Gattis homers as Braves top Marlins 3-1

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JUPITER, Fla. (AP) - Evan Gattis hit his first homer of spring training, a fourth-inning solo drive Wednesday as an Atlanta Braves‘ split squad beat the Miami Marlins 3-1.

Gattis batted .368 with six homers during spring training last year - a fast start he attributed to playing winter ball. He skipped winter ball this offseason.

Now Gattis feels like he’s starting to find his groove. He went 1 for 3 and raised his average to .226.

“That’s what he can do for us swing the bat and put one in the seats real quick,” Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez said.

Henderson Alvarez allowed one run and five hits in 3 2-3 innings, giving up the home run on a sinker. In his first start of spring training, Alvarez retired nine straight batters against St. Louis on Friday. That was his first game action since pitching a no-hitter on the final day last season.

B.J. Upton’s hit was the first off Alvarez since Cameron Rupp’s seventh-inning single for Philadelphia on Sept. 24.

“I wasn’t focused on not allowing another hit, I was just more focused about getting my work in and continuing to prepare for opening day,” Alvarez said through an interpeter.

In his second appearance for the Marlins, Carlos Marmol allowed three hits in 1 1-3 scoreless innings. He induced an inning-ending, double-play grounder from Jordan Schafer in the fifth after Ramiro Pena reached on an error by second baseman Derek Dietrich.

Atlanta scored two unearned runs off Steve Cishek in the eighth. Rob Brantly homered off Cody Martin with two outs in the ninth.

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Atlanta: Yunesky Maya allowed three hits in three scoreless innings. The 32-year-old right-hander is likely to begin the season in the minors.

“He’s a guy we are looking for, if he does not break camp with us to go to Atlanta, maybe somewhere down in the middle of the season he can help us,” Gonzalez said.

Miami: Alvarez threw first-pitch strikes to 13 of 15 batters.

“I try to throw strikes at the beginning, try to let they batter swing, try to get through the inning quick,” Alvarez said.

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