The Atlanta Braves are starting to receive the offensive performance they expected from Marcell Ozuna, who will take a three-game home-run streak into the middle contest of a three-game series at the Miami Marlins on Saturday evening.
Ozuna went 2-for-5 in Atlanta's 5-3 win on Friday and extendedhis hitting streak to seven games, during which he is batting .310 (9-for-29).
It's quite a difference from a previous stretch in which he endured a 16-game period without an extra-base hit and went without a homer for 22 games.
"We know what a guy like Marcell can do," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "When he gets hot, he an carry you. I mean, he can put a team on his back. That's kind of what we were hoping for. He felt good coming out of (the series vs.) Milwaukee, and hopefully he will feel good here."
Ozuna hit one of three home runs launched by the Braves on Friday. The club has 50, two behind the National League-leading Milwaukee Brewers.
A pair of right-handers will start on Saturday as Atlanta sends Kyle Wright (3-2, 2.79 ERA) against Miami's Elieser Hernandez (2-3, 6.15).
Hernandez is 0-2 with a 6.75 ERA in three starts in May. In his last start on May 15 against Milwaukee, he allowed five runs (two earned) in four innings to suffer his second straight loss. Hernandez has allowed 10 homers in 33 2/3 innings this season.
Hernandez owns a 1-1 record with a 3.22 ERA in 11 career appearances (six starts) vs. the Braves. He pitched against Atlanta on April 23 and allowed five runs on seven hits -- three home runs -- in 4 2/3 innings.
Wright is coming off his sixth quality start of the season. He allowed three runs (one earned) in 6 1/3 innings against the San Diego Padres on May 15. He struck out nine and walked two but received no decision. He has not earned a win since April 28.
Wright has received the least run support of any Atlanta pitcher with at least four starts. The Braves average only 1.8 runs on his behalf.
Wright is 1-2 with a 4.74 ERA in four career starts against the Marlins. He picked up the win vs. Miami on April 22 after pitching six scoreless innings and striking out 11.
The Marlins were happy to get Jorge Soler back in the lineup on Friday. He had missed three games with a sore back but returned to go 2-for-4 with a towering 413-foot home run. Soler is hitting only .204 but has six of his eight homers in May.
"He's looking good," Miami manager Don Mattingly said of Soler. "I don't know if he was putting pressure on himself or just didn't quite have his feel in spring training. Even though he got some hits, he still didn't have a lot of at-bats. He's starting to look like he's kind of got his rhythm. We're in a good spot with him right now."
Atlanta's Ronald Acuna Jr. went 2-for-4 on Friday and extended his on-base streak to 27 games dating to last season. The Braves used Acuna at designated hitter instead of in right field to reduce wear and tear on his right knee. He remained aggressive and stole his seventh base of the season.
--Field Level Media