Trevor Rogers and Max Fried faced off as the Braves looked to get back to .500 against the last place Marlins.
Acuna started the game with a walk on five pitches and promptly stole second for his 17th stolen base. A strikeout from Freeman, followed by groundouts from Ozzie and Austin meant that Ronald was unable to score in the inning, unfortunately. In the bottom of the inning, Fried worked around a two out single from Cooper and double from Duvall to escape the inning with the game still scoreless.
After easy 1-2-3 innings from both pitchers in the second inning, Jonathan Lucroy led off the third by drawing a walk and advanced to second on an errant throw to first. Freddie Freeman brought him home with a two out single. Freddie stole second successfully after being initially called out and it being overturned by replay, but Ozzie flew out to end the inning. Fried allowed a single, a walk, and a wild pitch to set up runners on second and third for Duvall. The ex-Braves predictably hit a double to give the Marlins the lead. Mercifully, Fried escaped the inning there.
Austin Riley crushed a ball to deep center, but had to settle for a leadoff double, with the expansive Miami ballpark. Arcia hit a single to set up first and third for Dansby, who hammered a double down the left field line to score Riley. A deep sac fly from Heredia scored Arcia and moved Dansby over to third. Lucroy and Fried struck out, however, so the score was left at 3-2, Atlanta leading. Fried allowed a leadoff single, but didn’t allow any runs in the bottom of the fourth, preserving the one run lead.
The Braves’ two best hitters lifted the Braves in the fifth, as Ronald crushed a double at 116.5 MPH before Freddie unloaded for a two run homer. Atlanta managed no further baserunners that inning. Chisholm smashed a ball to right field with one out in the fifth and Ronald Acuna made an athletic attempt to catch the ball, but appeared to have hurt his knee on the way down and left the game on the cart in tears in what was an awful scene on so many levels and highlighted the disastrous season this has been for Atlanta. Fried allowed three straight singles after the 12 minute pause for Acuna’s injury, but struck out two to leave the bases loaded and the score at 5-3.
Dansby singled and Lucroy walked to set up two on, one out for Panda. Sandoval struck out and Almonte followed his example, stranding the two baserunners. AJ Minter came in for Fried in the sixth and pitched a clean 1-2-3 inning. Freeman, Albies, and Riley all grounded out in the top of the seventh. Neither team produced a baserunner in the eighth. The Braves went down in order in the top of the fifth, bringing in Will Smith for the save with a two run lead. The inning started inauspiciously, with Smith giving up a leadoff single. Sandy Leon almost snuck a ball past Dansby, but he made a fantastic diving stop with a strong throw to get Leon at first by a foot. Will Smith struck out Rojas, but Jazz Chisholm singled home a run, cutting the lead to one for Cooper, with Chisholm on first and two outs. Cooper hit a ball about two feet short of the centerfield wall for the final out.
The Braves are now (once again) at .500 and will have a chance to go into the all-star break with their first winning record of the season if they get a win tomorrow. Despite this short term good news, the unknown injury to Ronald Acuna looms, so stay tuned for updates as we all hope for the best.