Wright, d'Arnaud lead Braves to sweep Marlins, reach NLCS
HOUSTON (AP) - Rookie Kyle Wright blinded six innings on his postseason debut, and the Atlanta Braves pitched superbly to beat the Miami Marlins 7-0 on Thursday and have played three games since 2001.
Atlanta had lost eight straight division series, including the previous two seasons, before beating the Marlins 18-5 and 11-0 in their last two games. The Braves are 5-0 with a postseason ERA of 0.92, allowing for five runs in 49 innings.
There were only a few isolated cheers as the Braves wrapped the series in a nearly empty Minute Maid Park, where only friends and families of the players were allowed.
You will play the Los Angeles Dodgers or San Diego in the NLCS starting Monday in Arlington, Texas. They hadn't moved up to the NLCS since being led by Chipper Jones, Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, and John Smoltz, a team led by Bobby Cox.
Wright (1-0) was sharp even though he hadn't played since September 25th. He allowed three hits and went two career-high with seven strikeouts. A.J. Minter, Jacob Webb and Shane Greene finished the five-goal to give the Braves four shutouts in five playoff games.
They are the second team in history to throw four shutouts in their first five playoff games and join the 1905 New York Giants.
Travis d'Arnaud doubled twice, with the first running in two runs in Atlanta's big third inning. The veteran catcher, who took on three teams in a tough 2019, helped stabilize Atlanta's young starters, was 6-10 with three doubles, two home runs and seven RBIs in the sweep.
The Marlins, who lost 105 games last season, were the feel good story of this postseason, having overcome a coronavirus outbreak for the first time since 2003 to make it to the postseason. With a front office run by Derek Jeter and a dugout run by manager Don Mattingly, they stepped in with confidence after sweeping the Chicago Cubs in the wildcard round. But the young team was overwhelmed and lost a playoff series for the first time after starting 7-0 with titles in 1997 and 2003.
Rookie Sixto Sanchez (0-1) went to Ronald Acuna Jr. to start third and Acuna stole second before moving up to third with a single from Freddie Freeman. Marcell Ozuna put together a single that Acuna scored.
D'Arnaud threw a brace from the bullpen in the right center to send two home and extend the lead to 3-0. The Braves started another run with a sacrificial fly from Dansby Swanson.
Sanchez, who threw five goalless frames in Game 2 of the wild card, finished after that inning, allowing four hits and runs with three walks as he joined his shortest outing of the season.
The Marlins had a chance to take the lead in the lower part of the inning when they loaded the bases with two outs. But Jazz Chisholm grounded himself to end the threat.
It was a theme for Miami all day going with runners in goal position 0 to 9.
Atlanta added a run in the fourth when Acuna scored from the first goal after midfielder Magneuris Sierra made a mistake on a Freeman single.
The Braves continued to pour it in the fifth when Swanson had an RBI single and Adam Duvall sent him home with a double to make it 7-0.
The Atlanta win overshadowed a terrific second-round catch from Corey Dickerson who helped Sanchez escape an outs-laden traffic jam. Sanchez first knocked out Adam Duvall before Dickerson caught a ball from Nick Markakis just before it hit the grass, likely saving several runs from goal.
Dickerson's catch came the day after Markakis made a perfect throw to move Dickerson into second in the eighth inning of Game 2.
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