Sean Murphy homers as the MLB-best Braves edge the AL-best Rays, 2-1

ST PETERSBURG, FLORIDA - JULY 07: Eddie Rosario #8, Michael Harris II #23, and Ronald Acuna Jr. #13 of the Atlanta Braves celebrate winning a game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field on July 07, 2023 in St Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Mik

Sean Murphy hit a two-run homer and the red-hot Atlanta Braves began a series between teams with the best records in the major leagues with a 2-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday night.

With right-hander Charlie Morton (9-6) pitching into the seventh inning and Murphy extending a power surge that has seen Atlanta homer in 24 straight outings, the Braves won for the 19th time in 21 games to improve baseball’s best mark to 59-28.

The AL-best Rays (57-34) lost their season-high sixth straight despite holding the Braves to two hits. Starting pitcher Tyler Glasnow (2-3) left in the sixth inning with what the team described as cramping.

Wander Franco homered off Morton in the first and Murphy went deep for Atlanta in the fourth.

Raisel Iglesias worked the ninth for his 16th save in 18 opportunities.

The Braves will face the Rays again on Saturday night at 7:15 p.m. The game will be shown on FOX 5 Atlanta.