If there’s a pathway to torturing the Marlins, Ronald Acuna will find it.
Acuna hit a game-tying three-run blast in the ninth, allowing the Braves to steal a 12-inning affair, 7-6, in Miami. The Braves have swept the Marlins in both series in South Florida this season and are 8-1 against the Fish overall.
“It’s not like it’s a new thing anymore,” said manager Brian Snitker. “It’s how they are, how they’re wired. They just feed off each other and as the situation gets closer I think they feel it as a team.”
The ninth-inning rally began with a Tyler Flowers double off Sergio Romo. Matt Joyce walked. Flowers scored on a balk during Johan Camargo’s at-bat. Camargo singled, putting runners at the corners.
Acuna took care of it. He decimated a slider into left-center, topping off a four-run rally. It was Acuna’s second homer of the weekend series.
“I was extremely emotional,” Acuna said. “Obviously I was really excited. I’m just glad we pulled out the win.”
How the Braves went ahead in the 10th is even more improbable. After two quick outs, Tyler Kinley walked four consecutive Braves. The final walk came on a 3-2 count drawn by pinch-hitter Charlie Culberson.
The Marlins knotted the game thanks to Martin Prado’s double in the bottom of the frame. The Braves took control again in the 12th.
Ozzie Albies tripled with one down. After Flowers was intentionally walked, Joyce shot one past third for the go-ahead run.
“It’s great,” Snitker said. “It’s absolutely what we were hoping for and expecting at the same time. We were hoping and expecting Ozzie to get on, and the same for Matt to drive him in.”
Joyce has quietly been a productive bench bat for the Braves. He went 3-for-4 with two walks Sunday in place of Nick Markakis.
“He’s just a pro hitter,” Snitker said. “Some really good at-bats. He’s not afraid to take a walk. ... He’s done a really good job for us in the role he’s in.”
Miami had been in control most of the afternoon. Austin Dean’s lead-off homer against Max Fried was the ninth homer he’s allowed this season. The Marlins tacked on two more in the fifth, with Ozzie Albies finally ceasing the inning with an eye-popping turnaround throw to first that nailed Brian Anderson.
His line will read as the typical “quality” start: Six innings, three runs on six hits. He struck out seven and walked only one. Most encouraging, Fried coaxed 10 ground-ball outs and didn’t record a flyout. Outside Dean’s blast, he kept the ball in the infield.
Fried provided the Braves’ only offense before the ninth, roping a double to right field that scored Matt Joyce. Fried was thrown out trying to score later in the inning, almost maneuvering a well-executed slide that would’ve put the Braves ahead 2-1.
Pablo Lopez was effective, holding the Braves to a run on five hits over six innings. The visitors loaded the bases in the seventh — what was thought to be their best chance at an equalizer — but Starlin Castro snagged Dansby Swanson’s hard-hit liner to get reliever Austin Brice and the Marlins out of the inning.
Miami had padded its lead against Touki Toussaint, who had a 1.17 ERA in 10 relief appearances before surrendering a pair of runs in the seventh.
The Braves return home and open a four-game set Monday with the Pirates. They’ll play three games each against the Phillies and Mets to complete the 10-game homestand.