MIAMI (Ticker) --
off to a good start. The
never got it going against
Pierre hit a leadoff home run and Penny and three relievers combined on a four-hitter as the Marlins handed the Braves their eighth loss in 10 games, 6-0.
"Quite a few things went right," Marlins manager Jack McKeon said. "We got good pitching. We got a home run from the leadoff hitter. That set the tempo. Penny did a hell of a job."
Penny (7-5), who had not won since May 27 at Cincinnati, yielded four hits in six innings, striking out seven and walking one.
worked one inning apiece to complete the Marlins' eighth shutout this season.
"They scored a lot of runs for me early, and it makes it a lot easier on a pitcher when you have that lead," Penny said. "It's nice. They came out swinging tonight, a couple of home runs early."
Penny had received just five runs of support in his last three starts but Pierre quickly gave him a lead, sending
's fourth offering of the contest over the wall in right for his second homer of the season and fifth of his career.
"It was one of the weirdest feelings, running around the bases," Pierre said. "I thought it was going to go foul or something. I paused because the ball doesn't usually come off my bat like that."
Pierre's other homer this year came at Detroit, June 13, but was an inside-the-park shot, prompting many of his teammates to rib him about having a "legitimate" homer.
"That's a legit one now," said Pierre while holding the home run ball. "They were dogging me that the last one wasn't legit. (I guess my) power numbers are coming early."
"It's always fun to watch him," Penny said of Pierre. "He works so hard. He hit that ball pretty hard too. He's got some pop. The only reason he doesn't hit more home runs is because he doesn't want to, he doesn't try to."
Thomson (5-6) called it a terrible pitch.
"It was down and in, and when you do that, the ball usually winds up where that ball did," Thomson said.
Hee Seop Choi
began the second inning with a homer just inside the right foul pole before
extended the cushion to 5-0 with a three-run shot to left in the fourth.
Thomson (5-6) lasted just four frames, allowing five runs and five hits.
"Sometimes you get away with (bad) pitches, but tonight he didn't," Braves manager
said. "He made three real bad pitches, and they all went out. That's unbelievable."
Atlanta (32-38) finds itself six games under .500 for the first time since the 1990 season, the last season the did not win a division title.
"We don't want to go down by 12 games at the All-Star break because things could get real ugly around here," Braves first baseman
In Florida, things appear on the upswing for both Penny and the Marlins.
"This is the first time we've scored runs for him," McKeon said of Penny. "He doesn't experiment out there. He knows what he's got, and he goes after you - like
. ... He's pitched a (heck) of a lot better than a 7-5 record."
The Braves did not disagree with McKeon's assessment.
"He's real effective when he gets the lead," Franco said. "That's when he starts feeling comfortable and settles down. He gets to the point where he doesn't even want anybody to get on base, and when he's like that, he's real tough."