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Medlen, Justin Upton lead Braves past Marlins

MIAMI -- Atlanta starter Kris Medlen continued his mastery of the Miami Marlins and his dominance since the 2012 All-Star break, and Justin Upton provided yet another big hit as the first-place Braves posted a 3-2 win on Tuesday night at Marlins Park.

Medlen, who tossed 12 scoreless innings against the Marlins here last season, gave up one unearned run in seven innings and three hits as the Marlins (1-7) got another stellar effort from a starting pitcher but failed to back him with much offense.

A night after Kevin Slowey threw seven innings of two-run ball against Atlanta, left-hander Wade LeBlanc pitched six innings and allowed only two runs himself. But a lack of Miami offense -- just four hits -- rendered it meaningless in front of an announced crowd of 14,222.

The punchless Marlins (1-7) are off to their worst start since they began 1-11 in 1998. That team, which finished 54-108 overall, scored 39 runs through its first eight games. These Marlins have scored a total of 16 runs.

Atlanta, which tacked on an important insurance run in the eighth on Upton's RBI double to make it 3-1, gave up a manufactured run to the Marlins in the eighth when Placido Polanco stroked a two-out RBI single to right off reliever Eric O'Flaherty.

But there would be no comeback in the ninth. Craig Kimbrel shut the door, picking up his fourth save of the season and second in as many nights. After giving up a leadoff walk to Donovan Solano, catcher Rob Brantly attempted to lay a bunt down. But the ball was lined directly into the glove of third baseman and defensive replacement Ramiro Pena, who doubled up Solano at first.

LeBlanc made one crucial mistake to rookie catcher Evan Gattis, which is the reason Miami trailed 2-1 after five innings.

Gattis belted a two-run homer -- estimated at 392 feet -- off LeBlanc in the first inning. The home run, the second of the season for Gattis, came on a 1-and-1 change-up and bounced in front of the colorful home run sculpture in left-center field.

The Marlins, shut out in their home opener and for the third time this season on Monday, capitalized on some shaky Atlanta defense in the second inning to score a run.

Braves center fielder B.J. Upton was charged with his first error of the season when he failed to reel in a long fly ball in the gap in left center off the bat of Greg Dobbs to open the inning.

With Dobbs on second, the next hitter, Solano, sent a slow grounder toward third that was fielded cleanly by a charging Juan Francisco. But Francisco's throw to first pulled Chris Johnson off the bag on a bang-bang play. Solano was credited with an infield single.

The Marlins scored moments later when catcher Rob Brantly lined out to left, plating Dobbs on a sacrifice fly.

The Braves, though, would make up for their defensive mishaps later to preserve their 2-1 lead.

With Placido Polanco standing on third base after a leadoff double to open the fourth, shortstop Andrelton Simmons made a beautiful backhanded grab in the hole to rob Solano of what would have been a run-scoring single. Two batters later, after a walk to Brantly put runners on the corners with two outs, Medlen got out of the jam by getting Adeiny Hechavarria to bounce into a fielder's choice at third.

NOTES: Of the two Marlins starting pitchers on the disabled list, Henderson Alvarez (right shoulder inflammation) is closer to returning than Nate Eovaldi (biceps tendinitis). Eovaldi, slated to be the team's No. 2 starter before going down the final week of spring training, said he is hoping to begin throwing next week. Alvarez, slated to be the team's No. 4 starter, said he hopes to begin throwing off a mound Friday or Saturday before beginning rehab assignments. ... Simmons, who injured his thumb last Friday sliding into second base, will wear a wrap on his hand to keep the thumb stable until it completely heals. Andrelton, who began the season as the team's leadoff hitter before being injured and missing two games, hit second Tuesday after batting in the eighth spot on Monday... Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez gave slumping right fielder Jason Heyward his first day off of the season on Tuesday. Heyward, with two hits in 24 at-bats, one homer and two RBI, was replaced in the lineup by Reed Johnson.

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Comments

kevin 1 year ago

Always liked Medlen. He is very patient and consistent, something many of the other starters are not.

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