ATLANTA -- A pair of homers during a four-run first inning provided early comfort for Marlins right-hander Jose Urena, who proved to be nearly flawless through six innings in a 4-1 win over the Braves on Sunday afternoon at SunTrust Park.
Coming off a pair of losses to open the weekend set, the Marlins quickly marred right-hander Lucas Sims' second career start with home runs from Marcell Ozuna and J.T. Realmuto before the game's second out was recorded. The four-run first was more than enough for Urena, who was perfect through three innings and allowed just one run on three hits over six innings.
"That is the best thing that can happen to a starting pitcher, when you know your team takes care of you like that," said Urena, who improved to 10-5 with a 3.70 ERA. "You've got the lead, four runs. You just have to go out there and do your thing."
The homers by Ozuna and Realmuto gave Urena all the support he needed. Miami has now gone back-to-back four times this year, with the most recent on June 10 at Pittsburgh.
"Sometimes, we've been up and down," Ozuna said of the offense. "Some days, one of my teammates can do it. One of those days, I can do it. That's the biggest thing for winning."
Sims made a nice recovery by giving up only four more hits after the first and keeping the Marlins scoreless over the remainder of his six innings. But the early deficit proved to be too significant for the Braves, who didn't score until the sixth. Pinch-hitter Jace Peterson doubled and scored on a single by Ender Inciarte, who earlier in the game extended his current Major League-best hitting streak to 12 games.
"You can't go out there and not execute pitches like that [in the first inning]," Sims said. "It kind of sets the table. I put us behind the eight ball, and I can't be doing that."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Back-to-back: Sims encountered immediate trouble when he hit Giancarlo Stanton in the left thigh with a first-pitch fastball, then issued a five-pitch walk to Christian Yelich. This set the stage for Ozuna to jump on a hanging curveball and send it over the left-center-field wall for his 26th homer of the season. The three-run shot traveled a Statcast-projected 386 feet.
Realmuto followed by jumping on a center-cut slider that went 388 feet, with a 102.7-mph exit velocity.
Thwarted threat: After Urena needed just 33 pitches to complete three perfect innings, Inciarte opened the fourth with an opposite-field double. Freddie Freeman drew a one-out walk, but the threat ended when Nick Markakis produced a sharp grounder (103.8-mph exit velocity) that Mike Aviles fielded to begin an inning-ending double play.
"He's pretty good," Braves manager Brian Snitker said of Urena. "He's got a live arm. He's a good pitcher. We just couldn't get anything going against him."
"It was nice to get the lead early, and then a quick few innings there [from Urena]," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "The first three, he gets rolling and his pitch count is down. Then he gets the big double play with Markakis [in the fourth]. There's a little momentum. That kind of put him back in order."
"He's not Freddie Freeman yet. It's just another young player that is learning on the job, and this is a pretty good league." -- Snitker, on recently promoted second baseman Ozzie Albies, who narrowly missed his second career home run when he flew out to the left-center-field wall in the third inning and then flew out to deep center in the sixth
"It's different because you see that guy all the time, behind home plate. That felt a little weird, but he did a good job." -- Urena, on seeing catcher Realmuto making his first start at first base More >
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Stanton has hit 34 of his 36 home runs in 2017 as Miami's right fielder. Braves right fielders have totaled 26 homers since the start of the 2015 season.
Derek Dietrich collected his 16th double of the season in the Marlins' sixth inning after a call was overturned. Dietrich ripped the ball high off the right-field wall, and Markakis delivered a strong throw to second, with shortstop Johan Camargo applying the tag. Dietrich was ruled out, but Miami challenged. After a review of one minute and 15 seconds, the call was overturned.
Marlins: Miami opens a four-game road series against Washington at 7:05 p.m. ET on Monday. Left-hander Chris O'Grady (2-1, 5.40 ERA) makes his sixth start, and second straight vs. the Nationals. Washington is tentatively scheduled to start right-hander Max Scherzer, who threw one inning at Miami last week before exiting due to a sore neck. Scherzer hit a three-run homer in that game.
Braves:Julio Teheran will take the SunTrust Park mound when Atlanta opens a two-game set against the Phillies at 7:35 p.m. ET on Tuesday. Teheran has given up a career-high 27 homers this season, including three during the fifth inning of his July 28 start in Philadelphia.
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