By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Fireworks start early as Braves top Marlins in opening game of series
Atlanta Braves
Atlanta Braves' Ronald Acuna Jr., center, looks toward the pitcher's mound at Miami Marlins pitcher Pablo Lopez (not shown) after being hit by the first pitch thrown by Lopez in the first inning of a baseball game Friday, July 2, 2021, in Atlanta. Braves manager Brian Snitker, left, and Marlins' catcher Jorge Alfaro, right, look on.

ATLANTA — Marlins starter Pablo López was ejected after plunking Ronald Acuña Jr. with his first pitch, leading to the only run as the Atlanta Braves edged Miami 1-0 Friday night.

Atlanta got just two hits and still won its third in a row.

The Marlins have a history of hitting Acuña. Miami pitcher José Ureña was tossed after nailing with his first pitch in 2018 and López didn't last any longer.

López was ejected for hitting Acuña in the back of the left arm and manager Don Mattingly soon was ejected, too, for arguing on his pitcher’s behalf. They stayed on the field for a couple of minutes after they were tossed to plead their case with umpires.

Acuña advanced to third on Freddie Freeman’s single and scored on a sacrifice fly by Ozzie Albies, the NL leader with 59 RBIs.

Miami pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre Jr. tossed by crew chief Dan Iassogna for arguing about López’s ejection after Freeman's hit.

Drew Smyly won his career-best fourth straight start for the three-time defending NL East champion Braves, who improved to 40-41.

The game featured little offense as the Marlins managed four hits. Miami pitchers combined to retire 18 straight batters through the sixth before Albies reached on an infield single to begin the seventh.

Ross Detwiler faced 10 batters in three innings in place of López (4-5), who threw only one pitch and was charged with the loss. Anthony Bender struck out the side in the fourth and fifth.

Smyly (6-3) gave up three hits and two walks with seven strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings. He escaped a jam with runners on first and third in the fourth when Miguel Rojas grounded into a double play.

Jesús Aguilar touched Smyly for a single in the second and another in the fourth. Smyly was done after Garrett Cooper singled in the sixth, and Luke Jackson entered to end a threat with runners on first and second when Aguilar flied out.

A.J. Minter, the second Atlanta pitcher of the seventh, balked Miguel Rojas to second, but he escaped the jam when Rojas was tagged out rounding third on an infield single. Chris Martin picked off Starling Marte after walking him in the eighth.

Braves closer Will Smith pitched in the ninth to convert a shaky 17th save in 19 chances. The bases were loaded when Jon Berti popped up and pinch-hitter Sandy León flied out to end it.