Marlins win virus-delayed home opener, beat Braves 8-2

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Miami Marlins players Lewis Brinson (25) Magneuris Sierra, center, and Jon Berti celebrate after the Marlins beat the Atlanta Braves 8-2 in a baseball game, Friday, Aug. 14, 2020, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

MIAMI – Jesus Aguilar drove in three runs, Jon Berti stole home and the NL East-leading Miami Marlins won their long-awaited, coronavirus-delayed home opener, beating the Atlanta Braves 8-2 Friday night.

Miami returned to Marlins Park following a 23-day road trip, interrupted when 18 players and two coaches tested positive for the virus. After a week quarantined in Philadelphia, the Marlins resumed play at Baltimore on Aug. 4 and later traveled to New York to face the Mets and then to Buffalo to play Toronto.

The Marlins improved to 9-4.

“It’s not like a regular opening day. Usually an opening day is the building full, a lot of excitement, flyovers,” Miami manager Don Mattingly said. “It’s just not the same. I know it’s the home opener but it doesn’t like feel much of one.”

Pablo Lopez (2-1) allowed two runs, seven hits and struck out a career-high eight in six solid innings.

“We were really eager and excited to come home and play our first home game,” Lopez said. “It was fun to see the guys behind me making plays, and the aggressiveness on the bases. It was a really fun game all around. We hope to keep our foot on the gas.”

Magneuris Sierra’s bunt scored Eddy Alvarez from third in the fourth to give Miami a 3-2 lead. Berti added another run in the inning, stealing home on the front end of a double steal.

Miami stole three additional bases, including two from Jonathan Villar. Sierra also stretched a single into a double in the sixth.