One inning bites Sandy yet again as Braves mash their way to series sweep.
Looking to avoid a sweep at the hands of the Atlanta Braves, the Marlins turned to Sandy Alcantara, fresh off a feel-good 7-innings of 1-run ball against the Red Sox on 6/27.
Alas, Alcantara’s struggles would win out, as Miami’s ace would allow 4 earned over 5 innings in a 6-3 loss. With the loss, the Marlins fall to 48-37, now trailing Atlanta by 10 games in the NL East. In other dugout, Atlanta’s record of 56-27 gives them sole possession of the game’s best record and winning percentage (.675).
Right away, it seemed Atlanta would continue their 1st inning supremacy—they own a league-best +62 run differential in the game’s first frame—as NL MVP frontrunner Ronald Acuña Jr. led off the game with a single before proceeding to steal his career-best 38th base of the season. However, Alcantara proceed to retire Ozzie Albies and Austin Riley via a pop out and strikeout, respectively. A Matt Olson single and walk to Travis d’Arnaud would load the bases for Marcell Ozuna. Alcantara would get the former Marlin to rollover on a 2-0 sinker to hold Atlanta off the board in the 1st.
The Marlins would give their ace some cushion when they plated 2 against Spencer Strider in the top of the 2nd. Jonathan Davis would convert a Jesús Sánchez leadoff single into Miami’s opening salvo on an RBI-force out. Luis Arraez‘s 17th double of the season would plate Davis for Miami’s second run.
From here on out, though, the Braves would gradually take control of this game when, in the bottom half of the inning, Orlando Arcia—recently named the starting shortstop for the NL All-Star team—hit his 7th home run of the season to cut the deficit to 1.
With Alcantara pitching to a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the 5th, Michael Harris II would effectively turn his one-out single into a triple when a poor throw by Jacob Stallings on a Harris stolen base attempt ran errant into center field, allowing the Atlanta center fielder to advance to third. The ensuing wild pitch by Alcantara would bring Harris home to tie the score at 2-2.
After Acuña walked, Albies would waste no time, sending the first pitch over the right field wall for his 20th home run of the season. His 118th career long ball, Albies became just the 9th second baseman with at least 4 20-HR seasons in his 7 years in the big league.
Alcantara’s final line would read as such: 5 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 6 K (2 HR)
Through 17 starts this season, the reigning NL Cy Young award winner has a 4.93 ERA.
“They hit the two-seamer when they needed to, (Alcantara) got exposed on the bases again. Overall, I thought he did okay. High pitch count was the reason he only went 5…You ask him, he’s probably not happy about it,” said manager Skip Schumaker.
The Marlins get one back in the 7th, though, thanks to Luis Arraez’s second RBI hit of the day, bringing his batting average back up to .389. But what seemed like a still winnable game for Miami seemed to go right by the wayside when the aforementioned Travid d’Arnaud joined in on the homer parade, hitting a two-run blast of his own in the bottom of the 8th.
Lost in Atlanta’s full throttle offense was Strider, who pitched into the 7th inning for the 5th time this season en route to his 10th win. Allowing 2 runs and striking out 9 over 6 2/3 before exiting, the prior-noted Arraez single would be charged as a third run against Strider. His 12 outings of at least 9 strikeouts are the most in the Majors. No other pitcher this season has more than 8.
- Alcantara’s 9th outing this season of at least 4 runs allowed is now tied with Philadelphia’s Aaron Nola for most in the National League. In 107 2/3 innings pitched, he’s already allowed more earned runs (59) than he did in 228 2/3 last season (58).
- Jazz Chisholm Jr. was removed from Sunday’s contest due to left obliqueness soreness that he sustained during a swinging strikeout in the top of the 6th. “Any time someone grabs their side, you’re concerned,” noted manager Skip Schumaker. Chisholm had just returned from the IL at the start of the week.
- Being outscored 29-7 in the weekend series, it was the first time since 7/16-7/21/22 where Miami posted a run differential of at least minus-20 over any three-game span.
Headed back home, the Marlins will welcome the St. Louis Cardinals for a four-game series starting Monday.
Braxton Garrett (4-2, 3.53 ERA) will pitch the series opener. In two prior starts against St. Louis, Garrett has failed to make it out of the 5th inning on both occasions, posting a 7 ERA over 9 innings pitched. The Cardinals will counter with Miles Mikolas (4-5, 4.44 ERA), making his first start following a June where he allowed 20 earned runs over 29.2 IP (6.07 ERA).
First pitch from loanDepot Park is slated for 6:40 EST.