Sean Murphy has pair of 2-run homers and Braves earn 3-game sweep of Tigers with 7-0 victory

ATLANTA (AP) — Sean Murphy hit a pair of two-run homers, Reynaldo López threw five scoreless innings and the Atlanta Braves completed a three-game sweep of the Detroit Tigers with a 7-0 victory on Wednesday.

López (5-2) lowered his MLB-leading ERA to 1.57. He allowed seven hits, walked one and struck out six. López has given up just four runs in 40 2/3 innings over six home starts this year.

The Braves went 5-1 on a six-game homestand and have won six of their past seven. They allowed just two runs combined in the series and their struggling offense averaged 5.6 runs per game on the homestand.

“We’re cautiously optimistic,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said of his team's offensive turnaround. “We felt like it was going to happen at some point in time, so good to see we are getting going. Murph kind of looked like his old self. That’s exciting in itself. But throughout the lineup, we’re being who we are again.”

Murphy, who made the National League All-Star team last season, was hitting just .135 in 15 games this season entering the game. The catcher went 4-for-4 with 4 RBIs.

Murphy missed 49 games after suffering an oblique injury on Opening Day.

“The offense has been clicking a little bit more," Murphy said. "It is one of those things where hitting can be contagious. Today, everything clicked.”

Ramón Laureano was 2-for-4 with a home run, his second of the season and first with the Braves. Ozzie Albies went 2-for-4 with an RBI and scored a run. In the fourth inning and on second base with out, Albies headed for third while Tigers starter Tarik Skubal was looking in for the sign, and Skubal wildly threw to third, allowing Albies to score to make it 5-0.

“Against a guy like that, you’re trying to get (runs) any way you can,” Snitker said. “That’s just a very heads-up, alert play by Ozzie.”

Skubal (8-3) gave up five runs, four earned, in four innings and allowed two of Atlanta's three home runs.

“It just wasn’t a good day. He was off today,” Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said. “Early on, they did some two-out hitting against him.”

Gio Urshela, Wenceel Perez and Andy Ibáñez each had two hits for the Tigers, who have dropped 10 of 13.

“We have to focus on tomorrow’s game,” Skubal said. “That’s where our focus should be every single day. If we can do that for the rest of the year, I like the group we’ve got in here.”

Aaron Bummer (two innings), Daysbel Hernández (one) and Grant Holmes (one) finished the shutout. The Braves bullpen threw 10 2/3 scoreless innings in the series.

Murphy drove Skubal's changeup 407 feet into the Braves bullpen for a two-run blast to give the Braves a 3-0 lead in the third inning, then made it 7-0 in the fifth with another two-run homer.


Tigers: Right-hander Jack Flaherty (4-4, 3.01 ERA) will open a three-game series against the White Sox against right-hander Erick Fedde (5-1, 3.09) in Detroit on Friday.

Braves: Left-hander Chris Sale (9-2, 2.98 ERA) gets the start at Yankee Stadium on Friday against left-hander Carlos Rodon (9-3, 3.28) to begin a three-game series, the first game of a seven-game road trip for Atlanta.



Bill Trocchi, The Associated Press