The Marlins won a hard fought game tonight. Sandy Alcantara was not as solid as his first start, but the Braves are a strong team. The bullpen came through and kept the Fish in the running. The offense was carried tonight by Jorge Alfaro who belted out two home runs.
Sandy Alcantara: 4 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 5 BB, 0 K
Kyle Wright: 6 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K
The Braves jumped on Alcantara quick and made him work hard. Ender Inciarte started things off with a six pitch walk. Freddie Freeman followed things up with a double, scoring Inciarte from first. Alcantara took control of the inning after that. Most of the night Alcantara walked a tight rope.
The Braves would continue to put pressure on Alcantara until he finally gave up another run in the fourth inning. Alcantara had to go deep into the count with multiple hitters and you could see it took a lot out of him. The Braves were watching pitches and waited until the count was in their favor to swing. A walk and two singles was all the Braves needed to take the 2-0 lead. Freeman continued to punish the Fish tonight going 2 for 3 with an RBI.
The Fish’s offense was pretty much dormant until the fifth inning. Jorge Alfaro jolted the Marlins team awake with a solo blast to right field. This ball kept carrying until there was nowhere else to go. Peter O’Brien followed this up later in the inning with his own solo blast. This one was a no doubter. The home run production is still happening when there is no one on base.
The Marlins bullpen was able to carry them all the way until the ninth inning. Tayron Guerrero relieved Alcantara, but even he had to walk a tight rope in his inning. Same went for Nick Anderson who started his inning off by giving up a double. Drew Steckenrider was brought in for the seventh inning and did not struggle. Sergio Romo also shutdown the eighth inning without any issue.
The Fish made their final stand against A.J. Minter. Starlin Castro started the ninth off with a single. Alfaro was up next and decided to put an exclamation mark on his great night. He blasted a two-run home run into the right field stands, giving the Fish a 4-2 lead. The Fish had eight hits on the night, but without the homers they would not have scored.
Adam Conley was called in to get his first save of the season with one out in the ninth. Like most things in this game it did not come easy. Freeman started things off with a single. Ronald Acuña Jr. was next and he battled until a 3-2 count. Conley was able to shut him down for the strike out on an inside pitch at the knees. Nick Markakis was next and he grounded a ball to J.T. Riddle, who proceeded to throw the ball out of play. This error moved both runners to third and second.
Johan Carmago was up next in the lineup. Before Conley could get the ball out the pitching coach ran onto the field. Don Mattingly and Co. decided they would rather face Tyler Flowers with the bases loaded and two outs. After the intentional walk to Carmago there was no room left for error. The Braves decided they would rather have Charlie Culberson pinch hit for Flowers (who was also hit in the hand earlier in the game). On Conley's first pitch Culberson popped up the ball on the infield. Castro caught the pop up and the Fish got a win they needed badly.
Caleb Smith will be taking on Sean Newcomb at 1:20 p.m on Sunday in the rubber game of the series.
Braves vs. Marlins box score (MLB.com).