Sandy Alcantara’s arm, Garrett Cooper’s bat and Miguel Rojas’ glove keyed a satisfying win for the Marlins on Saturday.
- Sandy Alcantara—6.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R (0 ER), 4 BB, 4 K, 21.2 CSW% (99 pitches)
- Kyle Muller—5.2 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 4 BB, 7 K, 1 HR, 32.4 CSW% (102 pitches)
Once again, there was a significant delay following the first pitch thrown to Ronald Acuña Jr. The day after Pablo López unintentionally plunked Acuña, the superstar outfielder found himself on the other side of that situation when his sharp line drive struck a person in foul territory on the third-base side who briefly required medical attention. Acuña ultimately drew a walk and reached base three total times against Alcantara.
Miami’s workhorse wielded the best fastball velocity of his starting pitching career. Statcast tracked 20 pitches at 100.0 miles per hour or higher (max velo of 100.8 mph). Most of those were sinkers, though the four-seam fastball was also a significant part of his mix after being largely ignored in his previous three starts.
In the top of the third inning, Jon Berti singled and came around to score the game’s first run with help from Alcantara’s sacrifice bunt and a Jazz Chisholm Jr. RBI single. The rally continued with a Starling Marte walk and Garrett Cooper RBI single.
The Braves chipped away at the 2-0 deficit in the bottom of the fifth. Berti’s routine fielding error put Acuña on first, and he advanced to third on Freddie Freeman’s single. Ozzie Albies stayed crazy-hot with a run-scoring single to right field, his NL-leading 59th RBI of the season.
Overall, Kyle Muller was solid for Atlanta. It was the rookie southpaw’s longest major league outing to date in terms of both innings and pitches. But Cooper sent him to the showers on a sour note, smashing a solo home run over the high right field wall.
For the first time since early April, Cooper has bumped his OPS above .800.
Several Marlins in addition to Berti had lousy days on defense. Chisholm bobbled two grounders in the early innings. Jesús Sánchez led off the seventh by missing a catch in left field. That two-base error and a Dylan Floro wild pitch that Jorge Alfaro couldn’t block set the table for a Freeman RBI single.
In between the balls in play, Floro froze Acuña for a called third strike with a perfect 3-2 fastball. Enjoy:
Yimi García converted his 13th save of the season, surpassing the total that Brandon Kintzler had as Marlins closer in 2020.
Marte keeps exercising his newfound patience at the plate with his 26th walk of 2021, surpassing his total from 2019 (the last full-length MLB season). Sánchez drew a pair of walks against Muller—that’s an encouraging development considering the concerns that many scouts had about his poor plate approach in the minors. With another hitless afternoon, Alfaro is just 2-for-his-last-33.
Floro threw 31 pitches after using 32 on Friday night. Prior to this series, he hadn’t thrown more than 27 pitches in any game this season, much less on back-to-back days.
Zach Thompson and Charlie Morton will be on the mound for Sunday’s series finale. First pitch from Morton scheduled for 1:20 p.m. ET.