Marlins rally in ninth, stun Braves 5-4 to avoid sweep
ATLANTA (AP) — Garrett Cooper picked a great time to break out of his slump.
Cooper came through with a two-out, two-run double that capped a stunning five-run ninth inning by the Miami Marlins, who avoided a sweep with a 5-4 victory over the Atlanta Braves in a game delayed more than three hours Thursday by inclement weather.
Kyle Wright and four relievers held Miami scoreless until the ninth, but the Marlins overcame a 4-0 deficit against Braves closer A.J. Minter.
Yuli Gurriel, Avisaíl García and Jazz Chisholm had run-scoring singles to knock out Minter (1-3), who retired only two of the seven hitters he faced. Jesse Chavez came in with two runners aboard to face Cooper, who was hitless in four at-bats and mired in a .154 (6 for 39) slump.
Cooper was miffed when a 2-1 pitch was called a strike but he quickly shook it off. Chavez went with a sinker, looking to end the game, but Cooper drove it the opposite way to right-center for a double that brought home the tying and winning runs.
“It's been a rough week to 10 days,” Cooper said. “But I came out of it with a big hit.”
A.J. Puk (2-0) claimed the win. Dylan Floro bounced back from a rough outing the night before, pitching a perfect ninth for his first save.
The Marlins had three run-scoring hits in the ninth with two outs.
“This is big,” said García, who came through as a pinch hitter. “We had a rough night last night. To come back and get a win in the ninth is a big confidence boost to the team.”
The Braves scored all of their four runs in the fifth inning despite getting only two balls out of the infield.
A pair of walks by Matt Barnes (1-1), a bunt single from Vaughn Grissom and a defensive blunder by Miami shortstop Garrett Hampson led to a big inning of small ball that broke a scoreless duel.
The Marlins had a chance to limit the damage when Ronald Acuña Jr. grounded one sharply up the middle. Second baseman Luis Arraez made a nifty backhanded grab behind the bag and flipped to shortstop Garrett Hampson to get started on a possible double play.
Hampson, knowing the speedy Acuña was chugging down the line, tried to barehand the toss to make a quicker throw. He dropped the ball instead for an error that left everyone safe.
The game began at lunchtime on a cool, drizzly day. The teams managed to get in three innings before the sprinkles suddenly turned to heavy rain after the Braves took the field to begin the fourth. The threat of additional rain led to a three-hour, one-minute delay.
The starting pitchers, Miami's Braxton Garrett and Atlanta's Wright, didn't return when play finally resumed.
Garrett retired the first seven Atlanta hitters before surrendering his lone hit on a single by Pillar.
Wright had a bit more stress, starting each inning with a baserunner on a pair of singles and a walk. But the right-hander struck out six, including the side in the third in what turned out to be his final frame.
“It was a weird day all around,” Marlins manager Skip Schumaker said. “We were able to kind of steal a win.”
The Braves may have to consider some changes at the back end of their bullpen.
Minter has been charged with 10 earned runs on 10 hits over his last four appearances, covering 3 2/3 innings, pushing his ERA to 8.53.
RIGHT BACK OUT THERE.
Schumaker had no hesitation about going with Floro in the ninth, even with his struggles the night before in a 6-4 defeat.
Floro gave up four runs in the eighth while retiring only one hitter Wednesday.
“You don't want guys to sit on it,” the manager said. “You want to get them back out there.”
Florio breezed through a 1-2-3 ninth with two strikeouts.
FAMILY AND FRIENDS.
The announced attendance was 32,196, but less than 5,000 fans hung around after the rain delay.
The top three decks were largely empty for the final six innings.
Braves RHP Raisel Iglesias was set to begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Gwinnett on Thursday. Iglesias has been sidelined all season with a sore right shoulder after being shut down in the final week of spring training. He had been projected as the Atlanta closer, a role that Minter took over.
Marlins: Return home to begin a weekend series against the Chicago Cubs. LHP Jesus Luzardo (2-1, 3.62 ERA) is set to go in the opener Friday against RHP Marcus Stroman (2-2, 2.17) of the Cubs.
Braves: Head to New York to face the Mets in a four-game series. LHP Max Fried (1-0, 0.60 ERA) will pitch the opener for Atlanta against LHP David Peterson (1-3, 7.36).
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