After yet another stretch of frustrating games for the Braves, they went into Saturday with an opportunity against a relatively weak team in the Miami Marlins.
Things did not start out well for Atlanta, however, with a 1-2-3 top of the inning from the offense, and Jazz Chisholm scoring on a walk, a groundout, a wild pitch, and a sacrifice fly. Dansby reached with one out in the second on a wild pitch strikeout and an Almonte single combined with a throwing error left Dansby and Almonte on third and second with one out. Contreras struck out and Inciarte popped out as neither were able to bring in a run. Fried allowed two singles, but recorded two strikeouts and a groundout for a scoreless second.
Fried led off the third with a bloop hit that was nearly caught on the slide. Ronald Acuna then hit a ball 117.2 miles per hour off the bat...which was snagged for a lineout. Freddie then hit a deep line drive that was again almost caught, but left him at first on a scored error and Fried at third. Ozzie hit a fly ball to center and Fried tagged up from third, but was thrown out on a bang-bang play by Marte for the third out. A hit batsman put Aguilar on first with one out in the third, but a nice play on a ground ball by Dansby resulted in a double-play to end the inning. A two out double from Abraham Almonte in the top of the fourth was to no avail, as Contreras flew out to end the inning. Naturally, old friend Adam Duvall hit a home run to lead off the bottom of the frame.
The Atlanta had nothing to say in a 1-2-3 fifth, and Miami came back and added to their lead in the bottom of the inning, courtesy of a Lewin Diaz solo homer to set the score at 3-0. A Freddie Freeman leadoff single started the threat in the sixth for Atlanta, but a ground ball double-play provided by Ozzie promptly ended it. Austin Riley grounded out to end the inning. Max Fried worked an easy sixth in what was overall a fine start from him, with a final line of 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 SO, 2 BB. A one out walk from Almonte in the top of the seventh was sandwiched between strikeouts from Swanson and Contreras, bringing up a pinch-hitting Heredia for Inciarte (not a tremendous upgrade, but platoon advantage against the lefty reliever), who immediately grounded out on the first pitch to end the inning.
It was at this point that Josh Tomlin entered the game for Atlanta and he allowed a two out single, but otherwise worked a clean inning. A pinch-hitting Adrianza struck out to lead off the eighth, but Acuna legged out an infield single that went to review and Freddie Freeman turned on a ball that was four inches inside the plate for a two run homer, bringing Atlanta within one run. An Albies flyout and a Riley strikeout left the score at 3-2 going into the home eighth. Edgar Santana got the call, as seems to often be the case in one run games, and he instantly gave up a single to Starling Marte on a ball hit 50.8 MPH (.150 xBA), who then stole second. A checked swing single hit 57.2 MPH (.340 xBA) from Aguilar brought Marte home. That was the only damage of the inning, but brutal nonetheless. The Braves offense went gentle into the good night as they went down in order...29-33.
Join us tomorrow at 1:10 as the Braves look to avoid new lows in this rough season.