Jose knocks game-winner as Marlins beat Braves in extras
By Mark Bowman and Joe Frisaro
ATLANTA -- Julio Teheran endured his worst start of the season and A.J. Ramos suffered his first blown save in nearly 10 months. It was only fitting that the Marlins claimed Friday night's 7-5, 12-inning win over the Braves courtesy of the pinch-hit double Jose Fernandez hit off the pitcher he might have opposed in Saturday's start.
Fernandez drilled his game-winning, two-run double to the left-center field gap off Casey Kelly, who had been considered Atlanta's potential starter for Saturday until he was forced to enter this game in the eleventh inning.
"That's always been like a dream, to play in the outfield or to pinch-hit like that," Fernandez said. "But when it actually happened, I was like, 'Oh, my God, I'm actually doing this.' My heart rate started going faster. The main goal was trying to get a ground-ball hit somewhere, so we could get a run and go home."
Fernandez is just the second Marlins pitcher to record a game-winning pinch-hit. The first was Dennis Cook on Aug. 1, 1997, a single in the 12th inning against the Braves.
With the unexpected offensive contribution their ace provided approximately 16 hours before his next start, the Marlins won for just the third time in 10 opportunities against the Braves.
Tyler Flowers began the ninth with a game-tying solo homer off Ramos, who had successfully converted each of his previous 24 save opportunities this year and a franchise-best 33 straight dating back to Sept. 4. The blown save came after Teheran allowed a season-high 11 hits and five earned runs over 6 2/3 innings.
"It was eventful," Flowers said. "I thought we battled well. Julio wasn't real sharp early on. He was able to settle in and go a lot deeper in the game than most people expected. I thought that was a positive after a tough [first] inning there, followed by another tough inning. I think there were a lot of positives to take away. We just couldn't come up with the big hit at the end."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Career day for Ozuna:Marcell Ozuna is having an All-Star-worthy first half that has been filled with plenty of career bests. With four hits, the 25-year-old center fielder matched his career high for hits in a game, now done six times, with the most recent before Friday on June 9 at Minnesota. Ozuna connected on a two-run homer in the first inning, and in the seventh, his RBI single to center gave the Marlins their 5-4 lead.
Rough day for the ace: Teheran entered with a 23-inning scoreless streak and he had not allowed more than six hits in any of his previous 16 starts. But the All-Star candidate surrendered three first-inning hits, including Derek Dietrich's leadoff homer and the two-run homer Ozuna hit while seeing nothing but four sliders during the plate appearance. Teheran struck out the first two batters he faced in the seventh and then ended his 104-pitch night by allowing a Martin Prado single and Christian Yelich's game-tying double. Ozuna followed by greeting Chris Withrow with a go-ahead single.
"I kind of felt slow in the first inning," Teheran said. "I didn't make those pitches, but I tried to keep my mind in the game and tried to give my team a chance to win. That's what I did until the seventh when I started missing a little bit. I don't think I missed, but I didn't make the right pitches."
Jose, in a pinch: This was supposed to be a matchup we could have seen on Saturday afternoon. In the 12th inning, Kelly, who was lined up to face Fernandez on the mound, instead found himself pitching to Miami's ace, who pinch-hit with runners on first and second because Miami was out of position players. Fernandez ripped his two-run double into the gap, giving the Marlins a two-run lead. It was the first time in his career that Fernandez has pinch-hit, and he came through in a big way.
"It's one of those things you're never comfortable with," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "You don't ever think anybody is going to get hurt. You take some precautions to make sure he's getting loose. But the risk reward is not really great for you." More >
Opportunity squandered: Freddie Freeman began the 10th inning with what appeared to be a routine flyball until shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria collided with Yelich in shallow left field. Adonis Garcia followed with a strikeout and A.J. Pierzynski flew out after Nick Markakis was intentionally walked. Flowers was hit by Nick Wittgren's first-pitch slider to load the bases with two outs, but Erick Aybar flew out to end the threat.
"We just couldn't get it done," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "We made a good run at it and gave ourselves a chance, put ourselves in position, and it just didn't happen tonight."
"I think whenever they told him to go out there, I think [David Phelps] said, 'He was going to get the pinch-hit win.' And, of course, he never ceases to amaze. It was definitely good against these guys, too. They've been hard to beat." -- Ramos, who blew the save in the ninth, on his conversation with Phelps before Fernandez's game-winning hit
"Before that [12th] inning started, I was kind of trying to look into the dugout because I was hoping they would maybe send [Fernandez] back [to the hotel] for the start tomorrow. It didn't surprise me when he came out. That was kind of the guy I expected. I was just hoping maybe they'd send him back. Maybe they would have if [Saturday] would have been a 1 o'clock game." -- Snitker
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The ball keeps finding Dietrich. When he was plunked in the second inning by Teheran, it marked the 16th time this year the Marlins' second baseman has been hit by a pitch. That ties Josh Willingham (2007) for the second most in club history for a season. Carlos Delgado holds the club mark of 17 in 2005.
Teheran had allowed two home runs in an inning on three previous occasions during his career, but this marked the first time he did so in the first inning.
The Braves won a timely challenge when a replay review reversed the initial ruling that Inciarte was out at the back end of what would have been a double play in the fifth. d'Arnaud, who entered hitting .160 (8-for-50) dating back to June 10, followed with his two-run home run.
WHAT'S NEXT Marlins: Before heading to Fort Bragg later in the night for Sunday's series finale, the Marlins complete their-three-game stint at Turner Field at 4:10 p.m. ET on Saturday. Jose Fernandez (10-3, 2.28 ERA) makes his 16th start. The right-hander is 4-1 with a 2.15 ERA in seven career starts against Atlanta.
Braves: With Kelly being used on Friday, the Braves will call Lucas Harrell up from Triple-A Gwinnett to start Saturday's game. Harrell has produced a 2.81 ERA in nine appearances (five starts) for Triple-A Gwinnett. Bud Norris was scheduled to make this start before being traded to the Dodgers on Thursday.