Although their rotation has keyed their latest winning streak, the Atlanta Braves needed an offensive boost from an unlikely source to extend the run.
Giving the ball to one of their hottest pitchers should help the Braves resume their dominance on the mound.
B.J. Upton matched a season high with four hits, including a walk-off single in the 11th inning, as the Braves beat the Marlins 5-4 on Saturday for their 18th win in 21 games at Turner Field. Upton, batting a career-low .195, also hit his first home run since June 15 after going 4 for 40 in his previous 16 games."I've been working hard all year and I'm finally starting to see some consistent results," Upton said. "I've just got to keep playing and keep working hard and stick to what I'm doing."
Teammate Chris Johnson reclaimed the top spot in the NL batting race with four hits, raising his average to .331. He's hitting .414 in eight home games against the Marlins.
The Braves (83-52), who lead the NL East by 15 games, have scored only 20 runs during their winning streak. Their starters, though, have compensated by posting a 1.62 ERA.
Now they'll turn to Wood (3-2, 2.27 ERA), who seeks his second victory during the streak after limiting Cleveland to five hits over 5 2-3 innings in a 2-0 victory on Tuesday. He struck out five, but had a season-high four walks."(It) wasn't one of his best outings," manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "He was spraying it around a little bit and got his pitch count up, but he's tough to take swings at."
The rookie left-hander has been one of the Atlanta's top hurlers recently, going 3-0 with a 1.46 ERA with 35 strikeouts while holding opponents to a .203 batting average in his last six starts.
Wood has been particularly tough at home, going 2-0 with a 1.44 ERA and 28 strikeouts in his last four outings.
He's thrown nine shutout innings versus the Marlins - who have lost seven straight and 10 of 11 - in one start and three overall appearances this year. Wood fanned seven and gave up two hits over six innings on Aug. 10 before Miami pushed across a run in the ninth for a 1-0 victory.
Nathan Eovaldi (2-5, 3.76) outpitched Wood in that contest, striking out eight while allowing one hit over seven frames. He's given up just two runs and nine hits with 21 strikeouts in his last three starts against the Braves.
The right-hander, however, is 0-5 with a 4.30 ERA while receiving just six total runs of support over his last eight starts. Eovaldi lost his third straight start Tuesday, giving up two runs and eight hits in six innings of a 2-1 defeat at Washington.
Although Justin Ruggiano and Giancarlo Stanton hit home runs Saturday, the Marlins have averaged 2.0 runs while batting .176 during their losing streak. They rank last in the majors in average (.228) and runs (424)."We need to come back tomorrow and act as if we've been winning," said Ruggiano, who is hitting .400 with four homers and 10 RBIs in his last 12 games. "We've just got to get over this little funk we're in right now."
|August 19, 2013||Placido Polanco||7-Day DL||Concussion|
|August 19, 2013||Placido Polanco||7-Day DL||Concussion|
|July 26, 2013||Kevin Slowey||15-Day DL||Right forearm discomfort|
|July 23, 2013||Marcell Ozuna||60-Day DL||Torn left thumb ligament|
|June 25, 2013||Justin Ruggiano||Day-to-Day||Sore left shoulder|
|June 09, 2013||Casey Kotchman||60-Day DL||Strained left oblique|
|August 29, 2013||Justin Upton||Day-to-Day||Left hand injury|
|August 22, 2013||Jason Heyward||15-Day DL||Fractured right jaw|
|August 21, 2013||Brandon Beachy||15-Day DL||Right elbow inflammation|
|August 20, 2013||Justin Upton||Day-to-Day||Strained upper back|
|August 15, 2013||Tyler Pastornicky||15-Day DL||Torn left ACL - out for season|
|August 13, 2013||Dan Uggla||15-Day DL||Eye surgery|
ATLANTA (AP) -- Nathan Eovaldi wanted his first career complete game.
He settled for a dominant win.
Eovaldi combined with Steve Cishek on an eight-hit shutout, Jeff Mathis homered and drove in three runs, and the Miami Marlins beat the Atlanta Braves 7-0 on Sunday to end their six-game losing streak.
Ed Lucas had a two-run single and Mathis added a two-run double in the Marlins' five-run third inning.
Eovaldi (3-5) halted Miami's skid and his personal five-game slide by earning his first win since July 12 against Washington. He gave up seven hits with two walks and six strikeouts in eight innings, his longest start of the season.
After throwing 102 pitches through eight innings, Eovaldi was not given the chance to return to the mound for the ninth.
"I felt great," he said. "I really wanted to go back out there."
Marlins manager Mike Redmond said it was important to give an inning to Cishek, the closer who had pitched only one inning in the last week.
"I said, `C'mon, Red!"' Eovaldi said with a laugh.
Cishek worked around a walk and single to get the final three outs.
Eovaldi earned his first win in six career starts against Atlanta. He began the day with a 2.79 ERA against the Braves. He threw seven shutout innings, allowing only one hit, but received a no-decision in the Marlins' 1-0 win at Atlanta on Aug. 10.
Eovaldi said he could relax after his teammates gave him a 7-0 lead.
"It was awesome," he said. "We blew it open in the third and I was able to relax, go right after the hitters."
Braves rookie Alex Wood (3-3) yielded seven runs in 2 1-3 innings as Atlanta's six-game winning streak ended.
It was a rare poor outing for Wood, a left-hander who was 2-0 with a 0.90 ERA in five August starts. His overall ERA climbed from 2.27 to 3.15.
"Maybe experiencing it this time will help him the next time," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said.
Wood, making his fourth appearance and second start of the season against the Marlins, didn't agree with the suggestion that Miami's hitters made adjustments to his pitches and delivery.
"I don't think it has anything to do with them getting a second look," Wood said. "I've thrown against some other teams more than once.
"Give them credit. They beat me like a drum today."
Veteran pitcher Freddy Garcia , called up from Triple-A Gwinnett before the game, replaced Wood in the third. The 36-year-old Garcia threw 4 2-3 scoreless innings, allowing three hits and one walk.
"Freddy did a good job saving our bullpen," Gonzalez said.
The Braves acquired Garcia from the Orioles on Aug. 23 for cash.
"First-place team, you've got to be excited," Garcia said before the game.
Gonzalez said Garcia could also be used as a spot starter in the final month of the regular season.
Garcia is 155-106 in 16 major league seasons with Seattle, the White Sox, Philadelphia, Detroit, the Yankees and Baltimore. He was 3-5 with a 5.77 ERA in 11 games, including 10 starts, with Baltimore this season.
Placido Polanco 's single drove in Christian Yelich in the first, and Mathis homered with two outs in the second for a 2-0 lead.
The Marlins knocked Wood out of the game with five hits in the third. Donovan Solano had a run-scoring single.
Miami's Jake Marisnick threw out Paul Janish at the plate in the seventh as Janish attempted to score from second on Jose Constanza 's single to center.
NOTES: Braves 3B Chris Johnson was held out of the lineup with what Gonzalez said was "a little leg issue." Johnson had a pinch-hit single in the ninth. ... Marlins OF Chris Coghlan came off the 15-day DL and entered the game in right field in the seventh. Coghlan was placed on the DL on June 9 because of right calf nerve irritation, but a back strain was the more serious injury. ... Miami recalled RHP Chris Hatcher and LHP Zach Phillips from Triple-A New Orleans. ... Miami 1B Logan Morrison said his left knee was fine. He fouled a ball off the knee on Saturday. ... Miami OF Justin Ruggiano did not start due to slight tightness in his calf but was available as a pinch-hitter, according to Redmond. ... RHP Henderson Alvarez will be on the mound when Miami opens a series at the Chicago Cubs on Monday. ... The Braves' nine-game homestand continues when LHP Paul Maholm faces Mets RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka on Monday.