The Marlins and Braves are in the middle of the first of two tuneups in preparation for the regular season, starting Friday.
The top of the first inning was, for me, the end of the longest, hottest, least eventful summer in my sports-watching history. It was really a breath of fresh air to see actual baseball, despite the lack of a paying crowd. For the Marlins, well, they went down 1-2-3, with Corey Dickerson striking out swinging at a 1-2 curveball via Braves starter Mike Foltynewicz.
An eventful first at bat awaited Miami Marlins starter Jose Ureña in the form of near-40-40 guy Ronald Acuña Jr. in the bottom of the first. On a 0-1 count, Ureña played Acuña some chin music that the latter easily avoided. Soon afterward, the umpire missed an obvious strike three on a 1-2 count. Ureña didn’t come unraveled, to his credit, but he did walk the young superstar. Two batters later, Freddie Freeman hit into the shift and a tailor-made 4-6-3 double play.
Jesus Aguilar singled to lead off the second, but was stranded there as Foltynewicz made easy work of the Marlins 5-6-7 hitters. Garrett Cooper and Isan Diaz flew out, sandwiching a Harold Ramirez whiff in the middle.
Ureña walked Matt Adams with one out in the second, and Adams got to second on a ground out. Fortunately, Ureña availed himself nicely in the end by striking out Braves number seven hitter Austin Riley looking to end the frame.
The third inning is where it got interesting for the Miami Marlins. Four Foltynewicz pitches, and three home runs for the visiting Marlins. Jorge Alfaro, Miguel Rojas, and Jonathan Villar each went deep to stake the Marlins to an early lead.
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Dansby Swanson led off the third, and worked Ureña to a full count after five pitches. Ureña got the best of him on pitch number 11, getting the shortstop to line out to Corey Dickerson. Catcher Tyler Flowers and right fielder Acuña followed with back-to-back singles between the third baseman and the shortstop.
Ozzie Albies then grounded into what should have been an inning ending double play, but Diaz’ wide throw took Rojas off the bag, and led to a late relay to Aguilar. Everyone safe and only one out, Freeman grounded into his second double play of the game to end things.
Check back later for more on the Marlins first-of-two extramural tune-ups against the Braves this week.