Freddie Freeman blooped an RBI single, Josh Donaldson belted his 200th career home run, and the Atlanta Braves finished off the first half of the regular season with a dramatic 4-3 victory against the Miami Marlins Sunday afternoon at SunTrust Park.
Trevor Richards was seeking to slow down a hot Atlanta lineup, led by Ronald Acuña Jr., who will participate in the 2019 Home Run Derby. Richards was effective through the opening two innings, but ran into some troubles in the third. With a runner on second and one out, Freeman’s RBI single looped over the head of Yadiel Rivera, scoring Acuña and giving Atlanta an early 1-0 lead. The very next hitter, Donaldson, scorched a 92 MPH four-seam fastball over the bullpen in right center field, adding on to the Braves’ lead, 3-0.
Nick Markakis produced a one-out single to left in the fifth, scoring Donaldson from second. Markakis finished the day 3-for-4 at the plate.
Richards was done after five innings of four-run baseball, including five walks (one intentional) and five punch outs.
Lefty Dallas Keuchel, in just his fourth outing since signing with the Braves as a free agent, slowed down the Miami offense. He tossed 7 1⁄3 innings, allowing five hits, two runs, a walk and four strikeouts. Keuchel was replaced in the eighth inning by Chad Sobotka, as the Marlins put two runners on base with one out. Sobotka struck out César Puello on three pitches, but Garrett Cooper blasted a three-run shot to straightway center to trim Atlanta’s lead to one.
Elieser Hernandez, Jarlin Garcia, Adam Conley and Sergio Romo combined to keep Atlanta off the scoreboard for three innings.
The Marlins had two great opportunities to tie or go ahead in the top half of the ninth. Facing closer Luke Jackson, Miami’s first three men reached base—Jorge Alfaro infield single, Harold Ramirez single and Yadiel Rivera, attempting to bunt the runners over, reached on an infield single as the baseball went over Jackson’s head.
Zero outs.— FOX Sports South (@FOXSportsSouth) July 7, 2019
WATCH THIS THROW FROM CHARLIE CULBERSON. pic.twitter.com/hZDMBWPccx
Charlie Culberson: 91.7 mph throw home to cut down the tying run at the plate in the 9th.— David Adler (@_dadler) July 7, 2019
Jorge Alfaro's sprint speed trying to score was 29.4 ft/sec -- way faster than the 27 ft/sec MLB average. pic.twitter.com/twbqNZ8teD
Rojas, with the bases loaded and two down, flew out to Acuña.
Closing the first half of the regular season 33-55, Miami will open the second half at Marlins Park on Friday. They welcome the New York Mets for a three-game weekend duel. The starting rotation alignment has yet to be announced, but first pitch is set for 7:10 p.m.
Marlins vs. Braves box score (MLB.com)
FINAL-— Brandon Liguori (@BrandonRLiguori) July 7, 2019
Marlins had bases loaded with zero outs in ninth and bases loaded with two outs, but fail to complete comeback. On to All-Star Week.
W: Dallas Keuchel (2-2)
L: Trevor Richards (3-10)
S: Luke Jackson (14)
Miami (33-55): 3 | 9 | 0
Atlanta (54-37): 4 | 9 | 0@fishstripes
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