Atlanta Braves 9, Miami Marlins 5
The Miami Marlins fortune at their home ballpark is finally regressing to the mean. After dropping the series opener against the Atlanta Braves on Friday night, the Fish dropped their second straight behind a shaky outing from Jacob Turner and shoddy infield defense.
Jason Heyward added a two-run single in the fourth to give Atlanta a 5-0 lead.
But the Marlins fought back. Christian Yelich led off the fifth with a triple off Braves starter Ervin Santana. He would score on a Derek Dietrich single. The Marlins were unable to initiate a rally after Giancarlo Stanton struck out swinging to record the first out of the inning. Casey McGehee and Garrett Jones both followed with outs and Dietrich was left stranded at first base.
Miami showed more signs of life in the sixth when Dietrich tripled home Yelich with no outs. Stanton then drew a walk and Jarrod Saltalamacchia brought Dietrich home on a sacrifice fly, narrowing the score to 5-3.
But their situational hitting faltered. Dietrich, Jeff Baker and Garrett Jones each grounded into inning-killing double plays. The team as a whole left 12 runners on base in Saturday’s contest.
Turner, coming off his strongest start of the season — 6.1 innings of shutout ball and a win over the Milwaukee Brewers — lasted just five innings on Saturday. He struggled to find the strike zone, recording four walks and four strikeouts, on top of seven hits and five runs (four earned). Turner’s ERA now stands at 5.59.
McGehee popped an RBI-double in the eighth and Marcell Ozuna plated him on a bloop single, bringing the Marlins to within a run at 6-5.
Things came apart for good in the ninth when the Braves jumped all over A.J. Ramos. Miami’s normally-effective eight inning man gave up three runs (two earned) on three walks and two hits. By the time the damage was done the Braves enjoyed a four-run advantage heading into the bottom of the ninth.
The Fish would load the bases with two outs against Craig Kimbrel, but McGehee couldn’t capatalize and grounded out. The see-saw battle ended with the Braves on top, 9-5.
For the first time this year the Marlins have now lost two straight home games. They look to avoid a three-game sweep to the Braves on Sunday when they send Nathan Eovaldi (4-2, 3.36 ERA) to the hill. The Braves will counter with Aaron Harang (4-4, 3.29).
And now, your Marlins report card for Saturday’s close-but-no-cigar comeback attempt:
Jacob Turner, SP, C-
5.0 IP, 7 H, 5 R (4 ER), 4 BB, 4 K
Turner lasted five innings out of sheer necessity due to Mike Redmond‘s bullpen being taxed. He was effective over his first two innings, allowing just one hit before things unraveled a bit in the 3rd. He probably could have gone one more inning, but with his team down 5-1 and Turner’s pitch count at 90, Red called on Jeff Baker to pinch hit.
Derek Dietrich, 2B: B
2-for-5, 1 3B, 2 RBI, 1 R, 2 SO
Dietrich tripled and posted a pair of RBI, but also GIDP’d to erase Christian Yelich with no outs in the first inning. He fouled off pitches and battled admirably in the eighth against reliever Luis Avilan before striking out looking.
Christian Yelich, LF: B+
3-for-4, 1 3B, 1 BB, 2 R
He led off the 4th with his fifth triple of the year, and would score two of Miami’s three runs on the day. His batting average is back up to .256 thanks to the three-hit performance, a good sign considering his recent struggles in the leadoff spot.
Casey McGehee, 3B: B
1-for-3, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 1 R, 1 SF
Casey McGehee once again does what Casey McGehee does: Great situational hitting. He posted a sacrifice fly and RBI double in this game. His batting average has flirted with .300 for the past several weeks and currently stands at .298. I’m just saying, Casey McGehee needs some consideration for a reserve All-Star spot.
Jeff Baker, PH: F
The reserve infielder grounded into a double play in his only plate appearance in the fifth with his team trailing 5-1, two men on base and one out. I’m pretty sure Jacob Turner could have done that just as well, so this was a wasted pinch hit spot. That’s a fail, Mr. Baker.
A.J. Ramos, RHP: F
0.1 IP, 2 H, 3 R (2 ER), 3 BB, 0 K
What was that about regressing to the mean? Ramos has been one of the Marlins’ most reliable bullpen arms, but he had an outing to forget on Saturday. He recorded just one out while walking three and conceding three runs. One of those was unearned thanks to a throwing error by Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Ramos was replaced by Kevin Slowey after walking in that third run.
Miami Marlins: C-
Well, they lost, so I can’t give them a C or higher, right? The Marlins continue to show great fight and refuse to go down quietly, much unlike the 2013 team, but they came up a run short in this one. Three key errors by the Marlins were the difference even though the offense clawed back with four late runs. They will look to avoid their first home sweep of the year on Sunday at 1:10 PM at Marlins Park.