2020 National League Division Series 2
|2020 National League Division Series|
35 - 25 in the NL
|3 - 0
31 - 29 in the NL
|1||Miami Marlins 5 Atlanta Braves 9||October 6||Sandy Alcantara (0-1) Max Fried (0-0)||2:00 pm|
|2||Miami Marlins 0 Atlanta Braves 2||October 7||Pablo Lopez (0-1) Ian Anderson (1-0)||2:00 pm|
|3||Atlanta Braves 7 Miami Marlins 0||October 8||Kyle Wright (1-0) Sixto Sanchez (0-1)||2:00 pm|
Game 1 @ Minute Maid Park
|WP: Will Smith (1-0); LP: Sandy Alcantara (0-1)|
|Home Runs: ATL - Ronald Acuna (1), Travis d'Arnaud (1), Dansby Swanson (1); MIA - Miguel Rojas (1)|
- Attendance: none
In Game 1, both teams had a big inning, but the Braves' was a bigger one, and it allowed Atlanta to win, 9-5, over the upstart Marlins. That was in spite of receiving a less-than-stellar performance from starter Max Fried, who had been one of the National League's top starters this season. Facing him was Sandy Alcantara, whose record was less impressive, but who was coming off a strong start in the opener of the Wild Card Series.
The Braves drew first blood when Ronald Acuna hit Alcantara's second pitch of the game for a homer to right center. This could have seriously rattled the Marlins' starter, but he retired the side while only allowing a walk to Travis d'Arnaud. In the 2nd, it was Miami's turn to play long ball, with Miguel Rojas taking Fried deep on his second pitch. It was 1-1 after 2 innings, when Miami rattled Fried in a way that had not been done all season. Magneuris Sierra led off the inning with a single, and Jon Berti did the same, with Sierra making it to third base. After one out, Garrett Cooper doubled to the left field corner and both runners scored without a throw. Brian Anderson followed with another hit, a single to left, and Cooper came in to score, making the score 4-1. Fried was on the point of being removed from the game, but he managed to get the next two outs, and in the bottom of the 3rd, the Braves got a couple of the runs back. Acuna was hit by a pitch; it was likely an accident, but given his 1st-inning homer and the bad blood between the two teams in recent years, home plate umpire Andy Fletcher did not take a chance and warned both benches not to start anything stupid, a message that Braves manager Brian Snitker resented given his pitcher had not done anything untoward. In any case, after two outs, Marcell Ozuna and d'Arnaud hit back-to-back doubles, leading to two runs.
The score remained at 4-3 in Miami's favor for the next three innings. Fried pitched another inning before turning the ball over to Darren O'Day in the 5th, while Alcantara kept on pitching, escaping whatever trouble he got himself into. Snitker decided to use one reliever per inning, so Tyler Matzek pitched the 6th, striking out the side, and Will Smith took care of the 7th without allowing a baserunner. But the game turned in the bottom of the 7th, as a tiring Alcantara was no longer able to contain the Braves' bats. Don Mattingly probably should have congratulated him on six strong innings and asked for his bullpen to take over from that point, but he vainly tried to squeeze a few more outs from him. Austin Riley and Acuna thus started the inning with back-to-back singles, and when Yimi Garcia was summoned from the bullpen, he had to step into a very prickly situation. He got the dangerous Freddie Freeman to hit a grounder to second for a force out, but that brought Riley to third. Ozuna then singled to center, driving in the tying run, and d'Arnaud followed with a homer to right, scoring three runs. The game was completely upended, and it continued as Ozzie Albies also singled, and on the first pitch from new pitcher James Hoyt, Dansby Swanson hit the Braves' third homer of the game to make the score 9-4. The rest of the game was academic; the Marlins got a run back in the 8th when pinch-hitter Matt Joyce drove in Anderson with a single off Chris Martin, but that was all. Mark Melancon pitched the 9th with a four-run lead and retired the Marlins in order to end the game.
Game 2 @ Minute Maid Park
|WP: Ian Anderson (1-0); LP: Pablo Lopez (0-1); SV: Mark Melancon (1)|
|Home Runs: ATL - Dansby Swanson (2), Travis d'Arnaud (2)|
- Attendance: none
The Braves won Game 2 by pitching their third shutout in four postseason games, behind a solid performance by rookie Ian Anderson, who went 5 2/3 innings, followed by four relievers. They only allowed seven baserunners all game: three on base hits, two on walks, a hit batsman, and one who reached on an error. Pablo Lopez, the Marlins' starter, who was making his postseason debut, also pitched well, only allowing 3 hits in 5 innings, but two of these hits were long balls, and they accounted for all the runs in the 2-0 Braves win.
The Marlins managed to put a couple of baserunners on against Anderson in the 1st, but both came after two outs, on a single by Jesus Aguilar and a walk to Brian Anderson, and the next batter, Garrett Cooper, lined out to RF Nick Markakis to end the inning. The Braves went down quietly in the bottom of the inning, as did the Marlins in the 2nd, but in the bottom of that inning, Dansby Swanson homered to center with two outs to open the score. Then in the 4th, Travis d'Arnaud doubled the lead with a long homer off Lopez that went to the rail tracks on top of the left field wall, his second homer in two games, just like Swanson. That was it for the scoring in this game. The two teams combined for only 7 hits, with the Braves getting just one more the rest of the way. With almost no one on base, there were few tense moments either. Anderson was the first of the two starting pitchers to leave, giving way to Darren O'Day after two outs and with a runner on in the 5th. O'Day managed to turn this into the Marlins' best chance of the day when he hit Brian Anderson with a pitch and issued a walk to Cooper to load the bases. Matt Joyce had a chance to tie up the game, but he grounded out to 1B Freddie Freeman on O'Day's next pitch, and all three runners were left stranded.
The Marlins used three relievers, each pitching one scoreless inning, while the Braves used the same number after O'Day, all for one inning as well. Tyler Matzek handled the 7th, Will Smith the 8th, and closer Mark Melancon the 9th, getting the Marlins in order to receive credit for the save. Only one batter reached base during those three innings, Corey Dickerson who made it to first base on an error by SS Swanson to lead off the 8th against Smith. However, the next batter, Jon Berti, hit a ball that landed just in front of Markakis in right field; Dickerson had to hold up, not knowing if the ball would be caught, and he was thrown out at second as a result. One final note: Ronald Acuna had done some trash talking on social media after Game 1, saying the Marlins had thrown at him because they couldn't get him out. Well, in this game, he got to wear the proverbial golden sombrero, striking out four times in as many plate appearances against Miami's pitchers.
Game 3 @ Minute Maid Park
|WP: Kyle Wright (1-0); LP: Sixto Sanchez (0-1)|
|Home Runs: none|
- Attendance: none
The Braves ended the Marlins' history of never having lost a postseason series in convincing fashion when they won Game 3 by a 7-0 score, to complete the sweep and register a fourth shutout in five games this postseason, all wins of course. The pitching match-up featured two very promising youngsters in Kyle Wright for Atlanta and Sixto Sanchez for Miami, but it was Wright who did better, as Sanchez was continually in trouble after the 1st inning and ended up giving up 4 runs in 3 innings, building a hill that was too steep for his teammates to climb. The game - and the series - was basically over by the time he left.
The Marlins were now the home team and Sanchez had a great 1st inning, retiring the Braves in order on just five pitches, but that would just about be the only highlight for the Marlins that afternoon. In the bottom of the inning, they stranded a pair of runners after Corey Dickerson and Jesus Aguilar hit singles off Wright, then in the 2nd, Sanchez managed to escape a very tight situation. He got himself buried in a heap of trouble by putting the first three batters of the inning on base: Travis d'Arnaud with a single and Ozzie Albies and Dansby Swanson both with walks. But somehow, Sanchez managed to wiggle out: he struck out Adam Duvall and Nick Markakis hit a line drive to left on which Dickerson made a beautiful diving catch. This should normally have led to a run, but d'Arnaud made a baserunning blunder, forgetting to tag up, and he could not take advantage of Dickerson being flat on his stomach and in no position to throw home after he made the catch. Austin Riley then grounded to shortstop and the half-inning ended with the game still scoreless.
In the 3rd however, Sanchez ran out of miracles. It all started, as it often does, with a walk, this one to Ronald Acuna. He stole second base and Freddie Freeman singled, advancing Acuna to third. Marcell Ozuna hit another single and Acuna scored the first run. D'Arnaud, who was in the midst of a great series, was next up and he doubled to right, driving in two more runs and atoning for his baserunning mistake the previous inning. Shortly thereafter, he scored the fourth run on a sacrifice fly by Swanson, and given the Marlins' difficulty in scoring runs, it looked really bleak for them. They saw what was probably their last hope extinguished when they wasted a golden chance in the bottom of that inning. They loaded the bases with a hit batsman, a single and a walk, but Jazz Chisholm grounded out to second base for the final out, and all three runners were stranded. Trevor Rogers replaced Sanchez in the 4th, and he gave up a fifth run after retiring the first two batters, on a walk and a single by Freeman that was misplayed by CF Magneuris Sierra. The Braves added two more runs in the 5th, with Albies doubling, Swanson singling and Duvall doubling as well. There were no more runs after that, and it was just a question of Atlanta completing the last innings. After Wright's six innings, three relievers pitched an inning each - A.J. Minter, Jacob Webb and Shane Greene - and they put the Marlins out of their misery. The Braves advanced to the NLCS for the first time since 2001.
- Mark Bowman: "'This team is special': Braves sweep to NLCS", mlb.com, October 8, 2020. 
- Paul Casella: "Who has edge? MIA-ATL position by position", mlb.com, October 6, 2020. 
- Gabe Lacques: "Braves finish off sweep of Marlins with another shutout, advance to NLCS", USA Today, October 8, 2020. 
|Major League Baseball National League Division Series