MIAMI (AP) – Ronald Acuña Jr. hit a score-settling homer off Jose Ureña and celebrated by tossing his bat over his shoulder, and the Atlanta Braves rode starter Mike Soroka to a 7-1 win over the Miami Marlins on Friday night.
Ureña was suspended for six games for intentionally hitting Acuña on the arm with a pitch last August, triggering a melee. That may explain why Acuña showboated a bit when he homered in the fourth, carrying his bat most of the way to first base before flipping it high in the air. Acuña blew a big gum bubble after rounding second base, then pointed into his dugout and shouted as he approached home plate.
It was Acuña’s 13th homer. He also had a one-hop RBI single off the fence against Ureña in the second, and a run-scoring single off Wei-Yin Chen in the fifth.
Soroka (7-1) pitched one-run ball into the ninth inning and lowered his ERA to 1.38. He gave up three hits, struck out six and won his seventh consecutive decision. He retired 10 in a row before allowing a leadoff walk – his second – in the ninth and then departed.
That runner came around to score, but Dan Winkler got the final three outs to complete a five-hitter.
Freddie Freeman hit his 17th home run and contributed three RBIs, and Ozzie Albies added three hits.
The Braves totaled 14 hits and looked like a team buoyed by a major upgrade, which they are. Free agent pitcher Dallas Keuchel agreed to a one-year contract with the Braves for about $13 million Thursday, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press.
Atlanta didn’t need Keuchel against Miami. Soroka threw 99 pitches and allowed less than four earned runs for the 10th time in as many starts this season.
Ureña (4-7) gave up 11 hits and six runs in three-plus innings, his shortest outing this year. He fell to 2-8 in 16 career appearances against Atlanta with an ERA of 6.64.
Starlin Castro led off the second with a double for his 1,500th career hit, but Soroka retired the next three batters. A double play helped the right-hander escape a jam in the fifth.
Soroka helped himself by snaring two sharp comebackers.
Keuchel will likely need a tuneup in the minors but should join the Braves rotation soon.
“Any team that gets a player like that is going to be fortunate,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “He has been through the wars; he has pitched in big games.”
FEELING RIGHT AT HOME
The Braves are 4-0 this year at Marlins Park and 45-23 since it opened in 2012.
Marlins: LHP Caleb Smith (left hip inflammation) went on the 10-day injured list, and RHP Tyler Kinley was recalled from Triple-A New Orleans. The Marlins don’t believe Smith’s injury is serious. Manager Don Mattingly said he’ll consider using an opener to replace Smith on Tuesday against the Cardinals. It’ll be the first time one of the Marlins’ five starters to begin the season has missed a turn.
Braves: RHP Julio Teheran (3-4, 3.28) is scheduled to pitch Saturday. He’s 7-6 in 21 starts against Miami.
Marlins: RHP Trevor Richards (3-5, 3.53) is 3-0 with a 1.88 ERA over his past four starts. That’s after the Marlins lost his first eight starts this year.
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