The visiting Braves try for a fifth consecutive victory Tuesday night while looking to continue their recent success over the Marlins, who hope to avoid a fourth straight defeat.
The Braves (6-1) are off to their best start since going 7-1 in 2007. They've also won five in a row and 15 of 18 over the Marlins (1-6), who have not started this bad since 2006.
While his brother B.J. is 3 for 25 (.120) with 10 strikeouts this season, Justin Upton is batting .423 (11 for 29) and has eight RBIs."You definitely notice it," Justin Upton said of his own impressive start with his new team. "You can't ignore it. You try not to get too high on what's happening."
He's batting .425 with four homers and 17 RBIs in his last 22 games against the Marlins.
Scheduled Atlanta starter Kris Medlen has a tough task following up Maholm on Tuesday.
The Braves won 23 straight games Medlen started until he yielded five runs - two earned - in 6 1-3 innings of their 6-3 loss to St. Louis in last season's wild-card game. In his first start of 2013, the right-hander allowed two runs, six hits and walked four in five innings of a 2-0 loss to Philadelphia on Thursday."His last two innings of work might have been the best two innings he's thrown since last year," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "His delivery got better as the game went on. For him just to give up two runs, he did a nice job. Because very easily that game could have been out of hand right from the very beginning and he kept us in the ballgame."
Since breaking into the majors in 2009, Medlen is 15-4 with a 2.83 ERA in 32 starts for the Braves. They are 26-6 in those games.
He went 2-0 with a 1.80 ERA in three starts against the Marlins last season.
Placido Polanco and catcher Rob Brantly combined for Miami's two hits in their home opener Monday. The Marlins, whose 609 runs were the second-fewest in the majors in 2012, have scored 14 and been shut out three times already this season."When you don't score, it puts a lot of pressure on the pitching," said Marlins manager Mike Redmond , whose team is batting .170 (9 for 53) with runners in scoring position. "We can't panic. It's going to turn. It always does."
Talented young Miami slugger Giancarlo Stanton set career highs for batting average (.290) and home runs (37) last season, but is 4 for 23 (.174) with 11 strikeouts, no homers and no RBIs in 2013.
He's 1 for 5 with a home run against Medlen.
Redmond hands the ball to Wade LeBlanc , who allowed three runs and five hits in five innings of a 6-1 loss at Washington on Thursday.
The left-hander is 0-2 with a 5.65 ERA in three starts versus Atlanta. However, Justin Upton is 2 for 16 against him.
|April 07, 2013||Freddie Freeman||15-Day DL||Strained right oblique|
|April 06, 2013||Andrelton Simmons||Day-to-Day||Sprained left thumb|
|March 27, 2013||Jonny Venters||15-Day DL||Sprained left elbow|
|March 22, 2013||Brandon Beachy||15-Day DL||Recovery from right elbow surgery|
|March 22, 2013||Brian McCann||15-Day DL||Recovery from right shoulder surgery|
|March 22, 2013||Paul Janish||15-Day DL||Recovery from left shoulder surgery|
|April 04, 2013||Casey Kotchman||Day-to-Day||Strained left hamstring|
|April 04, 2013||Casey Kotchman||15-Day DL||Strained left hamstring|
|March 31, 2013||Alfredo Silverio||60-Day DL||Sprained right elbow|
|March 31, 2013||Jose Ceda||60-Day DL||Recovery from right elbow surgery|
|March 31, 2013||Logan Morrison||60-Day DL||Recovery from right knee surgery|
|March 27, 2013||Henderson Alvarez||15-Day DL||Mild right shoulder inflammation|
MIAMI (AP) -- Even when Kris Medlen felt out of sorts in the early going, he protected a lead for the Atlanta Braves . And when the right-hander finally found his groove, outs came quickly.
Medlen allowed only an unearned run in seven innings Tuesday night, and the Braves earned their fifth consecutive victory by beating the punchless Miami Marlins 3-2.
Medlen, who went 10-1 last year but lost his first start this season, retired the final 10 batters he faced and needed only 24 pitches in his last three innings.
"Once the adrenaline wore off, I was able to calm down and make some better pitches," he said. "That felt like the old me. I was just mixing in pitches better and executing better. I felt like I was all over the place the first couple of innings."
The Braves improved to 7-1, their best start since 2007. The Marlins fell to 1-7 with their fourth consecutive defeat, and they're off to their worst start since the 1998 team began the season 1-11.
Atlanta's Evan Gattis hit his second home run, and Justin Upton doubled home a run.
Craig Kimbrel pitched around a leadoff walk in the ninth for his fourth save in as many chances to complete a four-hitter. Atlanta has allowed six hits and two runs in the first two games of the series.
Announced attendance was 14,222, the smallest crowd at Marlins Park since it opened a year ago, and a reflection of fan disenchantment following the team's offseason payroll purge.
Even with a lean budget, owner Jeffrey Loria isn't getting much bang for his buck. In eight games the Marlins have scored 16 runs, with seven coming in their lone win.
"When you are not winning, you are going to get frustrated," said Placido Polanco , who had two of Miami's hits. "We're all here to win, and we're not winning right now. We just have to put a couple of hits together and start scoring runs."
Against Medlen (1-1), the Marlins went 1 for 7 with runners in scoring position, and they're batting .175 in those situations. Giancarlo Stanton , the NL slugging leader last year, went 0 for 3 to drop his average to .154.
The Marlins again lost despite some solid pitching, with Wade LeBlanc (0-2) allowing two runs in six innings. Miami starters are 1-5 despite an ERA of 2.56.
"Unfortunately, when you run into a guy like Medlen, you have to keep the game closer than that," LeBlanc said.
Medlen, who relies on pinpoint control, allowed three hits and walked two.
"I can't be too mad about the walks," he said. "I don't play fantasy baseball. I wouldn't be on my own team if I did, and I don't care. We won, so we're good."
Center fielder B.J. Upton dropped Greg Dobbs ' fly leading off the second inning, which led to Miami's first run. Rob Brantly drove it home with a sacrifice fly.
Medlen gave up a leadoff double to Polanco in the fourth but escaped with three groundouts. Shortstop Andrelton Simmons saved a run when he made a backhand grab of Donovan Solano 's sharp grounder with a runner at third and threw out the batter.
That was Miami's last threat against Medlen.
"He got sharper," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "His stuff was moving everywhere. He did a fantastic job."
Medlen has allowed no runs over 19 innings in five games at Marlins Park.
The Braves scored in the first when Simmons singled and Gattis hit a two-out homer. Gattis is batting .368 in his rookie season.
"It has been awesome," he said. "It has been a dream come true. It has been amazing. It has been everything I've wanted it to be. I'm still pinching myself."
Justin Upton had an RBI double in the eighth, which left his average at .400 and his slugging percentage at 1.100.
Miami trailed 3-1 when Stanton was intentionally walked with one on and two out in the eighth inning, even though the move put the potential tying run on base. Polanco followed with an RBI single, but Dobbs grounded out to end the inning.
The Marlins' offensive ineptitude reached a peak in the ninth. After a leadoff walk, Brantly tried to bunt and popped into a double play.
NOTES: B.J. Upton went hitless and is batting .103. ... Slumping Braves RF Jason Heyward (.083) was given the night off. ... The retractable roof was open for the second night in a row. ... Justin Upton went 0 for 3 against LeBlanc and is 2 for 19 lifetime vs. the left-hander. ... LHP Mike Minor , scheduled to start Wednesday for Atlanta, has a 2.09 ERA in 15 starts since last year's All-Star break.