By GEORGE HENRY, Associated Press
ATLANTA (AP) — The last time Jose Urena pitched, the Miami Marlins failed to score.
This time he was staked to an early lead. Run support was no problem.
“It’s the best thing you can have a starting pitcher when your team takes care of you like that,” he said. “You’ve just got to go out there and do your thing.”
Urena pitched six strong innings, Marcell Ozuna hit a three-run homer and Miami avoided a three-game sweep with a 4-1 victory over the Atlanta Braves on Sunday.
Urena (10-5) won for the third time in four starts, allowing one run and three hits, walking one and striking out three.
Lucas Sims (0-2), making his second career start, allowed four runs in six innings. The Braves’ 2012 first-round draft pick trailed 4-0 in the first after hitting Giancarlo Stanton with a pitch, walking Christian Yelich and giving up consecutive homers to Ozuna, his 26th, and J.T. Realmuto, his 13th .
“I had two options, either roll over and let it get ugly or go out there and try to keep us in it,” Sims said. “I just chose the latter. The first one really isn’t an option.”
Urena held the Braves to one hit, a double by Ender Inciarte in the fourth, before pinch-hitter Jace Peterson doubled in the sixth and scored on Inciarte’s single to make it 4-1.
It was his second straight strong start. He held Washington to one run, allowed four baserunners and struck out six in eight innings of a 1-0 loss last Monday.
“As a starter he’s pretty good right now,” Ozuna said. “He’s been working on the offspeed and he’s got a good fastball. He has to work on the offspeed a little bit. It’s hanging sometimes and sometimes it’s working good. When it’s working good, it’s hard to hit it.”
Jarlin Garcia and Junichi Tazawa faced the minimum in the seventh and eighth, and Brad Ziegler earned his second save in five chances in the ninth. He gave up a single to Freddie Freeman, but struck out Nick Markakis to end it.
Ozuna leads NL outfielders with 87 RBIs and ranks among the top six in five other categories. … Realmuto began the day tied for second with a .364 road batting average and went 2 for 4. He led the NL with a .352 road batting average last year. … Inciarte went 2 for 4 and has a 12-game hitting streak. … Miami has won 12 of Urena’s last 18 starts.
NEW POSITION, NO PROBLEM
In his first career start at first base, Realmuto made a tough over-the-shoulder catch in shallow right field in the second. He has 334 career starts at catcher. “He’s so athletic,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “That play he made over his shoulder — no one makes on our club. I think that’s one of the advantages. You put him over and you feel like he’s probably as good as anyone we have over there.”… Making his fifth career start at third base, Phillips dove hard to his right along the line and threw out Stanton in the third. Phillips has started 1,781 games at second.
1-2-3 STRIKES, YOU’RE OUT
Actor Ed Helms, an Atlanta native, wore a Braves cap as he stood on the home dugout to lead the crowd in “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.”
Marlins: LHP Chris O’Grady (2-1, 5.40 ERA) makes his sixth career start and second against the Nationals. O’Grady allowed six runs, two homers and nine baserunners in three innings of last week’s home loss to Washington.
Braves: After an off-day, Atlanta begins a three-game home series Tuesday with Philadelphia. RHP Julio Teheran (7-9, 5.10 ERA) is 7-5 with a 3.39 ERA in 15 career starts and one relief appearance in the series, but the Phillies knocked him around in a 10-3 loss July 28 at Philadelphia.