Marlins win series against Braves behind Cooper, Garcia

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ATLANTA – Garrett Cooper has played for the Marlins since 2018 and has endured plenty of losses at the Atlanta Braves’ ballpark.

That wasn’t the case this weekend, as Miami eked out series win against their NL East rivals.

“They’ve kind of had our number the last five years since I’ve been here,” Cooper said. “Just to come in here and get a series win early in the year is huge for us, huge for the morale moving forward.”

Cooper had three hits and two RBIs, Avisail Garcia hit a go-ahead double in the fifth inning and the Marlins held on to beat Atlanta 5-4 on Sunday.

Miami took two of three from the defending World Series champions, dropping the Braves to their third series loss along with two ties and no wins. The Marlins have won three of their last four games. They improved to 16-32 at Truist Park since it opened in 2017.

Atlanta trailed 5-1 in the ninth before Matt Olson‘s sacrifice fly and Austin Riley‘s two-run homer off Tanner Scott. Louis Head relieved and got his first big league save, allowing Marcell Ozuna‘s double and then striking out Adam Duvall and Eddie Rosario.

Jesus Luzardo (1-1) allowed one run and two hits in five innings. He gave up doubles to Riley in the first and the fourth, looking nothing like the left-hander who began the game 1-6 with a career 6.06 ERA on the road in nine starts and nine relief appearances.

Olson grounded out with the bases loaded in the fifth, trimming the lead to 2-1. Luzardo struck out Riley with two runners in scoring position to end the inning.

“It was pretty gratifying getting him out because he had the two hits against me,” Luzardo said. “I feel like the two hits he got I left some breaking balls over the plate that I shouldn’t have left. They kind of just backed up on me. At the same time, we felt confident with the heater there, and I was glad to get out of the inning with a punchout there.”

Luzardo struck out eight and walked four, three of them in the fifth.

A day after winning 9-7, the Marlins led 2-0 in the fifth. Jesus Aguilar led off with a walk, advanced on two groundouts and scored when Garciadrove the ball over Orlando Arcia, and the ball popped out of the left fielder’s glove on the warning track. Garcia scored when Cooper, who’s reached safely in 12 of his 14 games this year, singled to Duvall, whose throw to the plate from center was a tad late.

Both runs came with two outs. The Marlins stranded seven runners in the first four innings.

“You like to keep adding on because we know who these guys are,” Miami manager Don Mattingly said. “We know where we’re at. We know who these guys are.”

Atlanta starter Bryce Elder (1-2) gave up two runs five hits and six walks in 4 2/3 innings.

Miami went up 3-1 in the sixth when Jon Berti, who reached three times, tripled off Darren O'Day and scored on Jacob Stallings‘ sacrifice fly. The lead stretched to 5-1 in the seventh on RBI doubles off A.J. Minter by Cooper and Joey Wendle, who doubled twice.

Anthony Bass, the third of five Marlins relievers, needed one pitch to escape a bases-loaded jam in the seventh when Riley grounded into a double play.

Atlanta dropped to 1-9 this season when its opponent scores first. The Braves were 1 for 12 with runners in scoring position.

An attempt to rally in the ninth fell just short.

“Any time you show a fight late like that, it’s something to be happy with,” Olson said. “Obviously we didn’t complete it. You want to come out with a win, but it says a lot to have a team that’s always in it.”

SWIPING

Chisholm stole his fourth base in the third, making the Marlins 5 for 5 on stolen base attempts in the last two games. The Braves have allowed 13 of 14 baserunners to steal a base this season.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Marlins: SS Miguel Rojas was at the ballpark but missed his second straight game with flu-like symptoms. … Stallings got hit in the back of the head by Ozuna’s bat on a swing in the fourth but stayed in the game.

Braves: RF Ronald Acuna Jr. (recovering from knee surgery last year) went 2 for 3 with an RBI, a run scored and three walks in a rehab appearance Saturday night with Triple-A Gwinnett. Acuna is hitting .417 in four games for Gwinnett and is expected to return to the majors May 6.

UP NEXT

After an off day Monday, Marlins RHP Sandy Alcantara (1-0, 1.86 ERA) will make his fourth start of the season to open a three-game series Tuesday at Washington. Alcantara has pitched 14 consecutive scoreless innings. The Braves are off Monday and will send LHP Max Fried (1-2, 3.50) to the mound for his fourth start Tuesday as Atlanta begins a three-game home series against the Chicago Cubs.

Marlins win series against Braves behind Cooper, Garcia originally appeared on NBCSports.com