Ozzie Albies Hits First Career Grand Slam in Braves 9-2 Win Over Miami
MIAMI (AP) – 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 NL East-leading Braves beat the Miami Marlins 9-2 on Thursday night.
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.
The Braves have won eight straight games on the road, outscoring opponents 50-8 in that span. Atlanta starter Mike Foltynewicz (3-2) gave up three hits and one unearned run in five innings, and Luiz Gohara got a three-inning save.
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.
Manager Don Mattingly was not with the Marlins, away from the team because of a death in his family. Tim 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.
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
The Braves are winning everywhere on the road these days, but they seem to always win at Marlins Park anyway.
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. The Braves also became the first opposing team to score 500 runs at the park the Marlins opened in 2012; they came in with 497, the same as fellow NL East club Philadelphia.
The Braves gave up seven runs in a road loss to Philadelphia on April 27. They’ve given up eight in the eight road games since.
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 higher than what the strike zone would have been.
RHP Brandon McCarthy (4-1, 4.84) goes for Atlanta on Friday against Miami and RHP Dan Straily (0-0, 6.75).
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