Hit Parade Storms Florida, Braves outlast Marlins in series opener 8-6
Game No.27 Recap: Braves 8, Marlins 6
For whatever reason, when the Braves (12-15) decide to score, the runs seem to come in bunches.
That dreaded quality is one of the many reasons this club has been held back during the first month or so of the season. One day they’ll be shut out, the next day (or the day after that, the way things have gone lately) they’ll drop 10 runs on the opposition with relative ease.
Tonight was no different.
Atlanta snapped a four-game losing streak to the Marlins (15-13) when they brought eight runs home in the first three innings of the game. The Braves staked Florida starter Graham Taylor (0-2) to eight runs (four earned) on eight hits in just 2 1/3 innings. He allowed three walks and struck out two.
A Garret Anderson RBI (his first of the season) ground out in the first produced an early Atlanta lead that was quickly erased in the bottom half of the inning when Marlins first baseman Jorge Cantu (3-for-4, 5 RBIs) connected on a three-run home run off starter Derek Lowe (4-1).
The Braves responded in the second, scoring four times on four hits. An Emilio Bonificio error fueled the onslaught, which included an Anderson two-run single and a Yunel Escobar (1-for-5) RBI single.
The offense added three more in the third when Omar Infante (2-for-3, 2 RBIs) knocked in a run off Marlins reliever Dan Meyer and Chipper Jones (2-for-3, 2 RBIs) laced a two-run single to extend the Atlanta lead to five.
However, that’s when the bats went silent and the Braves failed to get a hit the rest of the game.
To make matters worse, Lowe struggled for much of his five innings in which he threw 101 pitches.
After serving up the Cantu homer in the first, the right-hander allowed an RBI double to the Marlins cleanup hitter in the third after enduring a ground ball off the bat of Hanley Ramirez that struck him square in the right foot.
Lowe would surrender two more runs in the fifth inning when Cantu ripped another RBI double and John Baker brought a run home on a ground-rule double. He finished the night after giving up seven hits and six earned runs while walking three and striking out five.
The Braves bullpen, which has been the team’s strong point in the past two weeks, closed the door on a Florida comeback.
Buddy Carlyle, Peter Moylan and Rafael Soriano each threw a scoreless inning before Mike Gonzalez (4) notched the save with a perfect ninth inning.
The Braves will finish up the short two-game series against the Marlins on Thursday afternoon at 12:05 p.m. Jair Jurrjens is the scheduled starter for Atlanta.
– Before tonight’s game, Chipper told a group of reporters that “Our bad luck can’t continue.” Well, it almost did. The offense came out in fine fashion in those first three innings, but then flat out fell apart the rest of the way. I don’t care how bad you’re struggling, an offense that scores eight runs in the first three frames can’t go the remainder of the game without a hit. That just shows me (and tells me) that they’ve given up — and that’s the last thing the Braves can afford to do.
– Speaking of Chipper: Hats off to him — his second hit of the game gave him 2,300 lifetime knocks. Let the countdown begin: Just 700 more to go.
–The Braves seem to always be able to count on Escobar — more than any other hitter. With his RBI in the second, Yunel raised his batting average to an astounding .536 with runners in scoring postion. That leads the majors.
– Welcome back to baseball Garret! I’ll go ahead and eat crow (just a little bit) after I lashed out at him in yesterday’s post. The left fielder had three RBIs in the first two innings — his only runs-batted-in of the season. Let’s not get too excited though. He only had one hit.
– Cantu absolutely destroys D-Lowe. How about 7-for-8 lifetime against the righty and five RBIs tonight.
– I’m starting to feel sorry for Jordan Schafer. He was 0-for-4 tonight with four, count em’, four strikeouts. You can only blame him so much, then you have to criticize Bobby for keeping him in there. He’s not just striking out on breaking balls or nasty pitches, he’s striking out on straight fastballs. I’ll be shocked if he is in tomorrow afternoon’s lineup.