Ronald Acuna Jr. led the game off with a homer and then Travis d’Arnaud and Dansby Swanson joined the club during a huge seventh inning rally that secured the Braves a 9-5 win in Game One of the 2020 National League Division Series over the Marlins.
The first inning saw Max Fried looking quite good. He struck out the first batter on three pitches including a generous strike out call. An Austin Riley throwing error extended the inning with two outs, but Max just struck out Brian Anderson on three pitches to end the inning.
And then the bottom of the 1st came and Ronald Acuna Jr. gave us one of his frequent reminders as to why he is one of the better players in all of baseball. He took the second pitch he saw out to right-center and the Braves very quickly had a 1-0 lead. Freddie Freeman and Marcell Ozuna went down quietly before Travis d’Arnaud drew a five pitch walk. Unfortunately, Ozzie Albies struck out on a foul tip and the damage stayed at one run.
Leadoff Ronnie ➕ Postseason Ronnie pic.twitter.com/QekdfuwzT8— FOX Sports: Braves (@FOXSportsBraves) October 6, 2020
The top of the second was not nearly as nice as Miguel Rojas led off the inning with a solo shot of his own to tie the game. The rest of the inning was a bit more a battle in terms of the at-bats for Fried, but he made it through without allowing another baserunner. The bottom half of the inning went by without incident as the Braves were set down in order.
The top half of the third saw Max Fried get himself into some trouble with some batted ball luck going the Marlins’ way. With runners on first and third with no out, Max struck out Jesus Aguilar, but then a two-run double from Garrett Cooper gave the Marlins a 3-1 lead. This was the first time that the Braves trailed this postseason. Brian Anderson then followed with a RBI single to stretch the lead to 4-1. The inning finally ended with Max Fried having thrown 59 pitches on the whole for the day through three innings.
The bottom half of the inning started with an Austin Riley groundout and immediately turned to drama as the Marlins hit Acuna with a pitch AGAIN. I am sure that it had nothing to do with Acuna hitting a leadoff bomb in the first inning /s. Manager Brian Snitker was less than please, warnings were issues to both benches, and the inning continued. After Freddie Freeman flew out to center, Marcell Ozuna doubled Ronnie, who was flying around the bases, in to cut the Marlins’ lead to 4-2. Travis d’Arnaud followed with a double of his own an all of a sudden, the Braves’ offense was awake and it was a 4-3 game.
Max Fried came out for the fourth in the hopes of settling down after a rough third inning and got the first two batters out fairly quickly before giving up a double to Magneuris Sierra. Fortunately, the Marlins couldn’t cash in as Jon Berti grounded out on the next pitch and the score remained 4-3. That was it for Fried as he exited after the fourth inning on 70 pitches. It just wasn’t his day, but the game was still salvageable.
The fifth inning would be scoreless in both halves as Darren O’Day gave up a hit but nothing else in a pretty cleaning outing. Tyler Matzek was the choice in the sixth inning and the lefty SHOVED as he struck out all three batters he faced. The Braves would go quietly in the bottom half of the sixth as the BABIP gods were continuing their slight annoyance with the Braves it seemed.
The top half of the seventh saw Will Smith take the mound and he made short work of Miami as the Marlins went 1-2-3 all on various forms of groundouts on just eight pitches. These bullpen pitch counts could become relevant considering how quickly the Braves had to dip into their bullpen in the first game of this series.
To the bottom half of the seventh we go and there was good news for Braves fans there. Austin Riley and Ronald Acuna Jr. led off the inning with back to back singles to chase Sandy Alcantara from the game. Yimi Garcia would relieve him and after getting Freddie Freeman to ground into a force at second, Marcell Ozuna singled to left to drive in Riley to tie the game at 4. Then, Travis d’Arnaud came through in a HUGE way with a three-run homer, his third hit of the day, to give the Braves a 7-4 lead.
Then Ozzie singled.
Then there was a pitching change.
Then Dansby homered....and just like that, it was a 9-4 Braves lead. Nick Markakis almost joined the dinger party, but would have to settle for a flyout to end the inning with the Braves up in a big way.
The eighth inning was manned by Chris Martin who quickly struck out Garrett Cooper before giving up a single to Brian Anderson who was a pain in the Braves’ butt in this game and then hitting Miguel Rojas with a pitch. He then got Corey Dickerson to pop out before old friend Matt Joyce drove in Brian Anderson with an RBI single to make it a 9-5 game. Fortunately, that was the only damage as he got pinch hitter Jorge Alfaro for the third out of the inning.
The bottom half of the inning saw Austin Riley, who had himself a very decent game although he wasn’t exactly scorching the ball, reached base for the third time with a walk. Acuna would strike out and Freddie Freeman would walk as well to give Marcell Ozuna another chance to do some damage with a runner in scoring position. He unfortunately struck out, but the wild pitch he struck out on did advance both Riley and Freddie. Travis d’Arnaud would then go on to walk as well and with the bases loaded and two out, Ozzie Albies sadly flew out to end the inning.
The top half of the ninth inning saw Mark Melancon come in to try and close the game out. He struck out Magneuris Sierra on three pitches, then he struck out Jon Berti on three pitches, and once Jesus Aguilar flew out on the first pitch he saw, the Braves had themselves a one game lead in the NLDS.