MIAMI -- No matter the setting -- SunTrust Park or Marlins Park -- the Marlins have not been able to slow down the Braves or rookie Ronald Acuna Jr.It was more of the same on Thursday night, as Acuna belted a home run and left-hander Sean Newcomb threw six innings
MIAMI -- No matter the setting -- SunTrust Park or Marlins Park -- the Marlins have not been able to slow down the Braves or rookie Ronald Acuna Jr.
It was more of the same on Thursday night, as Acuna belted a home run and left-hander Sean Newcomb threw six innings as the Braves rolled in sending the Marlins to a 5-0 loss in the series opener in Miami.
"He's swung the bat good against us, especially in this last series at their place," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "It's a good lineup. It's tough to get through there. They give you some different looks."
There was no benches-clearing drama like there was when the clubs last met on Aug. 15 at SunTrust Park, but Acuna was struck by a pitch. It came in the sixth inning on an 0-2 Javy Guerra fastball, clocked at 93.9 mph.
"Yeah, it's going to get a lot of attention," Guerra said. "I'm pretty aware. But 0-2, everybody knows I'm not trying to go in there. I'm not trying to hurt the kid. The ball slipped. I was trying to go up. It went in there. Sometimes it happens. It's part of it, I guess."
In the sixth inning, Newcomb plunked Marlins rookie Brian Anderson with a 93.8-mph fastball, prompting warnings to be issued to both benches. Aside from the two incidents, nothing rivaled the previous dustup when Acuna was pegged by Jose Urena, who was slapped with a six-game suspension.
Atlanta has dominated the season series, taking 13 of 16 while averaging 6.9 runs per game.
"That's what is bothering me right now," Marlins infielder Miguel Rojas said. "It's not the hit-by-pitches. It's a matter of we're not playing good against this team. They're at the top of the division, and we're trying to head there. We're trying to make strides to be on the top of the division.
"We're trying to one day be at the top of the division, and we have to be able to win against these guys. They're young. They are going to have that team for a long time, so we have to find a way to start beating them and play better baseball against them."
Acuna has feasted on Marlins pitching all season, and that continued on Thursday. In the first inning, Atlanta's rookie belted a long drive to center that was caught near the wall, projected by Statcast™ at 378 feet. But in the third, Acuna left little doubt with his 21st home run of the season. The drive was tracked at 432 feet, with an exit velocity of 105 mph.
Seven of his MLB rookie-leading 21 homers have come off the Marlins, more than double against any other opponent. He also has 18 RBIs against Miami in 16 meetings.
With Urena serving his suspension, Elieser Hernandez became the fill-in starter. The 23-year-old made his sixth big league start, and first since June 26 at Arizona.
Charlie Culberson opened the scoring for Atlanta with a two-run homer in the second.
Entering the night, Hernandez was on a pitch count of about 60, and he exited after three innings and 64 pitches. Hernandez may have gone out for the fourth, but he was hindered by a blister to his right middle finger.
"I made some mistakes," Hernandez said through an interpreter. "It's tough pitching with a blister. You don't really have control of your pitches when you're dealing with a blister."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Trailing by five runs, the Marlins built a little momentum in the sixth inning off Newcomb by loading the bases. Rafael Ortega singled and with two outs, Anderson was hit by a pitch and Starlin Castro walked. But Miami's best chance to score ended when Austin Dean grounded out to second.
"We had that one shot," Mattingly said. "We had the bases loaded with Austin up to get back into the game. We didn't get anything going."
Dean's double to lead off the fifth inning was Miami's first hit off Newcomb. The two-base hit extended Dean's hitting streak to four games.
HE SAID IT
"It's part of the game. I don't think there was any intent today. We're trying to get Acuna out. It's unfortunate that he's getting hit by pitches in dangerous zones, close to the hands. That's never a good place to get hit by a pitch. We're not trying to hit the kid. We don't to get anyone hurt. I guess they don't want us to get hurt, either. That's not good for the game, and that's not good for us as an organization." -- Rojas on the hit batters
GARCIA BRUISES RIGHT SHIN
The Marlins experienced a tough blow in the fifth inning when reliever Jarlin Garcia was struck by a comeback liner off the bat of Nick Markakis. The ball, which had an exit velocity of 105.8 mph, caught Garcia on the right shin. He left the game, and X-rays came back negative. But Mattingly noted the lefty will likely go on the disabled list.
The Marlins are expected to reinstate reliever Kyle Barraclough (low back tightness) from the DL on Friday.
"It hurts, but I'm thankful the X-rays came back negative and there are no broken bones or anything," Garcia said. More >
Dan Straily, 2-1 with a 4.02 ERA in three starts this season against the Braves, gets the nod for the Marlins to open Players' Weekend at 7:10 p.m. ET on Friday at Marlins Park. Straily will make his 21st overall start. Hard-throwing right-hander Mike Foltynewicz goes for the Braves.
Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.