and he makes adjustments and he competes."
Odorizzi surrendered two runs over six innings, marking just the fourth time in nine starts that he has allowed more than one run. The right-hander gained an early lead on James Loney's first-inning sacrifice fly.
"A difficult one to take tonight," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "We had some opportunities. I think we had eight, nine guys left on base. It's tough to win ballgames when you leave that many guys on and only get one run."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Perez's escapes: After the Rays used a walk and a pair of singles to load the bases in the fourth inning, Perez used his two-seam sinker to get Asdrubal Cabrera to ground into a threat-averting double play. The Braves right-hander also used three strikeouts to pitch around the two singles he surrendered in the fifth inning. More >
Jace's patience: Braves second baseman Jace Peterson drew a pair of two-out, 10-pitch walks, but only the first proved costly to the Rays. Peterson's first patient free pass snapped Odorizzi's streak of 118 batters without allowing a walk. More importantly, it set the stage for Alberto Callaspo to follow with a game-tying single in the third inning. More >
Hard luck for Odorizzi: Odorizzi notched his eighth quality start in nine starts this season, but has a losing record to show for his efforts. Wednesday night he allowed two runs in six innings, but came away with the loss. Run support for the Rays right-hander has been sparse. The Rays have scored just 15 runs in his starts this season. That's an average of 1.66 runs per game. More >
"We didn't do much, but we did just enough. Hopefully, we keep doing just enough for the rest of the season." -- Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons, after the Braves improved to 4-9 when scoring two runs or fewer
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Braves right-handed reliever Brandon Cunniff stranded a pair of runners when he replaced Luis Avilan with two outs in the sixth inning and then worked a perfect seventh inning. Right-handed hitters are 0-for-28 against Cunniff this season.
Rays relievers Steve Geltz and Xavier Cedeno both tossed a scoreless inning. Since April 19, the bullpen has compiled a 1.92 ERA.
WHAT'S NEXT Rays:Alex Colome will make his fifth start of the season after two less-than-stellar outings against the Yankees and Twins in the home series opener against the Athletics at 7:10 p.m. ET on Thursday. Cash believes that Colome's problems have been twofold. Against the Yankees -- when he allowed four home runs -- he was up in the zone. Last time out, he got behind in the count too often. The right-hander has good stuff and the Rays need him to go deep into the game to help preserve the bullpen.
Braves:Julio Teheran will attempt to finally display some consistency when he takes the mound for Thursday night's series opener against the Brewers at Turner Field at 7:10 p.m. ET. Teheran limited the Marlins to one earned run in 5 2/3 innings on Friday, but also surrendered at least nine hits for the third time in four starts.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. Listen to his podcast. Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. Listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.