ATLANTA - Marcell Ozuna believes a season-high nine extra-base hits are a sure sign the Atlanta Braves' bats are returning to the form that led to last year's midseason turnaround, which culminated in the franchise's first World Series championship since 1995.
Ozuna hit two home runs as part of the Braves' barrage in a 6-3 win over the Miami Marlins on Sunday, giving Atlanta its first winning homestand of the season. In addition to taking two of three from Marlins, the Braves split a four-game set with the Philadelphia Phillies.
Both of those opponents are rivals in the National League East Division, where Atlanta is the four-time reigning champion but currently second to the New York Mets.
"Everything is pulling together," Ozuna said. "I think we have a good group and we are champions."
Of the Braves' 11 hits, six were doubles and three were home runs. Ozuna's second homer of the game, his 10th of the season, traveled 458 feet into the upper left-field seats in the third. It was Atlanta's longest homer of the season.
"We're starting to come around," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "We have been for a few days."
Austin Riley had two hits and drove in two runs for Atlanta. Ozuna and Riley hit back-to-back homers off Elieser Hernández in the first inning. Ozzie Albies and William Contreras hit back-to-back doubles to produce a run in the second, while Riley and Matt Olson delivered run-scoring doubles in consecutive at-bats in the fifth.
Progress for Atlanta's hitters has come slowly, with the Braves hitting just .202 in day games before the offensive breakout capped the 4-3 homestand. Atlanta improved to 5-12 in day games after striking out 16 times in a 4-1 loss Saturday.
Miami's Jorge Soler provided all of the visitors' runs Sunday by hitting two homers. Max Fried (5-2) gave up the first of those in the first inning before posting five consecutive scoreless innings.
In the fifth, Fried gave up back-to-back singles to Willians Astudillo and Nick Fortes before striking out Jon Berti and Jazz Chisholm Jr. Fried walked Soler to load the bases before ending the inning on Garret Cooper's weak grounder to the mound.
Overall, the left-hander gave up six hits with three walks and five strikeouts in six innings.
"I definitely didn't feel like I had great fastball command," Fried said. "... The offense obviously exploding, a bunch of homers, took the pressure off."
Kenley Jansen had two strikeouts in the ninth for his 12th save with Atlanta.
Soler's second homer of the game and 11th of the season was a two-run shot off Jackson Stephens in the seventh. He has hit three homers this season against his former Atlanta teammates, so Snitker was glad to see Ozuna, another former Marlin, return the favor.
"Finally we pulled out a former team card and put it to good use," Snitker said. "Jorge has tortured us with it."
Hernández (2-5) allowed four runs in four innings. He gave up three homers, raising his season total to 14 in 43 2/3 innings.
The Marlins fell to 12-7 against NL East teams and ended their streak of four series wins against division opponents.
Braves rookie Michael Harris II, who was called up Saturday, made a diving catch of Cooper's sinking liner to center field to open the fourth and drew an ovation from fans. A day after going 1-for-3 and scoring a run in his MLB debut, he was 0-for-3.
The Braves made several roster moves Sunday, including calling up Jesús Cruz from Triple-A Gwinnett. Cruz, 27, was signed by Atlanta to a minor league contract on April 6 after being released by the St. Louis Cardinals. The reliever posted a 2.84 ERA with 20 strikeouts and only one walk in 11 games with Gwinnett.
Also, left-hander Tucker Davidson - 1-2 with a 6.46 ERA in four games, including three starts, with Atlanta - was optioned to Gwinnett and right-hander Tyler Thornburg, who had a 3.86 ERA in nine games, was released.
Atlanta right-hander Mike Soroka has departed for the team's minor league facility in North Port, Florida, where he will continue to prepare for a rehabilitation assignment. Soroka, recovering from his second Achilles' tendon injury, hopes to return to the Braves as early as late July. He has not pitched in a game since August 2020.
The Braves begin a seven-game road swing Monday night with the first of three against the Arizona Diamondbacks, and Atlanta rookie right-hander Spencer Strider (1-1, 2.22) will make his first start in the majors. The 23-year-old has pitched in relief in 11 games this season but was a starter in the minors and competed for a spot in the rotation in spring training.