The 2021 Atlanta Braves have become known for prodigious offensive firepower, but sometimes, a team that hopes to make the postseason has to find another way to win.
On Friday, the Braves (75-65) did just that in a 6-2 win over the Miami Marlins (59-82).
Atlanta hitters did notch eight hits in the games, including doubles by Travis d’Arnaud and Freddie Freeman. But the home team didn’t notch a home run a day after Thursday’s power surge against the Nationals, instead relying on a pair of costly fifth-inning errors to ice a victory over Miami.
Trailing 2-0 on a first-inning home run by Jesus Sanchez, the Braves got the party started with d’Arnaud’s one-out double in the fifth. After Orlando Arcia drew a walk, Guillermo Heredia was hit by a pitch to load the bases ahead of a pinch hit single by Ehire Adrianza to get the Braves on the board.
Then, after a strikeout by Ozzie Albies, Jorge Soler notched an RBI single to center that proved even bigger when Bryan De La Cruz misplayed the ball to allow the bases to clear. That made the score 4-2, and Soler would score on an infield single by Freddie Freeman that also included a throwing error by Isan Diaz.
The Braves tacked on an insurance run on an eighth-inning single by Orlando Arcia, who helped provide Dansby Swanson with his first full day off all season. In his first start at shortstop for Atlanta, Arcia went 1-for-3 with a walk, an RBI and a run.
Atlanta starter Ian Anderson (7-5) got the win, striking out nine batters against five hits and two walks in five innings. The Braves’ bullpen was exceptionally sharp, as Sean Newcomb, Luke Jackson, Tyler Matzek and Will Smith combined for four scoreless innings with eight combined strikeouts and just two baserunners allowed.
The good news continued in Philadelphia, as the Phillies lost 11-2 to the Colorado Rockies. The NL East results pushed the Braves’ division lead to 4.5 games just a few days after it shrank to 1.5 games on Labor Day.
The Braves will send Charlie Morton (13-5, 3.47 ERA) to the mound for Saturday’s second game against the Marlins, who will turn to Elieser Hernandez (1-1, 3.90).