By Joe Frisaro and Steve Wilaj
MLB.com |@JoeFrisaro |
MIAMI -- Justin Bour blasted a two-run homer in the first inning, and Casey McGehee delivered a pinch-hit, two-run single in the eighth to send Miami to a 6-2 win over the Braves at Marlins Park on Saturday. Rookie Justin Nicolino allowed one run on two hits in seven innings, and Miami extended its winning streak to four games.
Before scoring four runs in the bottom of the eighth, Miami used three relievers to escape a bases-loaded jam in a 2-1 game in the top of the frame. Bryan Morris put out the threat by striking out Adonis Garcia, preserving a one-run lead.
"No out bigger than what [Morris] got," Miami manager Dan Jennings said. "That was a momentum stopper. Tremendous job making a pitch there against Garcia. Getting that out there was huge."
The Marlins have now won seven of their last eight series, and are 15-8 in September.
"Really, I've got to give all the credit to Nico," Bour said. "He came out and threw up zeros. He threw seven innings and did a great job. It all starts with pitching. Gives us a chance to win the game."
The Marlins traditionally have had a rough time against Braves right-hander Julio Teheran, who entered the night 5-1 with a 2.69 ERA against them. In the first inning, Bour's two-run shot provided the only runs Miami was able to get off Teheran in six innings.
"He pitched good," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "One pitch to Bour, he got him for a home run. Other than that, he battled and gave us good opportunities. We just didn't score runs."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Bour blasts another: Homers are coming in bunches for Bour. For the second straight night, the Miami first baseman blasted a shot in the first inning. His two-run smash off Teheran was his 21st of the season. On Friday night, Bour delivered a three-run homer in the first. Now with 68 RBIs, Bour took over the team lead in that category. Giancarlo Stanton, who hasn't played since June 26, has 67.
"I'm just out there doing my job," Bour said. "That's what everyone around here is doing to help win the game."
Different night, same result: For the second straight night, Atlanta loaded the bases with two outs in the eighth inning while trailing by a run. The Braves left the bags full in Friday's loss, and they did it again on Saturday. Following Freddie Freeman's walk to load the bases, Garcia struck out against Morris to end the inning as Miami maintained its 2-1 lead.
"He's hit those types of pitchers," Gonzalez said of Garcia. "Those are the types of pitchers he's gonna have to face for the remainder of this year and next year."
Nicolino bounces back: The Miami rookie left-hander had a nice bounce back outing after he was tagged for seven runs in 5 2/3 innings at Washington. Nicolino made it through seven innings, allowing just one run. Jennings opted to bat Nicolino with the bases full and two outs in the sixth inning in a one-run game. Nicolino tapped an inning-ending grounder to short. The Marlins were aiming to get him through seven innings, and Nicolino did the job, working a clean frame.
"In Washington, I was struggling with command and pitches up in the zone," Nicolino said. "For me that was the biggest thing, having a bounce back outing, and locating the ball down in the zone." More >
Bour cut down at the plate: The Braves kept their deficit at one run in the bottom of the fourth inning thanks to a perfect relay that began with Maybin. With one out and Bour on first, Derek Dietrich split the right-center gap with a line drive to the fence. But Maybin gathered it quickly and threw a perfect strike to cut-off man Andrelton Simmons, who relayed home to catcher Ryan Lavarnway just in time to tag Bour before he stepped on home plate.
"I got to it pretty quick -- and one thing I learned this year -- you never give up on a play like that," Maybin said. "When you're making a relay throw to Sim, if you can make it clean, there's always a chance. His arm is incredible. I see amazing stuff every day behind him -- and that's just another one to add to the list. He's the best in the game."
"That one is on me," Bour said. "Plain and simple, I've got to slide there."
"It all goes into that clubhouse. Those players are playing with pride. They're hungry to make a statement. They realize there is no rainbow at the end, in terms of postseason. But there is the mindset of, this core is together. This core is good. Finish this season strong and get ready for 2016." -- Jennings, on team's 16-8 mark since Aug. 31
"I feel really good the way I've been throwing. I feel it's been my best. A game like this -- there's nothing that you can do. I think that I did my job. They got good pitching as well and that's the story of this one." -- Teheran, who has held opponents to two runs or fewer in his last five starts (1.91 ERA)
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
When Dee Gordon committed a throwing error in the eighth inning on Michael Bourn's infield single, it was the first error in 67 games for Miami's All-Star second baseman. Gordon, who has five errors all season, hadn't made an error since committing two against St. Louis on June 25.
WHAT'S NEXT Braves: Shelby Miller (6-15, 3.00 ERA) will try to snap his 15-game losing streak and 23-consecutive-outing winless streak in the series finale at 1:10 p.m. ET at Marlins Park on Sunday. His last win came on May 17 in Miami when he held a no-hitter for 8 2/3 innings.
Marlins: In their final home game, the Marlins send right-hander Tom Koehler (10-14, 3.94) to the mound on Sunday. Koehler is 5-5 with a 3.12 ERA at Marlins Park this season.
Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast. Steve Wilaj is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.