MIAMI – Two days after a tough loss, the Braves and their bullpen bounced back with a 5-3 win over the Marlins on Friday at loanDepot Park.

Here are five observations on Atlanta (18-21) after the win:

1. Braves manager Brian Snitker described it in one way.

“Gut-wrenching,” he said.

This was his answer when asked what it was like to watch the final few innings on Friday, when his relievers, with men on base, battled with the game on the line. The Braves on Wednesday blew multiple leads in Milwaukee, and this game looked as if it might turn out the same way.

But multiple relievers held strong and preserved the lead on a night when closer Kenley Jansen was down for a night off.

“I think the bullpen’s been doing a good job this year,” A.J. Minter said. “We feel pretty confident out there, trust the guys going out there.”

In the sixth inning, Collin McHugh entered for Charlie Morton, who departed with runners on second and third and one out. One Miami hitter lined a ball that seemed destined for the outfield, only to see Ozzie Albies, who was in the shift, make a leaping catch for the out. The next batter, Jacob Stallings, launched a deep fly ball to left field, only to see it land in Marcell Ozuna’s glove for the final out instead of over the wall for a go-ahead homer.

Spencer Strider had men on second and third with two outs in the seventh, but got a flyout to escape.

Minter gave up a one-out double in the eighth, but retired the next two hitters to preserve the lead.

Atlanta Braves relief pitcher Will Smith, right, clasps hands with first base coach Eric Young Sr. after the team's baseball game against the Miami Marlins, Friday, May 20, 2022, in Miami. The Braves won 5-3. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

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Credit: AP

Will Smith hit the leadoff man in the ninth but retired the next three to earn his second save of the season. Jansen was rested as the Braves began a stretch of 17 consecutive games, but he will be available Saturday.

This was a great way for the bullpen to show it has moved on from Wednesday’s loss.

“That happens, (games like) a couple days ago,” Snitker said. “That’s what you hope they can do, is after one like that happens, that they come out and finish a game like that today.”

2. Marlins left-hander Trevor Rogers entered this matchup with a 5.24 ERA over five starts versus Atlanta over his career.

From the first pitch, the Braves provided him with more of the same.

They scored five runs over the first three innings against Rogers, including three in the first frame. Ozuna, Dansby Swanson and Travis d’Arnaud, in order, all homered off Rogers.

“It looked like everybody was just getting in ready to hit,” Matt Olson said. “He left some pitches middle that these guys were hopping on and barreling. It’s always good to get a starter that early like that.”

3. Time and again, the Braves have displayed the bullpen depth president of baseball operations Alex Anthopoulos built.

They are without Tyler Matzek and Luke Jackson.

Yet they continued rolling. Through 39 games, Atlanta’s bullpen has a 3.30 ERA, which ranks fourth in the National League and seventh in MLB.

“This is one of the better bullpens that I’ve been around,” Olson said. “Any time you’ve got a lead, passing it off to them, you feel pretty good. They came out and did their thing today.”

And that depth helps the relievers.

“I feel like it just takes a load off everyone because you don’t have to go out there stressed like, ‘Ah, I got to pitch three days in a row,’” Minter said. “It’s like when Kenley was down today, and guys go in there and step up for him. It’s all about making it to the finish line, not going out there and blowing everyone’s arm up early in the season. It just takes a load off everyone.”

4. Ozuna appears to be heating up, which is a great development for the Braves.

He has homered in three straight games, and has four home runs over his last six games.

“When he gets hot, he can carry you,” Snitker said. “He can put a team on his back.”

5. The Braves plan to keep Ronald Acuña off the loanDepot Park turf this weekend, but not out of the batter’s box or off the dirt.

In his first game here since tearing his ACL last July, he went 2-for-4 with a walk, a stolen base and a run scored. He doubled to begin the game, walked and stole his seventh base of the season in the second inning and singled in the fourth.

Stat to know

11 - The Braves’ bullpen got the final 11 outs of the game.


“This is one of the better bullpens that I’ve been around. Any time you’ve got a lead, passing it off to them, you feel pretty good. They came out and did their thing today.” - Matt Olson on the bullpen

Up next

Braves right-hander Kyle Wright faces Marlins right-hander Elieser Hernandez in Saturday’s game, which begins at 6:10 p.m.