Marlins blank Braves as Sánchez, 4 relievers throw 4-hitter
Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 9, 2020
By CHARLES ODUM
AP Sports Writer
ATLANTA (AP) — Sixto Sánchez is helping the Miami Marlins match up with the Braves, even in Atlanta.
Sánchez combined with four relievers on a four-hitter, Jorge Alfaro hit one of three homers for Miami and the Marlins beat the Atlanta Braves 8-0 on Tuesday night.
Garrett Cooper had two hits, including a two-run homer, and drove in three runs. Alfaro drove in two runs with two hits, including his first homer. Matt Joyce also homered.
Before the series, the Braves were 22-6 at home against the Marlins since Truist Park opened in 2017. Suddenly, the matchups are looking better for Miami — especially in the rotation. The Marlins are 3-2 in this year’s series overall, including 2-0 in Atlanta.
“I want to continue to do that and help my team to win some games and make the playoffs,” Sánchez said through a translator.
The first-place Braves’ hopes of a fourth straight NL East title suffered a setback when left-hander Max Fried, the team’s top starter, was placed on the 10-day injured list Tuesday with a left-side muscle spasm in his lumbar spine.
Miami trails Atlanta by 2 1/2 games in the division after winning the first two games of the three-game series. Second-place Philadelphia is 1 1/2 games behind Atlanta.
“I feel like we’re a little more equipped to deal with them,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said of the Braves. “Our rotation is more solid. We have a little bit of experience in our pen.”
Sánchez (2-1) allowed three hits in six-plus innings. The right-hander opened the game by striking out Ronald Acuña Jr. with a 100-mph fastball, the first of six strikeouts with one walk.
“If he stays healthy, he’s going to give people fits for a long time,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said.
Sánchez threw 10 or fewer pitches in three straight innings, beginning with the third.
“He has definitely brought, I think, excitement to our rotation,” Mattingly said.
The 22-year-old Sánchez didn’t allow a runner to reach second base until the seventh. Marcell Ozuna had an infield single and Sánchez hit Austin Riley with a pitch.
James Hoyt walked Adeiny Hechavarria with two outs to load the bases. Richard Bleier ended the inning on pinch-hitter Travis d’Arnaud’s groundout.
Kyle Wright (0-4) allowed five runs on seven hits, including three homers, in four innings as his ERA climbed to 8.05.
Freddie Freeman doubled off Nick Vincent with two outs in the eighth for Atlanta’s only extra-base hit.
Fried had been the only healthy member of Atlanta’s projected starting rotation. Atlanta lost ace Mike Soroka for the remainder of the season to a torn right Achilles tendon, and the Braves’ starters began the day with a 5.49 ERA. Miami’s young starters rank fifth in the NL with a 3.94 mark.
The Braves hope Fried will miss only one start.
“The good thing is it’s not his arm,” said Snitker, adding that he’s had to adjust constantly to bad news about starting pitchers.
“Every day,” Snitker said. “I wake up like that every day. I go to bed like that every night. There’s always something going on. You never know.”
Marlins: INF Jon Berti did not start after cutting his hand while bunting and leaving Monday’s game in the 10th inning. “We’re going to try to give him one day, maybe two,” Mattingly said. “We feel like we dodged a bullet there.”
Braves: General manager Alex Anthopoulos said LHP Cole Hamels (triceps tendinitis) could make his first start of 2020 next week at Baltimore after throwing on Thursday at the alternate training site. Hamels impressed pitching coach Rick Kranitz when he threw batting practice for the first time on Sunday. It would be unusual to activate Hamels after so little preparation, but losing Fried to the IL adds urgency to the team’s need for rotation help.
The Marlins optioned infielder Lewin Diaz to their alternate training site and recalled right-hander Jordan Yamamoto. Left-hander Adam Conley was outrighted to Triple-A Memphis after Monday’s game.
Braves right-hander Jacob Webb was reinstated from the 45-day IL and gave up two unearned runs in two innings. Utility infielder Charlie Culberson was designated for assignment.
Marlins: RHP Pablo López (3-3, 3.05) will try to end a streak of two straight losses, each to Tampa Bay, in Wednesday night’s final game of the series. He allowed two runs in six innings of an 8-2 win over the Braves on Aug. 14.
Braves: LHP Tommy Milone has a 5.91 ERA in six career games against Miami, including three starts. Milone has an 11.37 ERA in his first two starts with the Braves.
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