ATLANTA (AP) — Ozzie Albies wonders sometimes if Charlie Morton is getting better the older he gets.
“There’s only one Charlie, and that’s him,” Albies said. “He’s the best. He goes out there and competes every day. I like what he does for our team.”
Morton pitched seven strong innings, Albies homered twice and the Atlanta Braves beat the Miami Marlins 7-4 on Tuesday night.
One night after Spencer Strider took a no-hitter into the eighth in an 11-0 victory, the 39-year-old Morton (3-2) allowed three hits and one run with two walks and a season-high nine strikeouts. He retired 13 of 14 batters before Jon Berti singled with two outs in the seventh. Morton threw a season-high 108 pitches, 66 for strikes, and lowered his ERA to 2.76.
His performance was the third straight dominant outing by an Atlanta starter, following Max Fried and Strider.
“For me as a baseball fan, I like watching that and as a teammate and friend I like watching that, pulling for guys and seeing guys develop at the big-league level and have success at the big-league level,” Morton said. “I want to be a part of a good pitching staff.”
The five-time defending NL East champion Braves have won 10 of 12 against Miami, which got an inside-the-park homer from Yuli Gurriel in the ninth off Jesse Chavez. Gurriel scored on a head-first slide. Left fielder Kevin Pillar crashed into the left-field wall trying to make the play, was checked by a trainer and stayed in the game.
Chavez struck out Jorge Soler to end the game with runners on first and second.
Albies’ first homer made it 5-1 in the sixth off Andrew Nardi. Eddie Rosario and Albies hit back-to-back long balls in the eighth off Tanner Scott, the sixth Miami pitcher. Albies, a switch-hitter, batted from the right side both times he connected. It was Albies’ eighth career multi-homer game and his first since June 30, 2021 against the New York Mets.
“I’m just going up there competing against the pitcher and putting the barrel on the ball,” Albies said. “That’s what I’m doing.”
Atlanta took a 4-1 lead in the fourth on RBI singles by Vaughn Grissom and Sam Hilliard and a run-scoring double by Pillar. Marlins manager Skip Schumaker pulled Bryan Hoeing (0-1) with two runners in scoring position, and Steven Okert got Matt Olson to pop up and end the threat.
Hoeing, making his second career start, allowed four runs in 3 2/3 innings.
“The first two (innings) were good,” Schumaker said. “The (velocity) was up, the movement was really good. I felt like the last two (innings), the velo was a little down and the movement was a little down, and they took advantage a little bit on him. Unlike Morton, he had a lot of balls in the air. Morton had a lot of balls on the ground.”
Jazz Chisholm Jr.’s fourth homer sailed 418 feet to right-center and made it 1-all in the third.
Atlanta went ahead in the first when Ronald Acuña Jr. doubled on the first Miami pitch, stole third and scored on Austin Riley’s single. Acuña had another stolen base in the seventh to push his majors-leading total to 14.
Dylan Lee gave up Bryan De La Cruz’s RBI single and Collin McHugh allowed Avisaíl García’s RBI single to trim the Atlanta lead to 5-3 in the eighth.
Marlins: 2B Luis Arráez, who leads the majors with a .444 batting average, was out of the lineup for the third straight day after fouling a ball off his knee over the weekend in Cleveland. Schumaker said he hopes Arráez will be able to play on Wednesday.
Braves: SS Orlando Arcia had a cast removed from his left wrist and is wearing a splint. He said he hopes to return early next month. … Manager Brian Snitker said RHP Raisel Iglesias will throw Thursday for the second time this week, either in live batting practice or a rehab appearance. The closer has been on the injured list all season with a right shoulder strain. … Snitker said CF Michael Harris II, last season’s NL Rookie of the Year, will begin a rehab appearance Wednesday with Triple-A Gwinnett. Harris has been on the IL since April 7 with a lower back strain. … McHugh (right shoulder inflammation) was reinstated from the IL, and LHP Danny Young was optioned to Triple-A Gwinnett.
Marlins RHP Sandy Alcantara (1-2, 5.47 ERA), last year’s NL Cy Young Award winner, will face RHP Bryce Elder (2-0, 1.14) as the series continues on Wednesday night.
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