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Field Level Media - Professional sports content solutions | FLM

Apr 30, 2024 8:45 am

Mariners, Braves meet again after playing an instant classic

Braves Garver

What can the Atlanta Braves and Seattle Mariners possibly do for an encore Tuesday night when they return to the stage at T-Mobile Park?

It’ll be hard to top their performance on the opening night of their three-game series.

The Braves’ Max Fried and the Mariners’ Bryce Miller both started with six hitless innings and Atlanta star Ronald Acuna Jr. provided some thrills before Seattle’s Mitch Garver brought down the curtain with a two-run homer in the ninth. That gave the hosts a 2-1 victory Monday in an interleague matchup between division leaders.

It was just the third loss in the past 14 games for the National League East-leading Braves and the 10th victory in 13 games for the American League West-leading Mariners.

“Good pitching, timely hitting, ‘W’,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “It’s a nice way to start this series. Obviously, they have a good team. We know that we have a good team and we’re not even moving offensively like I know we can. But you’ve got to still find a way to win these games because our pitching has been fantastic. I can’t say it enough. It’s every night.”

Said Braves manager Brian Snitker: “It was a really good ballgame. Couldn’t get a big hit. Couldn’t get anything going offensively.”

Garver, signed as a free agent in the offseason from the World Series champion Texas Rangers, was batting .139 when he stepped to the plate in the ninth after Jorge Polanco grounded a leadoff single into left field.

Garver blasted a 3-2 cut fastball from Braves reliever A.J. Minter an estimated 412 off the facade of the second deck. He tossed the bat into the air with both hands and glanced skyward with a relieved look on his face before circling the bases. He was greeted at the plate with a Gatorade shower from teammates.

“That was my first career walk-off home run in professional baseball, so it was pretty special for me,” Garver said. “And in a time where things aren’t going my way and I’m not feeling quite like myself, to be able to come through for the team in any way, shape or form is a huge W, so I was really happy for that.”

Acuna broke up the double no-hitter with an infield single leading off the seventh. He stole second and third on back-to-back pitches before scoring on Ozzie Albies’ double to right-center field.

Fried pitched six hitless innings with two walks and seven strikeouts. Miller went seven innings and gave up one run on two hits, with one walk and 10 strikeouts. It was the 17th straight game a Mariners starter allowed two runs or fewer, extending the franchise record.

“Their guy was pretty lights out,” Fried said. “He was throwing really well. Really commanding all his pitches and keeping us off balance, so I knew I had to try to match him as much as I could.”

The tall task of following that pitching duel Tuesday will fall to a pair of right-handers: Atlanta’s Reynaldo Lopez (2-0, 0.72 ERA) and Seattle’s Luis Castillo (2-4, 4.15).

Lopez is 1-2 with a 9.19 ERA in seven career appearances against Seattle, including two starts. Castillo is 2-1, 2.25 in five previous starts versus the Braves.

–Field Level Media

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