Morton throws six strong innings and d’Arnaud hits another home run to score Braves top Rangers 5-2

ATLANTA — Charlie Morton combined with three relievers on a five-hitter and the Atlanta Braves defeated Nathan Eovaldi and the Texas Rangers 5-2 on Saturday night for their sixth straight victory.

Travis d’Arnaud, who drove in six runs with three home runs, including a grand slam, in the Braves’ 8-3 victory on Friday night, hit a two-run home run off right-hander Austin Pruitt in the eighth.

Led by strong starts from Morton and Chris Sale, the NL East-leading Braves have won the first two games of the weekend series against the Rangers, who lead the AL West.

“They kind of set the tone for this homestand,” d’Arnaud said of the starting pitchers. “Two guys who want the ball for the last of the World Series to start against the previous World Series champions. I think they were ready and it showed today and yesterday.”

Morton (2-0) gave up two runs and four hits with two walks in six innings. Joe Jiménez, AJ Minter and Raisel Iglesias each pitched a scoreless inning. Iglesias earned his sixth save in as many chances with a perfect ninth.

Luis Guillorme hit a run-scoring double and Matt Olson’s sacrifice fly broke a 2-2 tie in Atlanta’s second three-run run.

Eovaldi (1-2) gave up three runs, five hits and six walks in 5 1/3 innings. He bemoaned his inability to secure an early 2–0 lead in the match against Morton.

“We were in charge and you can’t give a guy like that another chance,” Eovaldi said of Morton.

Rangers manager Bruce Bochy said before the game that he had a surprise planned out of the bullpen. It was right-hander Jon Gray, who started four games this season and relieved Eovaldi in the sixth.

Gray, who had appeared as a reliever in just one of 209 regular-season appearances with Colorado and Texas, recorded two strikeouts, stranding two runners in the sixth, before adding two more strikeouts in a perfect seventh.

Ronald Acuña Jr. opened the first with an infield single. After a bunt-single by Michael Harris II, a double steal gave Acuña 189 career steals, tying him with Rafael Furcal for the Atlanta record.

The Braves moved to Atlanta in 1966. Including the team’s years in Boston and Milwaukee, Acuña ranks 11th in franchise history. Herman Long had a franchise record 434 steals for the Boston Braves from 1890-1902.

Rangers first baseman Nathaniel Lowe was held without a hit in his return from the injured list. Lowe missed the first twenty games of the season due to a right oblique strain.

Travis Jankowski made a leaping catch on Austin Riley’s drive at the top of the center field wall in the eighth.

Rangers: RHP Max Scherzer (back surgery) had no trouble on the day after pitching a simulated two-inning game on Friday. Bochy said Scherzer will have one more bullpen session before possibly beginning minor league rehab Wednesday. … C Sam Huff was recalled from Triple-A Round Rock. 1B Jared Walsh was designated for assignment and C Jonah Heim was placed on the bereavement list.

Braves rookie RHP Darius Vines (0-0, 1.93) will make his second start of the season and fourth of his career in the final game of the series on Sunday night. Rangers RHP Michael Lorenzen (1-0, 0.00) is 1-1 with a 7.52 ERA in 12 games, including two starts, against Atlanta.