MIAMI -- For six innings, it looked as if Wei-Yin Chen was primed to go the distance. The left-hander was in control, breezing along on 69 pitches while facing the minimum amount of batters.
Everything changed with one out in the seventh on Friday, as Chen got into trouble and didn't make it through the inning and the Marlins watched an early lead turn into a disheartening 6-3 loss to the Braves at Marlins Park.
"I don't think I was tired," Chen said through his interpreter. "I was just trying to do a better job. I possibly missed some spots there. I felt pretty good in the first few innings, I tried to do a good job in the seventh, but unfortunately I didn't do it."
Overall, it was an impressive outing for Chen, a reassuring one considering he hadn't pitched since getting struck on his left elbow on Opening Day against the Tigers.
To allow the inflammation to subside, Chen was given time to recover. So on Friday, he was on the mound for the first time in 10 days, and he showed few signs of rust.
The lefty was charged with two runs on four hits with one walk and six strikeouts.
"That's what we're kind of looking for out of him," catcher J.T. Realmuto said. "He had everything going tonight. He had his fastball, both sides of the plate. He was working his slider in to righties, away from lefties really well. He even threw a couple of back-door sliders to righties, which were really effective, keeping them off the fastball.
"Then, late in the count, he was able to bury his curveball quite a bit and get a lot of swing and misses, which was big for him."
For a while, it looked as if Chen could snap Miami's string of 273 straight games without a starter throwing a complete game. But now they're at 274 -- Henderson Alvarez went the distance against Tampa Bay on June 3, 2014.
The night didn't start out so great, as Chen walked Markakis on four pitches. But he induced a double-play ground ball from Castro, and then sailed along, not allowing a hit until Gordon Beckham's one-out single in the fifth. But after that, he got a double-play grounder out of Jeff Francoeur.
"In the first inning, and a couple of innings after that, I was able to hit my spots, and I was able to induce those double plays," Chen said. "In the seventh inning, maybe I was trying to be too perfect, and hit the corners. I should have done a better job in the seventh. I missed my spots there."
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. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.