Braves beat Marlins 2-1, clinch 5th straight NL East title

Oct 4, 2022, 6:59 AM | Updated: 9:25 pm
Atlanta Braves players celebrate in the club house after they clinched their fifth consecutive NL E...

Atlanta Braves players celebrate in the club house after they clinched their fifth consecutive NL East title by defeating the Miami Marlins 2-1, in a baseball game, Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2022, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

(AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

              Atlanta Braves players celebrate in the club house after they clinched their fifth consecutive NL East title by defeating the Miami Marlins 2-1, in a baseball game, Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2022, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
            
              Atlanta Braves relief pitcher Kenley Jansen celebrates in the club house after Atlanta clinched their fifth consecutive NL East title by defeating the Miami Marlins 2-1, in a baseball game, Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2022, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
            
              Atlanta Braves relief pitcher Kenley Jansen, left, is doused with champagne as players celebrate in the club house after they clinched their fifth consecutive NL East title by defeating the Miami Marlins 2-1, in a baseball game, Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2022, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
            
              Atlanta Braves players celebrate in the club house after they clinched their fifth consecutive NL East title by defeating the Miami Marlins 2-1, in a baseball game, Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2022, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
            
              Atlanta Braves manager Brian Snitker, center, talks to players as they celebrate in the club house after clinching their fifth consecutive NL East title by defeating the Miami Marlins 2-1, in a baseball game, Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2022, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
            
              Atlanta Braves players celebrate in the club house after they clinched their fifth consecutive NL East title by defeating the Miami Marlins 2-1, in a baseball game, Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2022, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
            
              Atlanta Braves relief pitcher Kenley Jansen celebrates in the club house after Atlanta clinched their fifth consecutive NL East title by defeating the Miami Marlins 2-1, in a baseball game, Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2022, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
            
              Atlanta Braves relief pitcher Kenley Jansen, left, is doused with champagne as players celebrate in the club house after they clinched their fifth consecutive NL East title by defeating the Miami Marlins 2-1, in a baseball game, Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2022, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
            
              Atlanta Braves players celebrate in the club house after they clinched their fifth consecutive NL East title by defeating the Miami Marlins 2-1, in a baseball game, Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2022, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
            
              Atlanta Braves manager Brian Snitker, center, talks to players as they celebrate in the club house after clinching their fifth consecutive NL East title by defeating the Miami Marlins 2-1, in a baseball game, Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2022, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
            
              Atlanta Braves' Austin Riley reacts after striking out during the first inning of a baseball game against the Miami Marlins, Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2022, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
            
              Miami Marlins third baseman Joey Wendle throws to first for the double play after having put out Atlanta Braves' Austin Riley (27) at second during the third inning of a baseball game, Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2022, in Miami. Matt Olson was out at first. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
            
              Miami Marlins' Bryan De La Cruz leans back to avoid a close pitch during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves, Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2022, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
            
              Atlanta Braves' Travis d'Arnaud celebrates after hitting a double during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Miami Marlins, Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2022, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
            
              Miami Marlins' Braxton Garrett delivers a pitch during the first inning of a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves, Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2022, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
            
              Atlanta Braves' Travis d'Arnaud celebrates after getting a base hit during the first inning of a baseball game against the Miami Marlins, Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2022, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
            
              Atlanta Braves' Jake Odorizzi delivers a pitch during the first inning of a baseball game against the Miami Marlins, Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2022, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
            
              Miami Marlins' Jesus Sanchez celebrates a home run as he rounds second base during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves, Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2022, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
            
              Atlanta Braves' Travis d'Arnaud is congratulated by teammates after he scored on a single by William Contreras during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Miami Marlins, Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2022, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
            
              Atlanta Braves' William Contreras gets a base hit during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Miami Marlins, Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2022, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

MIAMI (AP) — Their sluggish start now far behind them, Ronald Acuña Jr. and the World Series champion Atlanta Braves needed just one more win to complete a most stunning turnaround.

They earned it Tuesday night, beating the Miami Marlins 2-1 to take their fifth straight NL East title and finish the first leg of a trek they hope leads them to another crown.

Afterward, they popped Champagne and puffed cigars, basking in their accomplishment.

“It’s hard to win one,” manager Brian Snitker said. “To win five is pretty special. It’s a credit to our organization.”

William Contreras drove in the go-ahead run with an infield single in the fifth, and the Atlanta pitching staff turned in a solid performance.

With the win, Atlanta earned a first-round bye as the No. 2 seed in the NL, behind the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Braves were 10 1/2 games behind the New York Mets at the start of June and lost four of five to New York in early August. But they were in familiar territory. Atlanta was 30-35 at one point last season before winning the World Series.

“To keep plugging along and the consistency that these guys showed throughout the whole year,” Snitker said. “Coming to work every day and worrying about today. They didn’t get caught up that we were behind.”

Acuña, whose 2021 season ended when he tore his ACL in this same ballpark, hit a two-out single in the second, scoring Orlando Arcia and giving the Braves a 1-0 lead.

“I am feeling so much happiness and joy,” Acuña said. He couldn’t get through his postgame interview without teammates dousing him in champagne. “Last year, I couldn’t experience this because of my injury. I am so happy to be a part of this club.”

The Braves swept the Mets over the weekend to take the division lead and entered the Marlins series needing a win or a Mets loss to clinch the division crown.

The Mets swept the Washington Nationals in Tuesday’s doubleheader but had to settle for a wild-card spot.

Kenley Jansen recorded his 41st save, working a perfect ninth to seal the win.

Starter Jake Odorizzi (6-6), who joined the team at the trade deadline, allowed one run in five innings. He struck out six, and gave up only two hits, including a home run by Jesús Sánchez in the fourth.

“It’s great to be a part of this,’ he said. “Every one of these is special. I was only here for two months of it but it doesn’t make it less special. It’s pretty fantastic.”

Reliever A.J. Minter escaped Miami’s threat in the eighth. Jon Berti hit a one-out double and stole his 41st base of the season. Bryan De La Cruz and Avisaíl García walked to load the bases. But Nick Fortes, pinch-hitting for Sánchez, popped out to end the inning.

“We tried to throw our best guys out there today and extend this thing,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “We got out of some jams and stayed in the game. We just weren’t able to get that last hit.”

The Braves did not take advantage of many chances at the plate to stretch their lead, but their pitchers held the Marlins to four hits.

Collin McHugh and Raisel Iglesias pitched scoreless innings in the sixth and seventh in relief of Odorizzi.

In the fourth, Sánchez hit Odorizzi’s first pitch over the right field wall to tie the game.

Miami starter Braxton Garrett (3-7) was pulled in the fifth after Contreras hit a two-out infield single, which scored Travis d’Arnaud and allowed Atlanta to retake the lead.

Contreras had two hits and an RBI.

Garrett allowed six hits, two runs, walked five and struck out seven.

The Braves, one year after winning their first World Series title since 1995, are playoff-bound without All-Star first baseman Freddie Freeman, who signed with the Dodgers in March as a free agent.

Atlanta also has 100 wins for the first time since 2003 (101-61). The Braves finished 88-73 in the regular season last year.

BETTER LATE THAN NEVER

Michael Harris II notched Atlanta’s first sacrifice bunt of the season in the fourth inning to advance Arcia to second and Contreras to third.

As 160 games went by, it looked like the Braves might be the first team in MLB history to complete a full season without bunting.

The Braves did not score off it, even after the Marlins intentionally walked Acuña in the next at bat to load the bases. Dansby Swanson struck out to end the inning.

ALCANTARA WINS MARLINS MVP

Pitcher Sandy Alcantara was named Miami’s Most Valuable Player, as voted by members of the South Florida chapter of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. Alcantara, who has been in Cy Young contention all season, leads the majors with 228 2/3 innings and has pitched six complete games.

BRAVE OF THE YEAR

Third baseman Austin Riley is the repeat winner of Brave of the Year in voting by the Atlanta Chapter of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, edging out Swanson and Harris.

Riley is the eighth player to be named Brave of the Year in consecutive seasons since the team moved to Atlanta in 1966. The others are Phil Niekro, Dale Murphy, Terry Pendleton, Greg Maddux, Chipper Jones, Craig Kimbrel and Freeman.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Marlins: Placed RHP Edward Cabrera on the 15-day IL with a right ankle sprain.

UP NEXT

RHP Elieser Hernández (3-6, 6.33) will pitch for the Marlins in Wednesday’s regular-season finale. The Braves haven’t announced their starter.

___

More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Ohio State receiver Marvin Harrison, left, celebrates his touchdown against Michigan with teammate ...
Associated Press

Ohio State is 5 in second-to-last CFP rankings behind USC

Ohio State was No. 5 Tuesday night in the second-to-last College Football Playoff rankings, positioned to possibly take advantage if one of the top four slips up on championship weekend. Georgia (12-0) was No. 1 again. No. 2 Michigan (12-0) and No. 3 TCU (12-0) both moved up a spot and Southern California (11-1) climbed […]
16 hours ago
FILE - Major League Baseball Players Association Executive Director Tony Clark answers a question d...
Associated Press

MLBPA keeps Clark, extends executive director through 2027

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) — The Major League Baseball Players Association has voted to extend the contract of executive director Tony Clark through 2027. The 50-year-old Clark — who had a 15-year big league career, mostly with the Tigers and Diamondbacks — helped broker the players’ current labor deal with MLB. After several contentious months of […]
16 hours ago
FILE - New York Knicks guard Kemba Walker (8) dribbles up the court during the second half of an NB...
Associated Press

Mavs unclear on timeline for Walker as 4-time All-Star signs

DALLAS (AP) — The timeline for Kemba Walker to contribute for the Dallas Mavericks is uncertain as the four-time All-Star joins a roster in need of playmaking help behind superstar Luka Doncic. Walker went unsigned the first six weeks of the season before the 32-year-old guard was officially added by Dallas on Tuesday. Plagued by […]
16 hours ago
Southern California head coach Lincoln Riley stands on the sideline during the second half of an NC...
Associated Press

Trojan transformation: Lincoln Riley’s remarkable fix at USC

LOS ANGELES (AP) — When Lincoln Riley took over Southern California’s four-win football program one year ago this week, the coach stood on the top rim of the Coliseum and boldly declared his Trojans should be competing for championships right away. Riley chuckled Tuesday when he was reminded of that exhilarating time in his life […]
16 hours ago
United States' Weston McKennie (8) celebrates after teammate Christian Pulisic scoring a goal durin...
Associated Press

AP PHOTOS: World Cup highlights from Day 10

Highlights from the 10th day of the World Cup in Qatar on Tuesday. ___ AP World Cup coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/world-cup and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
2 days ago
Iran's Saeid Ezatolahi, right, reacts while the players of the United States celebrate at the end o...
Associated Press

Pulisic goal advances US in World Cup with 1-0 win over Iran

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Christian Pulisic kicked the ball, scored the goal and then crashed into the goalkeeper, a collision that sent the American star to the hospital and the United States into the second round of the World Cup. More than an hour later, he contacted his teammates by FaceTime to join the celebration. […]
2 days ago
Braves beat Marlins 2-1, clinch 5th straight NL East title