The visiting Atlanta Braves will aim for a three-game sweep of the Miami Marlins when the teams meet on Sunday afternoon.
William Contreras recorded his second multi-homer game of the season with two solo homers in Saturday’s 4-3 victory as Atlanta won for the third time in its last four games.
Miami has struggled to come up with timely hits in the first two games of the series, going 2-for-20 with runners in scoring position, including 1-for-9 on Saturday.
“We had chances again,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “It’s not something you want to keep talking about. We’re taking good at-bats. We’ve just got to find a way to push those runs across when we get opportunities.”
Miami will monitor two players who suffered injuries in Saturday’s contest.
Shortstop Miguel Rojas exited the game in the seventh inning with left-calf tightness and is listed as day-to-day. Second baseman Jazz Chisholm was hobbled with an apparent knee injury after being spiked in the ninth inning.
The Braves have received a spark this month from outfielder Marcell Ozuna, who is batting .303 (10-for-33) with four home runs during his eight-game hitting streak.
Atlanta has won eight of its last nine games in Miami and will turn to Ian Anderson (3-2, 3.75 ERA) as the starter on Sunday. The right-hander has a 2.70 ERA in his last three starts covering 16 2/3 innings.
Anderson, 24, allowed one run on four hits over six frames in a 1-0 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers on Monday. He struck out three and threw a season-high 103 pitches.
“I feel like I was throwing the ball well,” Anderson said. “The velocity was good again.”
Anderson is 1-2 with a 4.15 ERA in six career starts vs. Miami. He has struggled to contain Chisholm (5-for-13), Jesus Aguilar (4-for-11) and Jesus Sanchez (5-for-6).
Right-hander Sandy Alcantara (3-2, 2.49) will take the mound for Miami on Sunday. He turned in a dominant performance against the Washington Nationals last Monday, allowing one run on three hits over eight innings of an 8-2 victory.
“When he’s rolling like that, it’s fun to watch,” Mattingly said. “He’s in and out of innings quick, throwing strikes. Everything’s working.”
Alcantara, 26, lost his first two starts this month but has allowed a total of two runs and five hits over his last two outings covering 15 innings.
Ozzie Albies is 7-for-22 (.318) against Alcantara, who is 2-1 with a 2.20 ERA in seven career starts against the Braves.
Atlanta outfielder Travis Demeritte is hitless in his last 26 at-bats. The rookie has started in right field in the past two games with Ronald Acuna Jr. serving as the team’s designated hitter.
The Braves are being cautious with Acuna, who tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee last July 10 on Miami stadium’s synthetic turf.
“If this was a natural surface, he’d be playing the outfield,” Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said. “But because of the turf and all, we just wanted to keep him off that.”
–Field Level Media