2 HRs by Freeman, 1 by Bautista as Braves beat Miami 10-5
MIAMI (AP) — Atlanta Braves newcomer Jose Bautista is starting to look more comfortable at the plate, if not at third base.
The six-time All-Star atoned for a costly error with his first homer of the season, and Freddie Freeman went deep twice to help Atlanta beat the Miami Marlins 10-5 Saturday night.
Bautista made his first error of the year when he bobbled Brian Anderson's two-out grounder in the fifth. One run scored on the play, and Derek Dietrich followed with a three-run double to put Miami ahead 5-4.
All four runs in the inning were unearned, but Bautista led off the sixth with the 332nd homer of his career.
"That was a tough inning for us," Freeman said. "But Jose came back with a big home run that put us right back in the game."
"It somewhat of a redemption there," Bautista said.
Atlanta broke a 5-all tie in the eighth, when Marlins relievers issued three consecutive walks — each on a 3-2 pitch, and the last two with the bases loaded.
The 37-year-old Bautista was unable to find a job during the offseason. He signed a minor league contract with the Braves in April and was called up May 4.
He hasn't spent much time at third base since 2011, but that's where the Braves need him.
"Because I haven't played there consistently in a long time, it takes a little bit of repetition to get back into it," he said. "I'm starting to get there."
With the homer, Bautista ended a streak of 13 consecutive hitless at-bats. He's hitting .167 with two extra-base hits.
"I didn't have a spring training," he said. "The more pitches you see, the more comfortable you get, the more success you have. I'm swinging at good pitches; the results will come."
Freeman hit a solo homer in the first and a two-run shot in the fifth, and he also walked and singled. Both home runs came off left-hander Jarlin Garcia, who gave up three homers for the second start in a row. He allowed five runs, four earned, in six innings.
Miami's bullpen was even shakier. In the eighth, Ender Inciarte walked on a 3-2 pitch — the 13th he saw — to load the bases against Drew Steckenrider (1-1). Tyler Flowers also walked to put Atlanta ahead, and Johan Camargo drew a walk from Junichi Tazawa to make the score 7-5.
"They just kept fouling stuff," Steckenrider said. "And I wasn't able to make the big pitch when I needed to."
Inciarte added a two-run homer in the ninth , his second.
Five relievers shut out Miami over the final 4 1/3 innings. A.J. Minter (1-0) retired one batter in the seventh for his first career win.
Rookie Mike Soroka went 4 2/3 innings in his third start for the Braves and allowed five runs, but only one was earned. He struck out seven.
The multihomer game was Freeman's 13th, and his second this year. He had a career-high five hits Thursday against the Marlins and is now batting .331.
Both of Freeman's homers came with two out. This year the Braves have scored 102 runs with two out, most in the majors.
"That's a good hitting ballclub over there," Miami manager Don Mattingly said. "We're having trouble getting Freddie out. But he's not the only one."
Anderson's night was a mixed bag. The rookie right fielder mishandled Flowers' single in the second for an error that allowed an unearned run to score, but he made a strong throw to nab Freeman trying to go from first to third on a single in the ninth.
"That was a special throw right there," Mattingly said. "I've seen some throws. I haven't seen one like that."
Marlins opening day starter Jose Urena (0-5, 4.37 ERA) tries for the ninth time to earn his first victory when he faces LHP Sean Newcomb (3-1, 2.88 ERA) in the series finale Sunday.