Morton throws seven shutout innings; Marlins hit Acuna again

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

Freddie Freeman homered in the first inning and the Braves never looked back, defeating the Marlins 5-0 Friday night in Miami. The Braves are 43-44.

Here are five takeaways from the game:

1. Charlie Morton had a great bounce-back game by going seven innings, allowing just two hits, two walks and striking out seven in 95 pitches. His breaking ball was dominant and he only got into trouble in the fourth inning where he walked a Marlin and allowed a single.

“He probably could have kept going,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “That’s huge, especially (putting his) foot down in the seventh inning like that. The stuff was really good, too.”

It was a much more commanding night than his four-run game last Sunday against the same club.

Morton is 8-3 on the season with a 3.64 ERA and 114 strikeouts.

2. Ronald Acuńa Jr. was hit by a Marlins pitch again. A week after Pablo Lopez hit the Braves’ leadoff hitter with his first pitch, Acuńa was hit in the top of the seventh by an 84-miles-per-hour breaking ball from Anthony Bender.

Acuńa took several steps towards Bender and threw his equipment down as he was held back. Several of his teammates made their way to the top of the dugout in support.

“Not a big deal,” Snitker said. “He hit him with a breaking ball. I think everybody handled themselves fine.”

It’s the seventh time the Marlins have hit Acuńa.

3. The offense was steady throughout the night with seven different batters getting a hit. Ozzie Albies, Austin Riley and Dansby Swanson each had two-hit nights.

After Acuńa was hit in the seventh, Albies’ left field double brought the runner home to make it a 2-0 lead. The next batter, Riley, hit a ground ball down the left-field line for an RBI triple to score Albies.

“As long as he keeps hanging in there, giving himself a chance, staying confident, trusting his swing, not trying to do too much, it’s so good to see him go gap to gap,” Snitker said of Riley. “When he goes gap to gap he’s a dangerous hitter.”

Orlando Arcia hit an RBI double in the eighth and has six hits in his five games with the Braves this week.

“He’s done a good job,” Snitker said. “It’s good to get him up there. It’s a huge credit to him that he was able to go back to Triple-A and he did so well.”

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

4. Freeman hit his first homer since June 24 to start the scoring. The former NL MVP was walked twice and the homer was his 11th hit of July.

The Braves first baseman is batting .407 in his last 15 games.

“As many balls as he has hit hard and was getting out, I felt for him,” Riley said. “It’s Freddie Freeman. He always comes through. He’s an elite hitter.”

5. Though only used in two innings, the Braves’ bullpen wasn’t rattled.

Righty Luke Jackson entered in the eighth, walked just one Marlin and struck out another. Righthander Jesse Chavez continued his strong season, picking up two more strikeouts to close out the ninth.

“He’s done a heck of a job,” Morton said of Chavez. “He’s a phenomenal person, a teammate and has just had a great career.”

Braves 5, Marlins 0 (box score)

Stat to know

10 (Friday night was the Braves’ tenth shutout victory of the 2021 season)

Quotable

“We’re trying to finish strong. It’s been a grind for sure.” (Austin Riley on the last series before the All-Star Break)

Up next

Braves lefty Max Fried (5-5, 4.66) will get the start Saturday against Marlins lefty Trevor Rogers (7-5, 2.22). The first pitch from Miami is scheduled for 4:10 p.m.