Marlins rally, but can't offset early six-run deficit

Marlins rally, but can't offset early six-run deficit

Marlins rally, but can't offset early six-run deficit
MIAMI -- The Marlins are taking on the role of spoiler, and while they weren't able to totally ruin the Braves' night on Monday, they certainly made the National League Wild Card leaders work.

Atlanta, however, was able to prevail, 7-5, behind Dan Uggla's three-run homer and Martin Prado's four hits and two RBIs.

Early on, it looked like the Braves would breeze, after they handed Tim Hudson a six-run lead in the fourth inning.

But Miami chipped back. Gorkys Hernandez had a single, double and RBI triple, and Rob Brantly, who has hit safely in eight straight games, collected three hits with an RBI.

"We battled," Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen said. "We make the game pretty fun, and we're not going to give up. We battled back against good pitching. We just got one bad inning, one bad pitch to Uggla. Besides that, I thought everybody threw the ball pretty good."

Playing without Giancarlo Stanton, who is resting a sore left intercostal muscle, the Marlins made the night interesting.

The crowd of 23,308 pushed attendance at Marlins Park to more than two million for just the third time in franchise history. In their first season at their new ballpark, the team has drawn 2,002,047 with eight more home games remaining. The only other times the club has drawn more than two million were 1993 and '97.

Uggla's first-inning homer came on an elevated fastball. It was his 19th of the season, and put Miami in an early bind.

"Those have been few and far in between this year, and it got us off to a good start, gave Huddy an early cushion," Uggla said.

But in the seventh inning, the Marlins made it 6-5 on Carlos Lee's single to center, which scored Jose Reyes, who doubled. But in the eighth inning, the Braves added some insurance on Prado's fourth hit and second RBI.

Both starters were hit pretty hard, but it was Wade LeBlanc who exited early on the short end. The left-hander gave up a season-high six runs in four innings. Hudson was tagged for four runs on a season-high 10 hits in five innings.

"Tonight, I just didn't execute like I had been," LeBlanc said. "During the course of the season, that's going to happen a few times. Our guys did a great job of battling, fighting back. I just couldn't hold them down to give our guys a chance."

The Braves struck quickly off LeBlanc, scoring four runs with two outs. Actually, both key hits came on 2-2 counts, so the Miami lefty was a strike away from avoiding any damage.

Freddie Freeman singled with two outs, putting runners on the corners. Prado slapped a run-scoring single to center. The big blast was provided by Uggla. The former Marlin crushed a fastball over the left-field wall for a three-run homer.

"That was just a mistake," LeBlanc said. "I tried to go away and left it middle. To a hitter like that, you can't afford to do that. Other than Uggla, it was just one of those nights. I missed some barrels, they found some holes. You make some mistakes and they make you pay for them."

In the fourth inning, the Braves tacked on two more runs to take a comfortable six-run lead.

Again, some scrappy two-strike hitting by Prado played a factor in the inning. In a pitchers' count, Prado simply slapped the ball into center field.

"He's not hitting .300 for nothing," LeBlanc said. "He's a good hitter. Both of his hits, they were both changeups that I thought I executed pretty well."

Although Prado was caught trying to steal second, Uggla walked and went to third on David Ross' single. Jeff Baker delivered an RBI single, again putting runners at the corners.

The Braves' decision to be aggressive on the bases led to their sixth run. Baker was running as Hudson tapped a bouncer to the mound. LeBlanc threw to second in hopes of turning an inning-ending double play. But Baker was safe at second, while Hudson was thrown out at first by Reyes. Ross scored on Hudson's RBI.

The Marlins stormed back with a four-run fourth inning, keyed by back-to-back two-out triples. Justin Ruggiano and Donovan Solano each singled, and Brantly slapped an opposite-field RBI single to left. Bryan Petersen laced a two-run triple to right-center. And Hernandez's RBI triple got Miami back into the game.

"I think everybody here is fighting to finish strong, fighting to show everybody that next year we're going to come back ready to roll," LeBlanc said. "This year, there have been a lot of distractions. Things didn't go our way this year. We're going to finish this year strong and come back next year."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.