For his 32nd birthday, Drew Smyly got the following: an early lead, a big day from Austin Riley and some nifty defense from Ehire Adrianza.
And the Atlanta Braves held on for a needed win.
Riley homered and drove in three runs, Smyly allowed two runs over five innings and the Braves snapped a four-game slide by beating the Miami Marlins 6-4 on Sunday.
“Anytime you get a win, it's a good feeling," Smyly said. “They're not easy. They just don't hand them out to teams. They're always a grind. ... This team has had a lot of ups and downs, but we know what we're capable of doing."
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Riley reached base five times, going 3 for 3 with a walk and getting hit by a pitch. Ender Inciarte also homered for Atlanta, his solo shot coming one inning after he entered the game as an injury replacement for Ronald Acuña Jr., who departed with what the Braves said was right pectoral soreness.
“I don't see this being lingering," Braves manager Brian Snitker said.
Starling Marte drove in three runs for the Marlins, who were bidding for their first sweep of Atlanta since 2016. Right-hander Pablo López (2-4) went only three innings, giving up four runs and six hits and seeing his ERA rise from 2.76 to 3.12.
“The Braves had a plan," López said, “and they executed it really well."
Smyly (3-3) almost got his first career RBI, in his 43rd plate appearance. He lofted a liner to center with one out in the fifth; Marte caught it, then fired home — and even after an awkward skip off the grass, Miami catcher Jorge Alfaro handed the throw and tagged out Adrianza to end the inning.
Adrianza made up for that a half-inning later.
The Marlins got two runs in the fifth off Smyly, with Marte getting an RBI single and later scoring on a wild pitch. But Smyly escaped the inning and became eligible for the birthday win when Adrianza fielded a high chopper to shortstop off the bat of Miami’s Corey Dickerson and flipped it from his glove to first in time for the third out.
Miami got a two-run single from Marte in the seventh, and he kept the Marlins within two runs with a sensational running grab to save a run and retire Kevan Smith to end the Atlanta ninth.
“He tried to keep us in the game today," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said of Marte.
But Will Smith retired the Marlins in the ninth in order, getting his 12th save and ending a three-hour, 45-minute contest.
The Braves had a total of three first-inning runs in their last 10 games. They got three on Sunday alone; Acuña Jr. extended the longest active on-base streak in the majors to 22 games with a bloop single to left to open the game, and Riley had the big hit with a two-run single.
“López had a really long inning," Smyly said.
It was López’s 14th start of the season. Against anyone other than Atlanta in the first inning, his ERA is 0.75. In two starts against the Braves, his first-inning ERA: 27.00, after giving up three runs each time.
Braves: SS Dansby Swanson, who had been Atlanta’s only player to start each of the season’s first 62 games, wasn’t in the lineup — then entered as a pinch-hitter in the eighth inning. ... OF Guillermo Heredia got his fingers pinned between the ball and his bat as he tried to bunt in the eighth inning.
Marlins: The Marlins activated LHP Trevor Rogers (7-3, 2.02) from the 10-day injured list, only one day after putting him on that list -- the indicator being a coronavirus-related concern. RHP Preston Guilmet, whose contract was selected so he could take Rogers’ spot for a day, was designated for assignment. Rogers pitches Tuesday in St. Louis. ... INF Jose Devers left Sunday with right shoulder discomfort.
It was the 51st time in Braves history that their starting pitcher was celebrating a birthday. The Braves are now 25-26 in those games, which include a loss on Ian Anderson’s 23rd birthday — a 7-2 defeat by Toronto on May 2.
Smyly is the fifth pitcher to start on his birthday this season in the majors. Anderson and Pittsburgh’s Mitch Keller took losses; Houston’s Jose Urquidy and Milwaukee’s Freddy Peralta got wins.
In games where it led at any point by at least three runs, Atlanta started 1-3. The Braves are 22-2 in those games since.
Braves: Off Monday, then play host to the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday in the opener of a two-game series. LHP Tucker Davidson (0-0, 1.53) starts for Atlanta.
Marlins: LHP Braxton Garrett (0-1, 6.43) starts for Miami on Monday in the opener of a series at St. Louis against RHP Adam Wainwright (4-5, 4.03).
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