Revisit every ATL-MIA game ahead of NLDS

October 6th, 2020

The Braves have been the gold standard in the National League East, having won three straight division titles. The Marlins are a team on the rise, riding an emotional wave and determined to prove people wrong.

The two are no strangers, having played 10 times in the regular season, with Atlanta winning six contests.

While these teams know a lot about each other, they will be playing their NL Division Series at a neutral site -- Minute Maid Park in Houston.

Before Game 1 in the best-of-five series gets underway on Tuesday, here’s a look back at the 10 games these rivals have played already.

Friday, Aug. 14
Marlins 8, Braves 2 at Marlins Park
The headline: López fans career-high eight

At a point in the season when three-fifths of the rotation was on the injured list after testing positive for COVID-19, Pablo López assumed the role of temporary ace. The right-hander threw six innings, allowing two runs while striking out a career-high eight. The outing didn’t start off so promising with Travis d’Arnaud homering in the first inning. But the Marlins' offense received a three-RBI day from Jesús Aguilar.

“You’ve got a bunch of grinders,” left fielder Matt Joyce said. “You’ve got a bunch of fighters. You also have a bunch of guys that are having fun.”

Saturday, Aug. 15
Braves 2, Marlins 1 at Marlins Park
The headline: Duvall’s clutch homer backs Fried’s dominance

Adam Duvall’s ninth-inning homer preserved Max Fried’s strong start and helped the Braves snap a season-long, four-game losing streak. Duvall’s go-ahead homer off Brandon Kintzler hit off the left-field foul pole. Fried scattered four hits over 6 1/3 scoreless innings to lower his NL-best ERA to 1.24.

“That was a huge win there, that’s for sure,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “We needed it. [Max Fried] put us on his shoulders again tonight. He was really, really good.”

Sunday, Aug. 16
Braves 4, Marlins 0 at Marlins Park
The headline: Markakis helps Braves end trip on a good note

Nick Markakis drove in three runs and five pitchers combined to complete a shutout for the Braves, who claimed a second straight win to complete a 4-5 road trip. Robbie Erlin tossed four scoreless innings in the first of the spot starts he made for Atlanta, which would gain sole possession of first place for good one day after ending this series in Miami.

“We were a little rough there for a short period of time,” Snitker said. “This was good. To play two ballgames like we did, yesterday and today, they were more indicative of what we’re capable of from both sides of the ball.”

Monday, Sept. 7
Marlins 5, Braves 4 at Truist Park
The headline: The Captain delivers in the 10th

The Braves rallied to tie it in the ninth inning on Duvall’s home run off Kintzler. In extra innings, Miguel Rojas came through with a go-ahead RBI double off lefty A.J. Minter. Rojas, the team’s unofficial captain, went 4-for-5. Nick Vincent kept the Braves off the board in the 10th to log the save. The win moved Miami’s record back to .500 (18-18), and 3 1/2 games back of the Braves and 1 1/2 behind the second-place Phillies.

José Ureña, who tested positive for COVID-19 the first week of the season, made his first start. He overcame some rust to have a solid outing, although he did hit Ronald Acuña Jr. with a pitch. The two, of course, have some history.

“Remember, he hadn’t pitched in a Minor League game this year,” Rojas said, noting Ureña was throwing in scrimmages to get ready. “For his first start, I think he did really well.”

Tuesday, Sept. 8
Marlins 8, Braves 0 at Truist Park
The headline: Flamethrowing Sixto the ‘total package’

The Braves got their first look at rookie sensation and Marlins No. 1 prospect Sixto Sánchez, who was the story of the night. The 22-year-old struck out six in six innings, scattering three hits with one walk. The bullpen picked up the rest, throwing three scoreless innings, yielding just one hit and one walk.

Joyce, Jorge Alfaro and Garrett Cooper each homered.

Sánchez came out throwing heat, striking out Acuña on a 100.2-mph fastball in the first inning.

“You could sense the excitement because we’ve been talking about Sixto for a couple of years,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said.

Snitker certainly took notice: “I’m telling you what, if he stays healthy, he’s going to give people fits for a long time.”

Wednesday, Sept. 9
Braves 29, Marlins 9 at Truist Park
The headline: Braves set NL standard in 29-run outburst

The Braves set a modern-era NL record with the 29 runs tallied in this outburst, which featured Duvall’s second three-homer game within a span of eight days. Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman drove in a career-high six runs and reached the 1,500-hit milestone with a two-run homer in the third inning off Marlins reliever Jordan Yamamoto, who was charged with 13 runs (12 earned) over 2 2/3 innings.

“That was pretty amazing to be a part of,” Freeman said. “I’ve never seen an offense click like that.”

Monday, Sept. 21
Braves 5, Marlins 4 at Truist Park
The headline: Key play in the ninth helps Braves near NL East title

Austin Riley capped a four-run first inning with a two-run double and also unknowingly played a role in the key defensive play that thwarted the Marlins’ rally attempt in the ninth. Mark Melancon fielded Joyce’s chopper behind the mound and made a quick throw to record an out at first base. Because Riley had moved toward the mound to field the ball, the speedy Monte Harrison aggressively attempted to go from first to an unmanned third on the play. But a heads-up Dansby Swanson broke toward the bag and secured Freeman’s pinpoint feed before tagging out Harrison.

“I didn’t realize Riley didn’t give me any credit and was right on my heels when that ball went up in the air,” Melancon said. “If he’d have just stayed at his position, we wouldn’t have had that issue. I guess he had no confidence in me.”

Tuesday, Sept. 22
Braves 11, Marlins 1 at Truist Park
The headline: Braves win third straight NL East title

Top offseason acquisition Marcell Ozuna hit two of the Braves’ five home runs and top NL MVP Award candidate Freeman accounted for one of the others. As for Bryse Wilson, he tossed five scoreless innings in his first start of a season he primarily spent at the alternate training site.

“They're pretty good,” Mattingly said. “Obviously, they've shown they're a tough team to deal with, as far as their offense. They've been banged up a little bit, and still they keep throwing arms at you. They've been, obviously, the class of the division over the last few years, and at different times, over long periods of time. They're the gold standard, the guys you got to go after.”

Wednesday, Sept. 23
Braves 9, Marlins 4 at Truist Park
The headline: Fried rolls left ankle in win

Making his second start since returning from the injured list, Fried had to exit after turning his left ankle in the first inning. The Marlins hit a pair of solo shots -- the only homers Fried allowed all year -- in the first. But the Braves chased Sánchez after just three innings and then staged a five-run fourth that was highlighted by Swanson’s three-run homer.

Thursday, Sept. 24
Marlins 4, Braves 2 at Truist Park
The headline: López, Wallach combine helps move closer to clinching

After the Braves took the first three games of the series, the Marlins salvaged the finale. López again came up big. The right-hander also gained some redemption, because he was on the losing end of the Braves’ 29-9 rout on Sept. 9.

López threw five shutout innings, striking out six. With the win, the Marlins moved to the cusp of clinching a playoff berth. They did so the following night, beating the Yankees.

In his final three starts, López worked with catcher Chad Wallach. The right-hander had a 1.56 ERA in those starts.

The win came with drama as the Braves threatened and scored twice in the eighth. Kintzler inherited a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the eighth, and recorded the first six-out save of his career.

“These are stressful games,” Mattingly said. “I don’t think there’s any getting around it.”