Realmuto paves way as Marlins thump Braves

July 24th, 2018

MIAMI -- Burned by the long ball the past couple of days, it was the Marlins' turn to strike back on Tuesday afternoon vs. the Braves.
J.T. Realmuto connected on a two-run home run and drove in four runs, and crushed a three-run shot that helped power the Marlins to a 9-3 win over the Braves in the finale of a two-game set at Marlins Park.

"I don't think anybody considers us a home run team, but it's nice when you get them," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "When you can strike quickly for five runs on two swings, it's nice for us."
allowed three runs in six innings while contributing to his cause with his first career double, which started Miami's five-run fifth inning.

Realmuto and Castro each connected off , ending his tough start after 4 1/3 innings.
The Marlins typically aren't a quick-strike club, but they got the early blast from Realmuto, their All-Star catcher. Castro, their veteran second baseman, launched a towering three-run shot to left field that opened a six-run lead and flipped the script from the opener.
added an RBI single before Castro went deep.

"I told J.B., 'Keep getting on base,'" Castro said. "'I'm going to get a good pitch to hit and I'm going to drive it.' That happened like I said."
For his big blast, Castro became the first Miami player to sport the team's new "JDF16 MVP of the Game" chain. The players unveiled the oversized Marlins logo chain, which the player of the night will wear afterward. Castro said it is in honor of .

"It's the MVP player of the game," Castro said. "Every day, whoever is the hero is going to wear the chain."
On Monday, it was a two-run home run by Freddie Freeman in the first inning and a solo shot from Dansby Swanson in the second inning that helped propel the Braves to a 12-1 win.
The Marlins also were reeling from a 6-4 loss to the Rays on Sunday at Tropicana Field. Miami carried a three-run lead into the ninth, but with two outs, crushed a walk-off grand slam, snapping the Marlins' four-game winning streak.

"You worry about that one the other day," Mattingly said. "That could carry over. We had a chance to continue to build on that. The one in Tampa gets away from us and then [Monday] we get punched in the nose. That could kind of build, but obviously, it worked out for us today." 
The long ball accounted for five of the nine runs the Marlins scored off Teheran, who was at 70 pitches when he was replaced. Two of the runs were unearned.

Along with hitting his 13th homer of the season, Realmuto added a sacrifice fly and drove in a run on a fielder's choice.
"It's great being on a team that picks each other up -- offensively, defensively," Chen said. "I wish I could have pitched a little bit better than I did today. I think it was a great team win."

Double trouble: Chen, who broke in with the Orioles, isn't known for his hitting. In fact, he entered the season with just one hit. But he's shown some improvement this year, entering Tuesday 3-for-22 on the season. After striking out in the second inning, Chen made an impact with his bat leading off the fifth. The Braves had scored twice in the top half to pull within a run before Chen's double to center opened the door for a five-run inning.

Chen also scored from third on Realmuto's fielder's choice grounder to short. The Braves attempted to throw Chen out at the plate, but the pitcher scored standing. The Braves reviewed to see if catcher Tyler Flowers had applied the tag in time.
"For a moment, I thought about going to third," Chen said of his double. "But after that, I thought maybe I should just concentrate on pitching. Hitting hasn't been my strength, but I'm happy I hit a double."

With his quality start, Chen's ERA is now 2.18 in eight starts at Marlins Park. On the road, it's been drastically different -- 10.47 in eight starts.
Realmuto has a knack for timely home runs. His two-run shot to left-center in the first inning set the tone early for Miami. The All-Star catcher delivered his 13th of the season, and according to Statcast™, it was projected at 419 feet with an exit velocity of 102.7 mph and a launch angle of 28 degrees.
"They're a club we've had trouble closing out in different games over the last few years. They're a club that doesn't quit. That's what happens when you have a team at the top of the division. They're not going to stop trying to score. We were able to squash some rallies at big times." -- Mattingly, on the Braves
Off on Wednesday, the Marlins on Thursday open a four-game series against the Nationals at 7:10 p.m. ET at Marlins Park. Dan Straily, the subject of trade rumors, gets the start for Miami. In four July starts, his ERA is 2.42. His home ERA this year is 4.86.