Marcell Ozuna believes a season-high nine extra-base hits is a sure sign the Atlanta Braves’ bats are returning to their World Series championship form.
Ozuna hit two home runs as part of the barrage in Atlanta’s 6-3 win over the Miami Marlins on Sunday, giving the Braves their first winning homestand of the season.
“Everything is pulling together,” Ozuna said. “I think we have a good group and we are champions.”
Of the Braves’ 11 hits, six were doubles and three were homers. Ozuna’s second homer of the game, his 10th of the season, traveled 458 feet into the upper left-field seats in the third. It was Atlanta’s longest homer of the season.
“We’re starting to come around,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “We have been for a few days.”
Austin Riley had two hits and drove in two runs for Atlanta. Ozuna and Riley hit back-to-back homers off Elieser Hernández in the first inning. Ozzie Albies and William Contreras hit back-to-back doubles to produce a run in the second.
Riley and Matt Olson delivered run-scoring doubles in consecutive at-bats in the fifth.
Progress for Atlanta’s hitters has come slowly, hitting just .202 in day games before the offensive breakout capped a 4-3 homestand. The Braves improved to 5-12 in day games.
Miami’s Jorge Soler provided all of the team’s runs by hitting two homers. Max Fried (5-2) gave up the first of those in the first inning before posting five consecutive scoreless innings.
In the fifth, Fried gave up back-to-back singles to Willians Astudillo and Nick Fortes before striking out Jon Berti and Jazz Chisholm Jr. Fried walked Soler to load the bases before ending the inning on Garret Cooper’s weak grounder to the mound.
Overall, the left-hander gave up six hits with three walks and five strikeouts in six innings.
“I definitely didn’t feel like I had great fastball command,” Fried said. “… The offense obviously exploding, a bunch of homers, took the pressure off.”
Kenley Jansen had two strikeouts in the ninth for his 12th save with Atlanta.
Soler’s second HR, a two-run shot and his 11th homer of the season, came off of Jackson Stephens in the seventh. He’s hit three homers this season against his former Atlanta teammates, so Snitker was glad to see Ozuna, a former Marlins player, return the favor.
“Finally we pulled out a former team card and put it to good use,” Snitker said. “Jorge has tortured us with it.”
Hernández (2-5) allowed four runs in four innings. He gave up three homers, raising his season total to 14 in 43 2/3 innings.
The Marlins fell to 12-7 against NL East teams and lost two of three to Atlanta to end their streak of four series wins against division opponents.
Braves rookie Michael Harris, who was called up for his debut on Saturday, made a diving catch of Cooper’s sinking liner to center field to open the fourth and drew an ovation from fans.
Braves: Called up RHP Jesús Cruz from Triple-A Gwinnett. Cruz, 27, was signed by Atlanta to a minor league contract on April 6 after being released by St. Louis. The reliever posted a 2.84 ERA with 20 strikeouts and only one walk in 11 games with Gwinnett. … LHP Tucker Davidson was optioned to Gwinnett. He was 1-2 with a 6.46 ERA in four games, including three starts, with Atlanta. … RHP Tyler Thornburg, who had a 3.86 ERA in nine games, was released.
Marlins: Fortes remained in the game after being hit on his helmet by a pitch from Stephens to open the seventh. … OF Avisaíl García returned from the COVID-19 injured list but did not play. IF Joe Dunand was designated for assignment to clear a roster spot for García. … RHP Cody Poteet (right elbow) was placed on the 15-day injured list. … 3B/OF Brian Anderson (lower back spasms) missed his second consecutive game. … Chisholm (sore left hamstring) returned after missing four games.
Braves: RHP Mike Soroka (torn right Achilles) has departed for the team’s minor league facility in North Port, Florida, where he will continue to prepare for a rehabilitation assignment. Soroka, recovering from his second Achilles injury, hopes to return to the Braves as early as late July. He has not pitched in a game since August 2020.
Marlins: RHP Pablo López (4-2, 2.04) will make his first career start at Colorado when Miami opens a three-game series on Monday against RHP Ryan Feltner (0-1, 5.40). López is 2-0 with a 3.38 ERA in two career home starts against the Rockies.
Braves: Rookie RHP Spencer Strider (1-1, 2.22) will make his first start in the majors when he faces Arizona RHP Zac Gallen (3-0, 2.22) as Atlanta begins a seven-game trip on Monday night. Strider, 23, has pitched in relief in each of his 11 games this season but was a starter in the minors and competed for a spot in the rotation in spring training.
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