De La Cruz, Sánchez go back-to-back with homers, Marlins win
ATLANTA (AP) — Bryan De La Cruz and Jesús Sánchez hit back-to-back home runs in the eighth inning against Richard Rodríguez, lifting the Miami Marlins to a 6-4 victory over the Atlanta Braves on Saturday night.
De La Cruz, who went 3 for 4, broke a 3-all tie by going deep with his fourth homer, a shot to left-center, before Sánchez went deep for the ninth time, a long drive to right, to make it 5-3.
“It was a good feeling,” De La Cruz said through a translator. “To be honest with you, I felt I was going to hit a home run that at-bat. He has a fastball as his primary pitch, and I hit fastballs, so I was looking for that, and I got it. It was also exciting to see my teammate get a home run after that one.”
Rodríguez (4-4) has allowed four homers in his last three innings. Anthony Bass (3-7) earned the win by pitching a scoreless seventh. Dylan Floro earned his 10th save in 15 chances after facing five batters in the ninth.
The NL East-leading Braves, who scratched across a run on Freddie Freeman’s RBI single in the ninth, had won nine of 11 against Miami after dropping five of six to begin the season. They snapped a four-game winning streak in the series.
“This is a fastball hitting team we’re playing right here,” Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said. “You’ve got to have secondary stuff against this team because — I don’t know — for as long as I’ve been here, this has been a fastball hitting club.”
The Marlins tacked on a run in the ninth on a safety squeeze bunt by Miguel Rojas that scored Eddy Alvarez and put Miami up 6-3. A video review overturned the original call.
Atlanta scored three runs with two outs in the fifth against Marlins starter Elieser Hernandez to make it 3-all. Pitcher Charlie Morton doubled and scored on Jorge Soler’s double. Soler scored on Freeman’s single to right, and Freeman scored on Austin Riley’s single to left.
The Marlins led 2-0 in the first. Miguel Rojas doubled, advanced to third on Jazz Chisholm Jr.’s bunt single and scored on De La Cruz’s single up the middle. Chisholm scored on Lewis Brinson’s sacrifice fly.
Miami went up 3-0 in the second when Alvarez took Morton deep with his first career homer, a 418-foot shot to right.
“Eddy was good,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “Gets the (defensive) play early on Freddie. Hits the home run to add on for us. His speed kind of over there at third enables us to do what he’s doing up there on the play, so Eddy was kind of all over. He’s fun to watch.”
Morton, pitching for the first time since signing a $20 million, one-year contract for next season, received no decision, allowing three runs and six hits with no walks and seven strikeouts in seven innings.
In his previous 20 starts since May 19, Morton went 11-3 with a 2.95 ERA, and the Braves had gone 13-7 in his starts.
Hernandez gave up three runs and seven hits and one walk and four strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings.
Braves SS Dansby Swanson turned a difficult double play to end the seventh. He dove to his left and managed to keep his foot on second base to field Joe Panik’s grounder, forcing out Eddy Alvarez, and throwing from his knee to get Panik at first. A video review overturned the call.
REMEMBERING THE FALLEN
Atlanta acknowledged the 20-year anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks with a brief documentary of their game at the New York Mets on Sept. 21, 2001, the first professional sporting event held in the Big Apple after the twin towers fell. Former Braves teammates Chipper Jones, Tom Glavine and Brian Jordan reflected on the magnitude of the experience that night.
The Braves also had a pregame ceremony for the 2,977 people who died that day, unfurling a U.S. flag that nearly covered the outfield and showing a video of the tragic day. Both teams came out on the field for the national anthem.
Marlins C-OF Jorge Alfaro left the game with left calf tightness. Mattingly said the team will know more about the extent of the injury on Sunday.
Marlins RHP Edward Cabrera (0-1, 7.11 ERA) will make his fourth career start and face Atlanta LHP Max Fried (11-7, 3.42) in the finale of the three-game series. Fried is 5-2 with a 1.97 ERA, a span of 12 starts, in the second half of the season.
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