By Joe Frisaro and Mark Bowman
MLB.com |@JoeFrisaro |
MIAMI -- All season, the Braves have presented problems to Miami. On Friday night, Adonis Garcia's two-out RBI single in the ninth inning lifted Atlanta to a 3-2 comeback win and pushed the Marlins closer to National League Wild Card elimination.
Former Marlins infielder Emilio Bonifacio slapped a pinch-hit, one-out single in the ninth off A.J. Ramos, stole second with two outs and advanced to third on catcher J.T. Realmuto's throwing error. With the count at 2-2, Garcia lined a single to left, giving Atlanta the lead, while handing Miami its third straight loss.
With their seventh straight victory, the Braves guaranteed themselves of avoiding a 100-loss season that once seemed inevitable, especially after they totaled five wins in April and entered June with a 15-36 record.
"It was a good [win]," Braves catcher Tyler Flowers said. "We were grinding. There was good passion and good team camaraderie. Wins like this with that kind of emotion can really bring a group together, or it can take them apart. I think for us, it has brought us together. It has been like that for a while now. We're having a lot of fun playing."
Atlanta, 11-6 against the Marlins on the season, had numerous chances all night, collecting nine hits and leaving on nine on base.
The Marlins struck quickly off Matt Wisler, taking the lead on Martin Prado's two-run double in the first. But the Atlanta right-hander didn't allow a hit after the first inning, and he exited after six. Miami was held to three hits.
"You know, really, this is typical of the way we played, to be honest with you," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said after his team fell to 76-78. "We catch a little stretch where we play good, win three in a row, and you start to feel you've got a little momentum, and you lose three in a row."
Atlanta closed to 2-1 in the second on Flowers' RBI single off Andrew Cashner, who gave up that lone run in five innings.
"I kind of battled my fastball command a little bit," Cashner said. "I thought I did a good job of not letting them barrel me up. Overall, I thought I mixed speeds well. It was just unfortunate."
Flowers pulled the Braves even at 2 in the sixth with his two-out double off Mike Dunn. Freddie Freeman, who doubled to open the frame, scored.
"We're playing like we're trying to get a playoff spot," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "It's a really good feeling and it's fun."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Familiar speed: Bonifacio spent most of this season with Triple-A Gwinnett, but he proved he still has some of the speed he had when he played for the Marlins from 2009-12. The veteran utility man's stolen base in the ninth inning was his first of this season and second since the start of 2015. Garcia's game-winning single capped his 12th three-hit game of the season and third within his past six games.
"The way this team has been going lately, I really haven't been focusing on home runs," Garcia said. "I've been focusing on helping the team win, whether that's by driving in a few runs or getting Freddie up to bat, so he can drive in the runs. It's been a constant effort, and I'm glad we've been improving and winning the way we have been."
Yelich saves with throw: The Braves tied it at 2 in the sixth inning and were primed to claim the lead on Jace Peterson's two-out single to center. Flowers, who drove in the tying run with a double, attempted to score from second, but center fielder Christian Yelich made a strong throw home, and catcher Realmuto applied the tag for the third out.
Nice recovery: Wisler allowed two hits, issued a walk and surrendered a pair of runs before recording his first out. But the right-hander did not allow another hit or run over the remainder of his six-inning effort. He pitched around a pair of walks in the third and ended up retiring each of the final 10 batters he faced. His effort was preserved by Mauricio Cabrera, who worked a scoreless ninth that concluded with Mallex Smith making a diving catch of Justin Bour's sinking liner in left field.
"These past two starts have been huge for himself and our team," Freeman said of Wisler. "A couple weeks ago, that might have gotten out of hand. He shut it down after that first inning. Good things are happening around here, and that's all I care about right now."
Ichiro is a hit but left on base:Ichiro Suzuki, who replaced Giancarlo Stanton in right field, led off the eighth with a single to left. It was the Marlins' first hit since Prado's double in the first. Miami advanced the 42-year-old to second base on Miguel Rojas' bunt, but with the game tied at 2, Brandon Cunniff struck out Marcell Ozuna and Prado to end the threat.
"Obviously, you feel like you're going to put some runs on the board," Mattingly said. "You get a couple of runs in the first, and from there, obviously, they make adjustments, and we weren't able to."
When Cashner struck out Ender Inciarte to lead off the game, it marked the 600th career strikeout for the Marlins' right-hander.
With one out in the ninth inning, Yefri Perez was thrown out trying to steal second by Flowers, who had thrown out one baserunner trying to steal all season. Perez, pinch-running for Jeff Francoeur, who walked, appeared to get his left hand to the base before the tag, but the replay review was inconclusive. The ruling was that the call stands.
Flowers was 1-for-58 in the catcher caught stealing category before the play.
"It was really close," Mattingly said. "I did go in and look at it. It was not really, really definitive. It's one of those, 'Yeah, we're going to challenge. We feel like it's close. We feel like he's in there, but it's really, really close.'"
Braves left fielder Matt Kemp was ejected when he voiced his displeasure from the bench after home-plate umpire Adam Hamari called a strike on Cashner's 3-1 pitch to Nick Markakis with two outs and the bases loaded in the third inning. After looking at the called strike that appeared to be high and outside, Markakis flied out to left field. Kemp proceeded to complain and was thrown out by Hamari, who then tossed Snitker during an ensuing argument. More >
WHAT'S NEXT Braves: Aaron Blair will take the mound when Atlanta resumes the four-game series at 7:10 p.m. ET on Saturday. Blair recorded his first career win on Monday when he limited the Mets to two runs over six innings.
Marlins: Lefty Wei-Yin Chen (5-4, 5.04 ERA) gets the start in the third game of the series. In his last outing, a no-decision on Monday against Washington, he gave up three runs in 4 1/3 innings. It was his first start since going on the disabled list with a left elbow sprain following his July 20 start.