Veteran outfielder goes 2-for-3 with an RBI double
By Mark Bowman & Joe Frisaro
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Jonny Gomes delivered a two-run single and Alberto Callaspo notched a pair of singles against Tom Koehler to help the Braves claim a 6-3 win over the Marlins at Champion Stadium on Thursday afternoon. Cody Martin tossed three scoreless innings of relief to earn the win.
Gomes' two-run single highlighted a three-run third inning that included Freddie Freeman scoring on a balk charged to Koehler, who allowed six hits and issued three walks while allowing four runs (three earned) over four innings.
After Koehler weakened his bid for the fifth spot in Miami's rotation, David Phelps strengthened his candidacy by surrendering one unearned run, despite issuing three walks over the three innings.
Jeff Mathis' two-out single in the second plated the only run Braves starter Manny Banuelos surrendered in two innings. Because he will be on an innings limit, Banuelos remains a candidate to begin the year in Atlanta's bullpen.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Johnson's hot bat: Kelly Johnson delivered a pair of singles, including one that put Eric Young in position to drive in a fourth inning run with a sacrifice bunt. As he has shown some life with his bat this week, Johnson has re-established himself as a candidate to begin the year as a super utility player.
Extending the inning: In Atlanta's three-run third inning, shortstop Donovan Solano committed a high throw on what should have been a double play. After Koehler walked the pitcher, Martin, to lead off the inning, Young bounced a routine grounder to short. Solano got the out at second and overthrew first, but no error was charged since you can't assume the double play. Miami got back in it in the sixth inning, scoring two runs.
Ichiro's swing big:Ichiro Suzuki had an RBI double and Solano drove in a run with a two-out single, which made it a 4-3 game. Josh Outman, who is targeted to serve as Atlanta's lefty specialist, allowed Suzuki's double. He has allowed three hits and issued a walk while facing eight left-handed batters this year.
"I don't know exactly what date. We've got to probably announce our Opening Day starter before the fifth starter. We'll see. Let these guys keep throwing and build them up, and then we'll have a decision. When that's going to be, I don't know yet," -- Marlins manager Mike Redmond on when the club will announce its fifth starter.
"My arm feels really good. I had good break on my offspeed pitches, but we've got to do a better job of executing. The stuff is there right now but the execution is not." -- Koehler after giving up four runs on six hits with three walks and a balk.
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Miami ace Jose Fernandez (Tommy John surgery) continued his throwing program on Thursday, throwing 40 pitches off the mound. Fernandez is throwing fastballs and changeups right now. He still is looking at a return date around mid-season.
Koehler walked Martin to begin the bottom of the third inning. Martin has not drawn a walk in 34 professional plate appearances and Koehler has issued four walks over 106 career plate appearances against pitchers.
Braves rookie catcher Christian Bethancourt was scratched from Thursday's lineup when he reported to the stadium running a fever. Manager Fredi Gonzalez sent Bethancourt home immediately because he did not want to risk a flu outbreak in his clubhouse.
Left-hander Chris Narveson, reassigned to Minor League camp by the Marlins the other day, is resting a left elbow sprain. Narveson is on no-throw status for at least a week.
WHAT'S NEXT: These two teams complete their home-and-home, two-day stint on Friday at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, Fla., at 7:05 p.m. ET. Miami is going with right-hander Dan Haren (1-1, 2.00), while Atlanta counters with left-hander Wandy Rodriguez (2-0, 1.13). Giancarlo Stanton and Christian Yelich are among the Miami regulars scheduled to oppose Rodriguez, who is battling for a rotation spot. Atlanta's Freddie Freeman and Andrelton Simmons are scheduled to make the trip. The game will be on TV in Atlanta and South Florida.