Moore's pinch-hit HR lifts Marlins over Braves

Moore's pinch-hit HR lifts Marlins over Braves

MIAMI -- After the Marlins' losing streak reached five games, manager Don Mattingly asked of his team how much it was going to take. Tyler Moore provided a big answer on Sunday, blasting a three-run, pinch-hit homer in the seventh inning that rallied Miami to a 3-1 win over the Braves on Mother's Day at Marlins Park.

Moore jumped on a first-pitch, 78.7-mph knuckleball from R.A. Dickey, and the drive cleared the left-center-field wall. It was the Marlins' first pinch-hit home run of the season, and it provided a boost to a club that was in danger of getting swept and dropping six in a row at home.

"They say right-handers hit knuckleball pitchers better than left-handers do," Moore said. "I figured maybe I'd get a pinch-hit spot. Numbers are decent against him. He was keeping us off-balance all game. It was tough for us. Just tried to put a good swing on it."

According to Statcast™, Moore's home run projected at 413 feet with an exit velocity of 102 mph. It marked the fourth career pinch-hit homer for Moore, and Miami's first since Derek Dietrich knocked one on Sept. 21, 2016, against the Nationals. Moore is now 4-for-6 with two homers in his career off Dickey. The previous home run off the knuckleballer was also hit during a seventh-inning pinch-hit at-bat on Sept. 11, 2012.

"I thought it was a double," Moore said of his first thought off the bat. "This park is too big to assume anything. I just was trying to run hard and get to second, scoring position."

Dickey's solid outing

Moore was given his opportunity after home-plate umpire Marvin Hudson's call didn't go Dickey's way on a 3-2 knuckleball to A.J. Ellis that appeared to touch the top of the strike zone. The resulting one-out walk extended the inning and ultimately helped the Marlins prevent a three-game sweep.

"I threw a good pitch [to Ellis]," Dickey said. "I thought it was there on 3-2. He balled it, and that meant that other guy Moore was going to get a shot. He ambushed kind of a tumbler, and we lose."

Ellis walks to first base

Justin Nicolino, called up from Triple-A New Orleans, started for the Marlins and gave up one run in six innings. The Braves opened the scoring in the fifth on Nick Markakis' RBI single.

"To me, the biggest thing coming in was being efficient as much as possible," said Nicolino, who got a boost after getting Markakis to bounce into a double play with the bases full in the first inning. "I know we were scuffling a little bit. The biggest thing for me was to come in and throw up a quality start. To go out there [and] keep us in the ballgame. Fortunately, T-Mo, came up there with the big three-run home run. For me, that's the biggest thing, keeping the guys in the ballgame and doing my job."

Nicolino allows one in six

The Braves went 1-for-13 with runners in scoring position and matched a season high by stranding 12 runners. Matt Kemp's 13-game hitting streak ended when he sent a ball to right field for the final out with Ender Inciarte at second base.

"As much as we want to do every single time we get the opportunity, it just didn't happen," Freddie Freeman said. "One thing led to another. We had our opportunities with guys in the middle of our order. We just didn't get it done today."

With his mother, Cynthia, in the stands, A.J. Ramos collected the save and gave the final out ball to his mom.

Ramos gifts ball to mother

Ramos earns the save for his mom

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Stanton's opposite-field double: Giancarlo Stanton was visibly frustrated during Saturday's loss, and it lingered until Sunday's seventh inning. Stanton opened the frame with a double to right-center, lining a 76-mph knuckleball into the gap with an exit speed of 100.3 mph, per Statcast™. The two-base hit set the stage for Moore's two-out, three-run homer.

"It was nice to get that leadoff guy on; it puts them in danger right away," Mattingly said. "You'd like to get him over to third. But to have him in scoring position -- you have three shots really to drive him in -- is a good thing."

Stanton doubles in the 7th

No go, running on Ozo: The Braves were aggressive on the bases as they held a one-run lead in the seventh inning. Adonis Garcia singled off Kyle Barraclough and attempted to take third on Freddie Freeman's single to left-center. Initially, it appeared to be the right decision because left fielder Marcell Ozuna had to go into the gap, spin and throw. But Ozuna made a strong throw to third and prevented Garcia from advancing as Dietrich applied the tag on a close play. Even though Freeman took second on the throw, Barraclough was able to get out of the inning unscathed.

"It's a play that's actually an easier throw, but it has to be perfect," Mattingly said. "The throw has to be right on line. That's what we saw -- it was right on line -- and we're still looking at a [potential] replay. That's a bang/bang play. Obviously, that kind of gets overlooked, because of the home run and different things that happened. But when you really look back at the game, that really was a play that could change the course of it."

Added Ozuna: "A couple innings before, they ran first to third. And [Christian] Yelich cut it, so I said when I saw the [hit] on him, I say, 'Let me cut it, he might attack again.' And that's what he did. And I threw it."

Ozuna nabs Garcia at third

QUOTABLE
"[Moore] has got some hits against R.A., but if the [knuckleball] does what it's been doing all day long, he doesn't do that. The pitch just kind of went up there and stopped and he did his job." -- Braves manager Brian Snitker, who briefly served as Moore's skipper with the Triple-A Gwinnett Braves last year

"You don't necessarily have an approach against knuckleball guys. It's more like, 'Get him up, and let it go.' Those are at-bats not like any other. You're trying to get him up and let it fly." -- Mattingly, on facing Dickey

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
When Nicolino plunked Garcia on the leg with a pitch in the fifth inning, it marked the ninth straight game a Marlins pitcher has hit a batter.

WHAT'S NEXT
Braves: Bartolo Colon will take the mound when Atlanta opens an Interleague series with the Blue Jays at 7:07 p.m. ET on Monday in Toronto. Colon has a 9.55 ERA and allowed opponents to hit .375 over his past four starts.

Marlins: Miami opens a three-game series with the Astros at 7:10 p.m. ET on Monday. Dan Straily (1-3, 4.03 ERA) starts for the Marlins. In his career, the right-hander is 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA in three career starts against Houston.

Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.