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Braves earn 1st win by rallying past Marlins

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MIAMI — The Atlanta Braves gathered on the field for hugs and high fives, executing a flawless postgame celebration despite a lack of practice.

“It’s nice to touch people’s hands for once,” said first baseman Freddie Freeman, still grinning 20 minutes later. “It’s a nice little two-ton boulder off our shoulders.”

Adonis Garcia drove in three runs in the final three innings and the Braves rallied for their first victory of the year after nine consecutive losses, beating the Miami Marlins 6-3 on Friday night.

The Braves managed just one hit in the first six innings, trailed 3-0 in the seventh and appeared on the verge of falling to 0-10, which would have matched the worst start in franchise history in 1988.

“A three-ulcer night,” manager Fredi Gonzalez said.

The comeback began with three consecutive hits in the seventh, including a double by Garcia to drive in the first Atlanta run. Nick Markakis‘ RBI single in the eighth made it 3-all, and Garcia’s two-run double put the Braves ahead.

“It’s an extremely important victory, not just because it was our first one, but because we were able to come from behind,” Garcia said through a translator.

Alexi Ogando (1-0) pitched two innings. Ogando and four other relievers combined for 4 2-3 scoreless innings.

“It’s almost like a playoff win for us,” Freeman said. “You hate to say it was almost a must win, but it was almost a must win.”

Freeman singled and scored while hiking his average to .107.

Miami’s Marcell Ozuna had three hits, but struck out with the bases loaded against Arodys Vizcaino to end the eighth. Vizcaino went 1 1-3 innings and retired J.T. Realmuto on a groundout with two on in the ninth for the save.

Even though Gonzalez’s pitching changes worked, the manager second-guessed himself afterward, saying he asked too much from Vizcaino.

“I’m not real happy about my usage of the bullpen,” he said. “I don’t like putting players in positions where they might hurt themselves, and Vizcaino throwing 35 pitches doesn’t sit well with me.”

Braves starter Williams Perez allowed eight hits and three runs in 4 1-3 innings. After two starts he has an ERA of 7.00.

David Phelps (2-1) allowed two runs in one inning and was part of a meltdown by the Marlins’ bullpen, which hit two batters in a four-run eighth.

“It was one of those games,” manager Don Mattingly said. “We didn’t get the outs that we needed.”

Christian Yelich had three hits for Miami to raise his average to .429.

Marlins newcomer Wei-Yin Chen, making his second start of the year, allowed two runs in 6 1-3 innings. Chen hadn’t pitched since opening day, when he was hit on the throwing elbow by a comebacker but stayed in the game, but he hardly looked rusty.

In the first 6 1-3 innings he allowed only one hit and faced the minimum, but three consecutive hits sent him packing.

The Marlins, starting a seven-game homestand, fell to 0-3 this year at home. The Braves improved to 26-12 at Marlins Park.

FIELDING WOES

Third baseman Garcia committed back to back errors in the third inning, but they didn’t lead to any runs. Garcia has four errors this season.

“The game didn’t start the way I wanted,” Garcia said, “but luckily baseball is a game of opportunities, and I got more opportunities to help the team.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Marlins: LHP Mike Dunn, who is on the DL with a strained left forearm, said he underwent a second MRI that reconfirmed the initial diagnosis of inflammation. “It’s just a matter of giving it rest,” Dunn said. There is no timetable yet for him to begin throwing.

UP NEXT

Braves RHP Bud Norris (0-2, 6.00) is scheduled to face RHP Tom Koehler (0-1, 2.84) on Saturday. Norris has a 6.18 ERA in five career starts against Miami.

Brewers have 3 positive COVID tests at alternate site

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
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MILWAUKEE — The Brewers had two players and a staff member test positive for the coronavirus at their alternate training site in Appleton, Wisconsin.

Milwaukee president of baseball operations David Stearns confirmed the positive results Saturday and said they shouldn’t impact the major league team. Teams are using alternate training sites this season to keep reserve players sharp because the minor league season was canceled due to the pandemic.

Stearns said the positive tests came Monday and did not name the two players or the staff member. Players must give their permission for their names to be revealed after positive tests.

The entire camp was placed in quarantine.

“We have gone through contact tracing,” Stearns said. “We do not believe it will have any impact at all on our major league team. We’ve been fortunate to get through this season relatively unscathed in this area. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to get all the way there at our alternate site.”

Milwaukee entered Saturday one game behind the Reds and Cardinals for second place in the NL Central, with the top two teams qualifying for the postseason.

The Brewers still will be able to take taxi squad players with them on the team’s trip to Cincinnati and St. Louis in the final week of the season. He said those players have had repeated negative tests and the team is “confident” there would be no possible spread of the virus.

“Because of the nature of who these individuals were, it’s really not going to affect the quarantine group at all,” Stearns said. “We’re very fortunate that the group of players who could potentially be on a postseason roster for us aren’t interacting all that much with the individuals that tested positive.”