Inciarte hits 2 HRs, Braves end 5-game skid, top Marlins 5-4
MIAMI (AP) — Ender Inciarte matched Giancarlo Stanton homer for homer until Tyler Flowers broke the tie, and the Atlanta Braves broke their five-game losing streak.
Stanton hit a pair of two-run homers, his first of the year, but Inciarte was his unlikely equal. The Braves center fielder came into the game batting .152, and the homers were his first this year after he hit three last season.
“You’re going to have games like this,” Inciarte said. “I know I’m not going to do it often, but I try not to be surprised when it happens.”
Freddie Freeman hit his third homer for the Braves, who went 2-6 on a season-opening trip before heading home to open their new ballpark Friday. They can only hope for the kind of success they’ve had at Marlins Park, where they’re 32-15.
Atlanta also hopes for a glitch-free day in the home opener against San Diego. The retractable roof at Marlins Park couldn’t prevent a 27-minute delay in the fourth inning during a thunderstorm that caused several banks of lights to go out.
It was the latest oddity in a long, strange trip for the Braves that also included stops in New York and Pittsburgh.
“We experienced just about everything you can on this trip — heartache, blizzards, taking naps on runways,” manager Brian Snitker said. “This has been one for the ages. It’s going to be really nice to get home.”
Inciarte gave Atlanta an early lead with a two-run homer in the third inning. His solo homer in the eighth off Junichi Tazawa made the score 4-all, and hiked his average to .189.
“He can be his own worst enemy sometimes,” Snitker said. “He’s kind of hard on himself, but the kid can hit. In 10 years he’s going to be a lifetime .300 hitter.”
With the score tied, Brandon Phillips walked in the ninth against A.J. Ramos (0-1), advanced on a two-out wild pitch and came home on Flowers’ sharp single. The big hit was a big change for the Braves, who came into the game batting .183 with runners in scoring position.
Jaime Garcia went five innings for Atlanta and gave up four runs, all on Stanton homers. Arodys Vizcaino (1-0) pitched a scoreless eighth, and Jim Johnson worked a perfect ninth for the Braves’ first save of the year.
Miami starter Tom Koehler allowed three runs in six innings.
“We need to do a better job of when we get a lead, hold it,” Koehler said. “Our offense did a great job. Anytime we get two home runs from G, we expect to win.”
Stanton’s first home run came in the third inning, when he lofted a drive that bounced off the padding atop the wall in left center. His second homer, a line drive in the fifth, landed in the swimming pool in the nightclub beyond left field, and a fan jumped in to retrieve the ball.
Stanton’s 19th multihomer game extended his franchise record. He’s now 7 for 10 with three homers lifetime against Garcia.
“Everybody has certain guys you feel more comfortable facing,” said Flowers, the Braves’ catcher. “That’s one of those where I guess next time we’ll walk him.”
Inciarte complemented his offense with two fine catches to rob Miami of hits.
“I want to catch everything,” he said.
Marlins SS J.T. Riddle earned his first major league hit by beating out a 60-foot check-swing dribbler down the third base line.
“Pretty crazy,” the rookie said. “It started foul and came back. It’s one I will never forget.”
Braves: RHP Julio Teheran (0-0, 0.00) is scheduled to start Friday when the Braves open their $622 million ballpark against the Padres.
Marlins: LHP Wei-Yin Chen (1-0, 1.50) tries to beat the Mets for the second time in six days when he starts Thursday to open a four-game series.
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