By The Sports Xchange
FORT BRAGG, N.C. — Adam Conley pitched six shutout innings, and the Miami Marlins perked up on offense to defeat the Atlanta Braves 5-2 Sunday night in an historic event on the Army base at Fort Bragg.
It was the first regular-season game in any major professional sport to be played on an active U.S. military base. The game was set up to honor military personnel on the Fourth of July holiday weekend.
The game was played in front of an announced crowd of 12,582 at the hastily configured facility. Tickets for the game were free, but they were distributed only to active service personnel.
Conley (5-5) was spectacular in limiting the Braves to four hits and one walk. He struck out two.
David Phelps pitched the seventh, and Fernando Rodney worked the eighth in only his second appearance since joining the Marlins in a trade. A.J. Ramos closed it out in the ninth despite giving up two runs.
Miami broke ahead with two runs in the fifth inning and then scored a run in each of the last three innings, including J.T. Realmuto’s home run in the ninth.
Realmuto, Martin Prado and Christian Yelich all rapped three hits for the Marlins, who won for only the fourth time in 12 meetings with Atlanta this year.
Conley, who threw eight shutout innings against the Braves on June 22, was in a groove again after his string of 12 scoreless innings was snapped in a recent outing against the Detroit Tigers. He is 3-0 all-time vs. Atlanta.
Realmuto scored three runs. Prado’s seventh-inning single and Derek Dietrich’s sacrifice fly in the eighth also accounted for runs.
Freddie Freeman and Erick Aybar, who drove in a ninth-inning run with a double, each had two hits for the Braves. Pinch hitter A.J. Pierzynski hit a sacrifice fly for Atlanta’s other run.
Miami shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria led off the fifth inning with a triple to center field and scored on Realmuto’s one-out bloop single to right field. Yelich’s third hit of the game made it 2-0.
Those runs came off Braves right-hander Matt Wisler, who earned his first career save in his lone relief appearance of the season against the Marlins in April.
Wisler (3-8) struck out five batters across the first three innings, giving him 14 strikeouts in a nine-inning period going back to his previous start. He lasted Sunday innings Sunday, allowing three runs on 10 hits and a walk with six strikeouts.
Conley’s strong outing was what the Marlins needed after a five-game stretch in which their starters allowed 24 earned runs in 23 1/3 innings.
Players from both teams took part in various activities on the military base during the day. They met with servicemen and had lunch in one of the mess halls.
The Braves, who were the host team, were particularly involved in functions, with former manager Bobby Cox and ex-outfielder Dale Murphy participating. Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred also attended.
The pregame ceremony included the unveiling of an American flag that covered a large portion of the outfield.
The field used for Sunday’s game will be converted into part of a recreation facility for the military base. Major League Baseball oversaw the construction of the field in a matter of about five months.
NOTES: The Braves were the home team, with this the conclusion of a four-game series with the first three games in Atlanta. … Each team was given special permission to add a 26th player to the roster for the game. The Braves selected the contract of OF Ronnier Mustelier from Triple-A Gwinnett, while the Marlins bought the contract of CF Yefri Perez from Double-A Jacksonville. Perez hadn’t played for Jacksonville since Thursday. … The Marlins returned to North Carolina for the second year in a row after playing a 2015 exhibition game in Greensboro, home of their Class A South Atlantic League affiliate. … The Braves play their next seven games on the road leading to the All-Star break. They go to Philadelphia to begin a series Monday. … The Marlins head to New York to take on the Mets as they continue part of a nine-game road swing.