CLEVELAND (AP) Luis Arraez had a two-run single and Bryan De La Cruz hit a solo homer, sending the Miami Marlins to a 6-1 victory over the Cleveland Guardians in the first game of a doubleheader Saturday.
Shane Bieber (1-1) matched his career high with four walks and allowed three runs in 5 2/3 innings, including De La Cruz’s home run to right in the sixth. It was the 2020 AL Cy Young Award winner’s shortest start this season.
“That homer in the sixth was a little bit of a gut shot,” Bieber said. “I put myself in some difficult spots today and didn’t get out of them. I’ve got to be better and get outs when you really need them.”
Reigning NL Cy Young winner Sandy Alcantara was scratched in what the Marlins termed “very mild” biceps tendinitis.
Helping spoil Cleveland manager Terry Francona’s 64th birthday, Andrew Nardi (2-1) retired all four batters he faced in relief of spot starter Devin Smeltzer.
Smeltzer gave up one run in four innings, and Huascar Brazoban, Matt Barnes and Steven Okert finished the four-hitter.
“That’s exactly what we needed because it sets things up nice for the second game,” Miami manager Skip Schumaker said. “It’s a real good team win against one of the best pitchers in the game.”
Arraez drove in Jon Berti and Jorge Soler in the seventh, when Miami scored three times off Nick Sandlin and Tim Herrin to extend its lead to 6-1. Arraez went 1 for 4 and is hitting a major league-best .426 as he seeks a second straight big league batting title.
Miami went ahead in the second on Yuli Gurriel’s RBI single and Jacob Stallings’ run-scoring grounder. Josh Bell doubled in Amed Rosario in the fourth to cut the Guardians’ deficit to 2-1.
Smeltzer has made nine of his 37 career appearances against Cleveland, posting a 2-2 record and 3.70 ERA.
“It feels like I’ve pitched against Cleveland every outing of my career,” Smeltzer said, laughing. “This kind of feels like a home away from home for me.”
Passing showers delayed the first pitch by 1 hour, 50 minutes. The series opener Friday was rained out and rescheduled as part of a doubleheader.
EIGHT IS ENOUGH
Guardians 1B Josh Naylor, who had batted fourth or fifth all season, was dropped to eighth in the order and went 1 for 3. Naylor was 3 for 42 over his previous 12 games, only recording a hit in five of his 15 starts in 2023.
“I told him, I think a lot of it is mental,” Francona said. “He just tries to do too much or sometimes gets a little long and tries to hit it far.”
Marlins: Alcantara is not expected to be placed on the injured list and is slated to pitch in Miami’s series in Atlanta that begins Monday. He is 1-2 with a 5.84 ERA in four starts.
Guardians RHP Zach Plesac (1-0, 6.92 ERA) made his initial career appearance against Miami in the nightcap, facing Marlins LHP Braxton Garrett (0-0, 3.38 ERA).
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