For the past few years, almost every time the Atlanta Braves and Miami Marlins face off, there is bound to be some sparks between the two teams. That did not fail in this series, and we’ll get to that in further detail later. Atlanta did, however, take two out of three games in this series.
Game One: Drew Smyly vs. Pablo López, Braves won 1-0
Woah. This game started with some MAJOR sparks. To start off the bottom of the first inning, Pablo López hit Ronald Acuña Jr. with the FIRST pitch he threw. Acuña was not happy, and Braves manager, Brian Snitker wasn’t happy at all. Immediately after Acuña was plunked with the pitch, the home plate umpire issued warnings. But Snitker wasn’t satisfied with that. He came out on the field saying he’d had enough of the Marlins “shenanigans” with his young stud, Ronald Acuña Jr. The umpires got together and after discussion, threw López out of the game. He only threw one pitch. Miami’s manager, Don Mattingly AND their pitching coach (Mel Stottlemyre Jr.) were thrown out of the game defending their pitcher, Pablo López. In my opinion, and I think a lot of other people’s, Pablo López DID NOT mean to hit Acuña. You could tell by his reaction after his pitch hit Acuña…he grimaced. If a pitcher means to his a player, they don’t have an apologetic reaction. Instead, they stare at the player they hit without feeling any type of regret.
After all that drama, the game went on. Miami had to go to their bullpen, and the Braves had to focus on scoring, and they did just that. Because he was hit with a pitch, Acuña was on first base. Freeman followed Acuña with a single that advanced Ronald to third. That made it to where there were runners on the corners and no one out. My man, Ozzie Albies was up to bat. He hit a sac fly to right field, that allowed Acuña to score and it gave the Braves a 1-0 lead. That was the ONLY run scored in the entire game…wow!
Drew Smyly pitched fantastic for the Braves. He went 5.2 innings, allowed three hits, ZERO runs, two walks and he had seven strikeouts. His impressive outing on the mound was very key in this Braves win. Atlanta’s bullpen followed Smyly’s start, with good relief pitching.
Braves closer, Will Smith tried to blow the game for us in the top of the ninth inning when he had the bases loaded with one out. But somehow he got out of the mess he made, and preserved a Braves win with a final score of 1-0.
Game Two: Kyle Muller vs. Sandy Alcantara, Braves lost 3-2
Kyle Muller did not have a bad outing. He went 5.2 innings, allowed four hits, three runs, four walks, and he had seven strikeouts. Ultimately, with a lack of Braves offense, Marlins pitcher, Sandy Alcantara out-dueled Muller and got the win.
Miami got the lead at 2-0 in the top of the third inning. Coming into the fifth inning, that was still the score of the game. Kyle Muller started the bottom of the fifth inning with a strikeout for Atlanta. Acuña reached base on a fielding error by Miami’s third baseman, John Berti. Freeman followed him with a first pitch single, which advanced Acuña to third. Then my man Ozzie, had a first pitch RBI single that scored Acuña and got the Braves on the board making it a 2-1 game. Ozzie knows how to do his job!
The Marlins came right back to score one more in the top of the sixth inning, extending their lead to 3-1. In the bottom of the seventh inning, Atlanta got one run closer when Freddie Freeman had an RBI single that scored Ehire Adrianza, who reached base on a fielding error. That made the score 3-2. Which was the final score of the game. Overall pitching wasn’t bad for the Braves – it was just a lack of offense that made the biggest difference.
Game Three: Charlie Morton vs. Zach Thompson, Braves won 8-7
What a game! It seemed like the Braves were behind the Marlins almost the entire game. But somehow – someway – they came back and WON!
Charlie Morton had a rougher outing than we are accustomed to seeing from him. He went 5.1 innings, allowed five hits, four runs, two walks, and he had five strikeouts. So overall it wasn’t a horrible start, it just wasn’t what the type of start that Morton has had for the Braves.
Atlanta had the lead in the beginning of the game. In the bottom of the second inning, Ronald Acuña Jr.u hit a two-run bomb to give them the lead at 2-0. After his home run, Miami came back to score four runs; one in the top of the third, and the other three in the top of the sixth. That gave them the lead at 4-2. Atlanta made it a 4-3 game in the bottom of the sixth when Dansby Swanson had an RBI double that scored Freeman.
In the top of the ninth inning, Miami added on to their lead big time. Shane Greene came on to pitch for Atlanta. He gave up a solo home run to Sandy Leon, their catcher, and a two-run homer to Jesus Aguilar, their first baseman. That made it a 7-3 Marlins lead.
Going into the bottom of the ninth inning, things did not look good at all for the Atlanta Braves. However, they changed that! To lead off the bottom of the ninth inning, Austin Riley had a single. Dansby Swanson followed him with a forecourt which got Riley out at second but allowed Swanson to be safe at first. Heredia reached base on a single. So there were two Braves on the bases and one man out. Orlando Arcia had an RBI single that scored Swanson making it a 7-4 game. Pinch-hitter, Pablo Sandoval reached base on a walk, and then he was replaced with a pinch-runner, Ender Inciarte. Abraham Almonte had a two-RBI double that made it a 7-6 game. And then, to tie the game, Ronald Acuña Jr. had a sac fly that scored Inciarte from third base. It was a 7-7 game!
Going into the tenth inning, both teams were looking to end the game right then and there. The Miami Marlins were sent down in order by Braves closer, Will Smith. It was now up to the Braves offense.
Because of the extra inning rule, a runner is automatically placed on second base. Austin Riley was that guy for Atlanta. To start off the bottom of the tenth, Dansby Swanson was intentionally walked. Guillermo Heredia had a fly out to make the first out of the inning. Miami also intentionally walked Orlando Arcia to load the bases with Braves. Marlins pitcher, Anthony Bass, threw a wild pitch. Austin Riley streaked for home plate and he…scored??? The home-plate umpire called Austin Riley safe, but the Miami Marlins challenged the play at the plate, and the call was overturned. Riley was out. On the wild pitch Dansby Swanson advanced to third base.
Miami intentionally walked another Braves batter, their catcher, Kevan Smith to reload the bases. Because Atlanta has a short bench to begin with, they brought Max Fried, who is one of their starting pitchers, to come in and hit. Guess what he did?! After working a 3-1 count, Fried sent a line drive single into center field that scored Swanson and walked the game off for the Atlanta Braves with a final score of 8-7. Yes, that was his first walk-off!
What a great way for the Braves to end off the series with Miami, a walk-off win. After EVERYTHING that these two teams have gone through, at the end of the day, it’s still baseball.