Braves hit three homers to win series vs. Marlins

Braves second baseman Ozzie Albies (1) hits a pop fly in the fourth inning against the Miami Marlins Sunday, Sept. 12, 2021, at Truist Park in Atlanta. Albies hit his 28th homer of the season in the game. (Hakim Wright Sr./AP)

Credit: Hakim Wright Sr

Credit: Hakim Wright Sr

Braves second baseman Ozzie Albies (1) hits a pop fly in the fourth inning against the Miami Marlins Sunday, Sept. 12, 2021, at Truist Park in Atlanta. Albies hit his 28th homer of the season in the game. (Hakim Wright Sr./AP)

The Braves, tied 3-3 with the Marlins in the seventh, mashed their way to another series win. Second baseman Ozzie Albies and first baseman Freddie Freeman homered, leading the Braves to a 5-3 win Sunday at Truist Park.

Albies put the Braves ahead with a towering shot off Marlins reliever Anthony Bass. It was Albies’ 28th homer, drawing him closer to his first 30-homer campaign. It was Albies’ first homer since Sept. 7, ending a four-game home-run drought on the heels of his homering in four consecutive contests.

An out later, Freeman hit his 30th home run on his 32nd birthday, sending a Bass slider into the left-field seats. The blast marked the third time Freeman has homered on his birthday, a day in which he’s hitting .400 (18-for-45) in his career. He was serenaded with the “Happy Birthday” song by his teammates as he returned to the dugout following his homer.

Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman (5) rounds the bases after his solo home run in the seventh inning against the Miami Marlins Sunday, Sept. 12, 2021, at Truist Pak in Atlanta. It was his 30th homer of the season. (Hakim Wright Sr./AP)

Credit: Hakim Wright Sr

icon to expand image

Credit: Hakim Wright Sr

“They were over there singing ‘Happy Birthday’ to him,” manager Brian Snitker said. “I even text him ‘happy birthday’ and I was thinking, ‘Wasn’t his birthday a couple days ago?’ I even forgot and I text him this morning. But that’s awesome.”

Braves lefty Max Fried had a 1.60 ERA over his last seven starts entering Sunday. He cruised through five innings, allowing one run on Jesus Sanchez’s mammoth 460-foot blast, which was the longest home run of the season for the Marlins. But Fried hit a wall in the sixth, when Miami scored two runs to reset the game at three.

Lewin Diaz smacked a lead-off triple to center in which the ball bounced off the wall and past center fielder Joc Pederson. Miguel Rojas’ singled scored Diaz. Fried made an error fielding Jazz Chisholm’s sacrifice bunt, which set up Sanchez’s game-tying single an out later.

Fried allowed three runs on four hits over his six innings, striking out seven and walking one.

Truist Park’s crowd was lifeless before left fielder Eddie Rosario’s two-run homer put the Braves up 2-1 in the fourth. It was Rosario’s third home run in 14 games with the Braves, who acquired him July 30 from Cleveland while he was sidelined with an abdominal injury. Rosario has proven valuable veteran depth since returning.

“He’s a good player,” Albies said. “We played against him in ‘19 (when Rosario was with the Twins). He’s so athletic. He swings the bat really well and he’s great in the outfield.”

It was another reminder of the depth the Braves accumulated in July. Outfielder Jorge Soler smacked a double that extended his hitting streak to 10 games, tying a career high. Outfielder Adam Duvall, who rested Sunday, is also riding a career-best 10-game hitting streak.

The newcomers have helped the Braves build a cushion atop the National League East. With the Phillies’ loss, the Braves held a 4-1/2 game lead in the division with 20 games remaining.

“Everyone who’s come in so far has made an impact,” Fried said. “Credit to them. It’s not easy coming over in the middle of the season and trying to integrate yourself on a brand new team, new city and moving across the country, all those things. But it’s a credit to every single one of those guys coming in and being able to contribute and think about the team first. It’s all about winning games at this point.”

Braves starting pitcher Max Fried (54) hits a single in the fourth inning against Miami Marlins Sunday, Sept. 12, 2021, at Truist Park in Atlanta. (Hakim Wright Sr./AP)

Credit: Hakim Wright Sr

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Credit: Hakim Wright Sr

The Braves also ended a two-game homer drought Sunday. They’ve had five two-game stretches without homers but none exceeding two. The Braves entered the day third in the majors in homers (they’ve now hit 214 this season).

“Homers are fun and that’s why everybody celebrates them,” Albies said.

Jacob Webb, Luke Jackson and Will Smith combined to notch three scoreless innings in relief to secure the Braves’ win. For Webb, it was his fifth consecutive scoreless outing since rejoining the team Sept. 1. His recent pitching has looked similar to his old self, when he was a pleasant surprise as one of the more reliable righties in the bullpen. Webb’s revival would be a big boost for the unit.

The Braves took two of three from the Marlins. They won the season series 11-8 despite dropping five of their first six against Miami. It’s the 16th time in the last 18 years the Braves won double-digit games against the Marlins who, while trending upwards now, are usually among the National League East’s bottom feeders.

It hasn’t been easy, but the Braves started their homestand 4-2, taking series against the Nationals and Marlins. This is the softest portion of their schedule remaining, so it’s pivotal the team relinquish ground while facing inferior opponents.

“It’s been a rough six days, man,” Snitker said. “These were two tough series against the Nats and Marlins.”

The Braves are off Monday before beginning a 14-game stretch without an off day. They’ll host the Rockies in a three-game series starting Tuesday before beginning a three-city west coast rip next weekend.

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