MIAMI -- On the ropes early, and in danger of extending their season-opening losing streak even further, the Braves showed resolve and rallied behind three RBIs from Adonis Garcia, including a tiebreaking two-run single in the eighth inning, to defeat the Marlins, 6-3, on Friday at Marlins Park as Major League Baseball celebrated Jackie Robinson Day.
Garcia, who committed two errors in the third inning, became the Braves' offensive hero late with his key hits, which enabled Atlanta to avoid dropping to 0-10 for the first time since 1988. The Marlins, meanwhile, let a three-run lead slip away. They had the chance to break the game open early but bounced into three double plays, and fell to 12-26 all-time against Atlanta at Marlins Park.
Marlins lefty Wei-Yin Chen, going 10 days between starts due to a bruised left elbow, gave Miami a terrific start. He faced the minimum for 6 1/3 innings as the Marlins built their three-run lead. But with one out in the seventh, Atlanta started its comeback. Daniel Castro and Freddie Freeman had back-to-back singles, and Garcia dropped an opposite-field RBI double. Chen was lifted for David Phelps, who induced an RBI groundout from Gordon Beckham. Phelps then struck out pinch-hitter Kelly Johnson.
"It was one of those games. We didn't get the out," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "We were trying to match guys up there a little bit. We didn't get the outs that we needed. They got the hits when they needed them, and we didn't really."
The Braves' postgame clubhouse took on a celebratory atmosphere.
"We've got 'We Are The Champions' in here playing afterwards, making a complete mockery of it," said Beckham.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Pushing buttons: Gonzalez pushed all the right buttons in a four-run eighth inning. Down 3-2, pinch-runner Mallex Smith stole second and scored the tying run courtesy of Markakis, who was moved to the leadoff spot for this game. Pinch-hitter A.J. Pierzynski was hit by a pitch and scored the go-ahead run on Garcia's hit.
"That just shows you what kind of flexibility we have with this team late in games," Gonzalez said.
Chen's no-no bid: When Chen walked Markakis on four pitches to start the game, it looked like it could be a wild night for the left-hander. But Chen induced a 6-4-3 double play, and retired Freeman on a grounder to short. The lefty retired 12 straight and held Atlanta hitless until Beckham's one-out single in the fifth. The next batter, Jeff Francoeur, bounced into a 5-4-3 double play. Chen, however, settled for a no-decision.
"I think I felt pretty good," Chen said through his interpreter. "Having 10 days of rest, it might be too long for a starter, so sometimes you have doubts about whether you still have the feeling for the game. I tried not to think about all those things. I was trying to do my job out there." More >
Double-play trouble for Miami: The Marlins were all over Braves starter Williams Perez early, collecting eight hits and two walks off the right-hander in 4 1/3 innings. But they managed just three runs, the third coming on Martin Prado's RBI double. But Prado bounced into two double plays, in the first off Perez and in the seventh inning against Alexi Ogando. Christian Yelich also tapped into a 4-6-3 double play in the third inning off Perez.
Miami was 4-for-16 with runners in scoring position and left 13 on base.
"When you're leaving a couple out there early, you do think about it," Mattingly said. "But the way Wei-Yin is going, you're thinking, OK, hopefully, you survive that. And it just kind of flipped on us." More >
"I think we've been throwing the ball, as a unit out there, pretty well. We're not going to let one game affect the way we go about our job out there. Our job is to go out and pick each other up, pick the starters up and give us a chance to win. We didn't do it tonight. That's really what it all boils down to." -- Miami reliever David Phelps, who was tagged with the loss
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The Marlins have not had a pitcher turn in a complete game since Henderson Alvarez on June 3, 2014, against Tampa Bay. Chen was at 69 pitches through six innings and looked like he might have a chance to go the distance, but he was lifted with one out in the seventh inning. Miami has now gone 274 straight games without a starter going the distance.
WHAT'S NEXT Braves:Bud Norris gets the start on Saturday in the second of a three-game series at Marlins Park. First pitch is set for 7:10 p.m. ET. Norris has dropped his first two decisions this season, both to Washington. He looks to improve on a 6.00 ERA over 12 innings this season.
Marlins:Tom Koehler comes off a tough loss at Washington, where he gave up two runs in 6 1/3 innings, to take on the Braves Saturday. The right-hander has faced Atlanta 14 times, with 10 starts, and he's 2-4 with a 3.36 ERA in 67 innings.
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. Glenn Sattell is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.