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Braves' bats go cold after early surge

Three-run second inning not enough in Tuesday's loss to Rays
MLB.com

ATLANTA -- After the second inning of Tuesday night's 5-3 loss to the Rays, it looked like the Braves' offense would be able to hold its own against Erasmo Ramirez, who was coming off of five shutout innings against the Yankees.

Andrelton Simmons drew an eight-pitch walk with the bases loaded -- his first walk since May 5 -- to start a three-run rally in the second. But after that, Simmons and the rest of the offense was shut down.

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ATLANTA -- After the second inning of Tuesday night's 5-3 loss to the Rays, it looked like the Braves' offense would be able to hold its own against Erasmo Ramirez, who was coming off of five shutout innings against the Yankees.

Andrelton Simmons drew an eight-pitch walk with the bases loaded -- his first walk since May 5 -- to start a three-run rally in the second. But after that, Simmons and the rest of the offense was shut down.

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"Tonight, we just got beat," said second baseman Jace Peterson. "I think it's as simple as that. We could have done some things better, offensively. But other than that, we just got beat."

Video: TB@ATL: Maybin's single gives Braves their first lead

Over the next seven innings, the Braves managed just two hits. Ramirez struck out five batters and walked two over his five innings of work before handing the game off to the bullpen.

Five Tampa Bay relievers combined to throw four shutout innings to seal the win, while giving up just two hits and a walk. Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez credited the Rays' bullpen rather than criticizing the at-bats of his players as the game wound down.

"I didn't see anything from the at-bats," Gonzalez said. "They ran some pretty good pitching out of that bullpen."

Simmons looked particularly out of sync at the plate after his second-inning walk, going 0-for-3 the rest of the night while falling out of the box a number of times on swings.

Gonzalez acknowledged that Simmons was testing a right thumb guard during batting practice, but said there was nothing to be concerned about.

After a three-week stretch from April 17 through May 6 that saw Simmons hit .315 with five doubles, two triples and two home runs. Since then, the shortstop has hit .171 while striking out seven times and walking just once.

Carlos Collazo is an associate reporter for MLB.com.

Atlanta Braves, Jace Peterson, Andrelton Simmons