MIAMI (AP)Nick Markakis drove in three runs, and five pitchers combined on a two-hitter Sunday to help the Atlanta Braves beat the Miami Marlins 4-0 and tighten the NL East race.
Atlanta took two of three games from the first-place Marlins and trail them by only percentage points. The Braves haven’t lost a series to their division rivals since 2017, and are 31-10 against Miami over the past three seasons.
Markakis’ RBI single in the sixth off Nick Vincent (1-1) gave Atlanta a 1-0 lead. The Braves added three runs in the seventh after their first two batters were retired, and Markakis’ two-run double made it 4-0.
Markakis, who opted out this year because of the coronavirus but changed his mind five games into the season, improved his average to .323. Darby Swanson had two hits and scored twice.
The Braves won despite striking out 16 times.
Atlanta’s Robbie Erlin, making his first start of the year, allowed only one baserunner in four scoreless innings. Darren O’Day (2-0) pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings to highlight the latest strong effort by the Braves’ bullpen.
Two of Miami’s three baserunners were erased on double plays.
Seeking more punch from a Braves lineup without the injured Ronald Acuna Jr. and Ozzie Albies, manager Brian Snitker moved Freddie Freeman up to the No. 2 spot. It was the first time Freeman hit there since 2011, and he went 1 for 4.
But the Braves mustered only three hits and no runs against Miami starter Elieser Hernandez, who struck out nine in five innings.
Marlins manager Don Mattingly was ejected in the fifth inning for arguing about umpire James Hoye’s strike zone.
As part of MLB’s celebration of the Negro Leagues, the Marlins wore uniforms honoring the Miami Giants, a 1930s semipro team.
BRAVES: They open a three-game series at home against Washington on Monday, when RHP Touki Toussaint (0-1, 7.27) faces RHP Anibal Sanchez (0-3, 9.69).
MARLINS: RHP Jordan Yamamoto (0-0, 9.82) is scheduled to start Monday for the Marlins when they open a four-game series at home against the New York Mets and RHP Robert Gsellman (0-0, 9.00).
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