Braves sweep Marlins, prepare to host Mets

AP photo by Wilfredo Lee / Atlanta Braves center fielder Michael Harris II is congratulated by teammates after he hit a tying home run to lead off the ninth inning of Sunday's 3-1 road win against the Miami Marlins.

MIAMI - The Atlanta Braves seem to have shaken off the disappointing results from their most recent encounter with the New York Mets, doing so in time for another round of matchups between the top two teams in the National League East Division.

The first-place Mets (75-40) are headed to Atlanta (70-46) - the division winner the past four seasons - for a four-game series at Truist Park that starts Monday. New York took two of three from the third-place Philadelphia Phillies over the weekend and is 16-4 since the All-Star break, a stretch that includes winning four of five against the Braves.

Reigning World Series champion Atlanta has recovered from that setback to win its past six games, including a four-game sweep of the host Miami Marlins in a weekend series. Rookie center fielder Michael Harris II hit a tying homer in the ninth and All-Star catcher William Contreras had a go-ahead single as the Braves rallied to win 3-1 Sunday.

Harris started the final inning by driving the first pitch from Marlins reliever Tanner Scott (4-5) over the wall in left-center field for his 12th homer since making his MLB debut in late May.

"I was looking for a good pitch to hit, and I got it," Harris said. "I was trying to do anything I could to get on base to help us get a win. I'm just glad we got the win."

Dansby Swanson followed with a single, Vaughn Grissom walked and Austin Riley had a flyout to right before Swanson got caught in a rundown between second and third for the second out. Scott then walked Matt Olson, and Contreras hit a hard grounder that second baseman Jon Berti deflected but couldn't retrieve in time to throw out Grissom at the plate.

All-Star outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr. did not start for Atlanta but pinch-hit in the ninth and was intentionally walked. Olson advanced to third on the walk and scored on a wild pitch by Scott for the final margin.

Acuña was removed late in the second game of Saturday's doubleheader as a precaution to rest his surgically repaired right knee. After his pinch-hit appearance, he played right field in the bottom half.

"His knee was sore last night. He came in, got treated up and was ready to go," Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said. "He told me after he pinch-hit, 'I'm going to play the outfield.' It's good to get him off his legs."

photo AP photo by Wilfredo Lee / Atlanta Braves right fielder Ronald Acuña Jr., right, celebrates with teammates after Sunday's 3-1 road win to complete a four-game sweep of the Miami Marlins. Atlanta has won six straight games.

The Marlins have scored three or fewer runs in 15 consecutive games, matching the 1979 Chicago Cubs for the second-longest drought in MLB's division era. The club also has been without injured All-Star infielder Jazz Chisholm Jr. and offseason free-agent acquisitions Jorge Soler and Avisaíl García during its scoring slump.

"Our lineup is obviously not what it was earlier with Jazz, Soler and Avi and all the guys that we'd have at a normal standpoint," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "I think the one thing we do see in this is our pitching keeps us in games."

Tyler Matzek (3-2) threw a scoreless eighth and Kenley Jansen got three outs in the ninth around a single for his 27th save of the year.

"We had a bad weekend (at New York) and ended up having a really good road trip," Snitker said of a stretch that includes a two-game sweep of the Boston Red Sox. "Hats off to all the guys just for turning the page, staying with it and taking care of business."

Atlanta starter Bryce Elder struck out a career-high 10 batters in seven innings of one-run ball. The 23-year-old right-hander, who was recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett on Saturday, allowed three hits and walked two batters.

"At the end of the day, giving the team a chance to win is all you can ask for," Elder said.

Elder began the season with the Braves and made four starts before being sent to the minors.

"When I was here before, I was a little bit passive," Elder said. "I think this one kind of shows if you make good pitches, you're going to have success for the most part."

Elder kept Miami hitless through the first 3 1/3 innings before JJ Bleday doubled and scored on Miguel Rojas' RBI single.

Marlins starter Braxton Garrett was lifted after six innings. He scattered five hits, walked three batters and struck out two.

Dylan Floro pitched the seventh and Steven Okert worked the eighth for Miami, with each allowing one hit and one walk and striking out two batters.

"I messed that whole game up right away when I gave up a home run to Harris right down the middle," said Scott, who has squandered five of his 21 save opportunities this year.

Harris, Grissom, Swanson and designated hitter Marcell Ozuna each had two hits for Atlanta, with Grissom drawing two walks. The 21-year-old second baseman made his MLB debut Wednesday and is hitting .389 with two home runs, a double and four RBIs through his first five games.

The New York-Atlanta series opener will be a matchup of right-handed starters, with Spencer Strider (6-4, 3.11) on the mound for the Braves and Carlos Carrasco (13-4, 3.76) getting the ball for the Mets.

photo AP photo by Wilfredo Lee / Atlanta Braves rookie Vaughn Grissom slides in to score as Miami Marlins catcher Nick Fortes waits for the throw during the ninth inning of Sunday's game.