Albies hits a slam, Braves roll past Marlins 9-2
MIAMI (AP) Three swings. That’s all it took for the Atlanta Braves to blow the game wide open.
And from there, it was another road rout for the NL East leaders.
Ozzie Albies hit Atlanta’s first grand slam of the season to highlight a seven-run sixth inning, Freddie Freeman had a career-high five hits and the Braves beat the Miami Marlins 9-2 on Thursday night for their eighth consecutive road win.
”It was a good one,” Freeman said. ”Definitely one I’ll remember, first five-hit game. Took me a little bit, but the big one tonight was Ozzie and that grand slam.”
Freeman also homered for the Braves in that sixth-inning outburst, when Atlanta got all of its runs with two out. Albies also had a run-scoring single in the ninth to cap his five-RBI night.
During this 8-0 road streak, the Braves have outscored opponents 50-8 – winning four of those games by at least seven runs. Atlanta starter Mike Foltynewicz (3-2) was the latest beneficiary, getting the win after giving up three hits and one unearned run in five innings. Luiz Gohara got a three-inning save.
”You don’t want to face this lineup, especially the way we’ve been swinging right now – one through eight,” Foltynewicz said. ”You don’t want to face this team now. They are putting such good swings on the ball.”
Lewis Brinson homered in the ninth, and Martin Prado had two hits and an RBI for the Marlins. Miami has lost four straight and been outscored 26-6 in its last 26 innings.
”The more success he has, the more confidence he’s going to get,” Marlins bench coach Tim Wallach said of Brinson. ”You see some positive things starting to come more and more.”
Manager Don Mattingly was not with the Marlins, away from the team because of a death in his family. Wallach, Mattingly’s longtime bench coach, filled in for the opener of the four-game series.
Mattingly is expected back Friday.
Jose Bautista got his first RBI with the Braves to open the scoring in the second. He also was Miami’s saver of sorts in the sixth, going 0 for 2 in an inning where Atlanta sent 12 men to the plate and got seven runs on six hits and three walks – one of which was intentional.
Marlins starter Caleb Smith (2-4) went 5 1/3 innings, allowing two runs on seven hits and striking out five. He was replaced by Drew Steckenrider, who retired Bautista for the second out of the sixth, then loaded the bases with the intentional walk and a conventional one to pinch-hitter Preston Tucker.
Albies unloaded them with one swing for a 5-1 lead with his 11th home run, and two batters – two pitches – later, Freeman added a two-run shot for his sixth of the season.
Freeman came into the night batting .301. He left batting .326.
”That’s what the guy is capable of,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. ”That’s just him.”
Steckenrider was charged with six runs and got one out.
Braves: Gohara made his season debut after coming back from ankle problems that derailed his spring.
Marlins: RHP Elieser Hernandez (tooth infection) was reinstated from the 10-day DL and made his major league debut in the seventh inning. He took the roster spot that was held by RHP Merandy Gonzalez, who was optioned to Double-A Jacksonville. Hernandez was 0-1 with a 4.80 ERA in four Class A and Double-A starts this season.
RIGHT AT HOME
Atlanta is now 36-19 at Marlins Park, the best winning percentage (.655) of any NL team in the stadium. St. Louis (13-7, .650) is No. 2 on the list.
FAB 5 FREDDY
Freeman had nine four-hit games in his career before Thursday. The Braves have had only three other 5-for-5 games since the start of 2014 – all off the bat of Ender Inciarte last season.
Josh Richardson of the Miami Heat threw out the ceremonial first pitch. He threw from the mound and got it across the plate, though a little bit high.
RHP Brandon McCarthy (4-1, 4.84) goes for Atlanta on Friday against Miami and RHP Dan Straily (0-0, 6.75).
More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball