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Homers from Inciarte, Acuña Jr. haunt Marlins in loss to Braves

The Braves hit the 70-win mark and bolstered their lead in the NL East, but the Fish can hold their heads high after wrapping up a competitive four-game series.

MLB: Atlanta Braves at Miami Marlins Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

A three-run fourth inning and three shutdown innings from their up-and-down bullpen sparked the Braves to a 5-4, come-from-behind victory over the Marlins on Sunday. The teams split what was a very entertaining four-game series at Marlins Park.

Héctor Noesí ran into an early hiccup in the opening frame. Ronald Acuña Jr. and Ozzie Albies reached base safely, allowing Freddie Freeman to drive home Acuña Jr. with an RBI single to left, giving the Braves an early 1-0 lead.

Mike Foltynewicz couldn’t preserve that advantage for long. After Jon Berti walked and Isan Díaz set down an infield bunt single, red-hot Starlin Castro smacked a two-out RBI single to right. Harold Ramirez followed with two-run double to left, putting the Marlins up 3-1.

Noesí worked quickly in the second and third, but ran into trouble in the fourth. He walked Freeman and Josh Donaldson to open the inning, but came back to punch out Johan Camargo and Charlie Culberson. Unfortunately, Ender Inciarte ripped a three-run home run to right just out of Brian Anderson’s reach, putting the Braves back in front, 4-3. Continuing to punish the Fish, Acuña Jr. extended the lead to 5-3 with a solo homer into the left field seats. That was remarkably the eighth time that the 21-year-old has gone deep against Miami in 15 games.

Noesí managed to pitch six innings, surrendering five earned runs, walking three and striking out a career-best eight hitters. Overall, a similar experience to his Marlins debut in New York on Tuesday.

Jorge Alfaro’s infield single in the sixth cut the Braves’ lead to 5-4. Foltynewicz’s day was finished after retiring Jon Berti on a groundout to third, allowing four earned runs, while setting down seven via the strikeout.

Chris Martin pitched a clean seventh, despite a Garrett Cooper single with two down. Sean Newcomb, who took the loss Saturday night in the 10th inning, was held responsible for the eighth. Newcomb struck out Harold Ramirez and Alfaro, but produced back-to-back walks to Lewis Brinson and Curtis Granderson. Newcomb was replaced by Anthony Swarzak, who got Berti to groundout to third.

With a chance to notch a save in the ninth, Braves manager Brian Snitker turned to Luke Jackson, due in large part to the recent workload of Shane Greene.

Isan Díaz began with a high pop fly to right, in what appeared as an easy out for Acuña Jr. However, since Acuna played at a “no doubles” depth, the baseball dropped in front. Díaz hesitated for a brief moment, trying to run back to first, but Acuña Jr. fired a bullet to Freddie Freeman for the out.

Cooper continued the inning with an infield single, beating Camargo’s throw to first. Starlin Castro, who closed the four-game set hitting 11-for-19 (.579), extended his offensive surge with a single past the glove of Albies at second, bringing Ramirez to the dish with runners on the corners, whose fly out to Inciarte ended the contest.

Similar to Atlanta, Miami’s relievers worked efficiently. Jarlin García, Tyler Kinley and José Quijada combined to toss three scoreless innings.

The Marlins, at 44-73, will continue the homestand, welcoming the Los Angeles Dodgers for a three-game weekday series Tuesday night to Thursday afternoon. Clayton Kershaw will get the ball for the Dodgers. In Kershaw’s lone start vs. Miami this season (July 20), the left-hander worked six scoreless frames, striking out 10 and allowing just two hits. Don Mattingly will turn to Jordan Yamamoto, still seeking his first win since July 16 vs. San Diego. Yamamoto’s first career outing against Los Angeles on July 21 was not pretty (4.0 IP, 5 ER, 2 HR). First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. ET.

Braves vs. Marlins box score (Baseball Theater)

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