Muller’s first start with the Braves this season back in May didn’t go well. He got off to a much better start this time around retiring the first seven hitters he faced. Ironically, Miami’s first baserunner came on a strikeout by Peyton Burdick that bounced away from catcher Chadwick Tromp. Muller retired the next two hitters in order to get through the first three innings on just 34 pitches.
Similarly, Jesus Luzardo cruised his way through the first three frames. Ronald Acuña Jr. led off the game with a single and moved up to second on a wild pitch but was left stranded. He retired seven straight before Tromp doubled with one out in the third. Luzardo recovered and struck out Acuña and then got Dansby Swanson to get out of the inning.
The Braves broke through against Luzardo in the fourth. Austin Riley began the inning with a single. After Matt Olson popped out for the first out, William Contreras singled to left to put runners at first and second. Robbie Grossman followed with a bloop hit in front of JJ Bleday in center to load the bases. Vaughn Grissom followed with a ground ball to third and Charles Leblanc threw home in time to force Riley at the plate.
With two outs, Luzardo then lost Michael Harris on a 3-2 pitch to force in a run to give Atlanta 1-0 lead. Tromp then struck again as he lined a double to left that scored two more to extend the lead to 3-0.
The trainers came out to check on Tromp who appeared to have some sort leg ailment on his way to second. They talked it over and Tromp stayed in the game. That was significant given that Travis d’Arnaud is still banged up and Contreras started the game as the DH.
Miami answered back in the home half of the inning. Miguel Rojas singled to center for the first hit of the day off of Muller. After Garrett Cooper struck out, Jesus Aguilar jumped on a hanging breaking ball and drove it out to left for a two-run shot to cut Atlanta’s lead to 3-2. Muller came right back though and struck out the next two hitters to end the inning.
The Braves got one of those runs back in the fifth as Matt Olson took a Luzardo pitch the other way for his 23rd home run of the season to make it 4-2.
Muller found himself in a jam in the fifth as the Marlins put runners at the corners with no one out. After a visit from pitching coach Rick Kranitz, Muller got some help from his defense as Luke Williams lined to Riley at third who threw across the diamond in time to double off the runner at first.
Muller then got Jon Berti to ground out to Swanson to end the inning. That would be it for Muller who would give way to Jackson Stephens to start the sixth. It was a fine performance as he allowed just three hits, two runs and a walk over six innings. He struck out five while throwing 73 pitches.
Another nice double play by Riley at third got Stephens through a scoreless sixth. He stayed in and retired the side in order in the seventh.
Atlanta tacked on an insurance run in the eighth as Tromp singled home Harris to extend the lead to 5-2. Tromp would have had his third double of the game, but was unable to run out of the box.
Raisel Iglesias came on for the eighth and allowed a leadoff single to Joey Wendle who tried to stretch it into a double and was gunned down on a nice throw by Acuña in right.
Iglesias retired the next two hitters to get through the eighth and Kenley Jansen closed the door in the ninth to end the game.
With the win, Atlanta improves to 68-46 on the season. Ian Anderson will get the start in the nightcap while the Marlins will go with a bullpen game.