MIAMI—In a game where both teams struggled to find runs, it was a foul pole-scraping home run that wound up deciding it. Atlanta’s Adam Duvall somehow pulled on a slider away and just barely kept it fair down the left field line to bring in the pivotal run.
Both the Braves and Marlins starting pitchers—Max Fried and Daniel Castano—were locked into a pitchers’ duel, with neither side looking like they were going to let up first. Through six innings, both pitchers had given up zero runs, three hits, and two walks. It had the look and feel of a game in which the first team that scored would be the team to win it.
The defense behind Miami’s left-hander was excellent. That’s what we have been seeing throughout 2020, as batters only have a .249 BABIP against the Fish (MLB average is .283).
You can put Jon Berti ANYWHERE in the field and he'll make these impact plays pic.twitter.com/pLiXEgbDNo— Fish Stripes (@fishstripes) August 15, 2020
Unfortunately for Castano, he blinked first. In the top of the seventh inning, the 25-year-old left a changeup in the zone, which was enough for former Marlin Marcell Ozuna to turn on it for a solo home run, putting the Braves on the board first.
With things looking bleak for Miami in the 8th, Monte Harrison chose a great time to hit his first Major League home run. He sent a ball 403 feet and into the Atlanta bullpen to tie the game at 1-1.
Although it was a special moment for Harrison, he said it didn’t erase the fact that his team didn’t come out victorious.
“It was a good moment,” Harrison said. “But we didn’t win the game. So it doesn’t do much for me right now.”
Any momentum the Marlins may have felt after that home run was gone almost immediately after, however. With Brandon Kintzler on the mound for Miami in the 9th, Duvall just barely got enough of his slider to send a ball off the left field foul pole. Mark Melancon closed the door on Miami in the bottom half of the inning, picking up the save. He still hasn’t blown a save since joining the Braves last July.
Despite Fried’s dominant performance, the Marlins had their share of opportunities to put a dent in the scoreboard. A couple of baserunning gaffes prevented Miami from possibly putting up an extra run or two. In the third inning, Harrison got picked off at first base with one out. Just a couple of pitches later, Jonathan Villar hit a double that likely would have scored him.
Lewis Brinson got two hits after starting the season 0-for-12, and Harrison went 1-for-2 with a walk and no strikeouts after struggling with that during his Major League stint.
The Marlins look to pick up their first series win against Atlanta Sunday for the first time since 2017. Elieser Hernandez will be starting for Miami, while lefty Robbie Erlin will go for Atlanta. First pitch at 1:10 p.m. ET.