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Freeman, Braves make easy work of Marlins in series opener

Freddie Freeman’s two homers led Atlanta to a series-opening victory. Yet another Marlin hit Ronald Acuña Jr. with a pitch, but the conflict didn’t escalate.

MLB: Miami Marlins at Atlanta Braves Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Braves continue to dominate the Miami Marlins in 2019 with a familiar outcome on Tuesday night at SunTrust Park. Paced by two home runs from All-Star first baseman Freddie Freeman, the Braves secured a series-opening victory, 5-1, handing the Marlins their fourth consecutive defeat.

Miami turned to Elieser Hernandez, who hurled in six scoreless frames against the Braves at August 8. Hernandez created early drama, plunking Ronald Acuña Jr. on the very first pitch of the game. Acuña stared directly at Hernandez for a few moments before slowly walking to first base. Braves manager Brian Snitker objected when the umpires issued warnings to both teams for what he believed to be an intentional plunking, and he was ejected before play resumed.

Hernandez’s night was finished after just four innings due to a blister on the right middle finger (he also missed time in 2018 due to both fingernail and blister issues).

Left-hander Dallas Keuchel worked six effective innings, allowing a Jon Berti solo homer in the top half of the third, which put the Marlins ahead first, 1-0. Otherwise, he avoided further damage by generating lots of ground balls, including two double plays initiated by Keuchel himself.

Freeman belted his 32nd homer in the home half of the fourth inning, then his 33rd in the fifth, allowing the Braves to take a 2-1 advantage.

Luke Jackson, Shane Greene and Chris Martin each tossed a scoreless inning in relief. Former Marlins shortstop Adeiny Hechavarría finished things off with an excellent defensive play up the middle to rob Neil Walker of a base hit.

With the victory, the Braves extended their lead in the National League East to six games over the Nationals.

Hoping to avoid the 80-loss mark Wednesday night, Miami will turn to left-hander Caleb Smith. Atlanta’s probable starter Julio Teheran has coughed up just one run in 25 innings against the Marlins this season. First pitch is scheduled for 7:20 p.m. ET.

Marlins vs. Braves box score (Baseball Theater)

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