Braves Chase Marlins Ace, Defeat Miami 6 to 3

Braves3After creating a fourth-inning eruption that influenced Jose Fernandez’s early exit at Turner Field on Friday night, the Braves backed Julio Teheran with a four-run seventh inning that propelled them to a 6-3 win over the Marlins.

Nick Markakis’ two-run single off Mike Dunn highlighted the decisive seventh that was aided by two Adeiny Hechavarria errors and a misstep by Marlins catcher Jeff Mathis. Mathis’ inability to make contact with the plate on Daniel Castro’s game-tying fielder’s choice helped the Braves erase the three runs they surrendered when Teheran suddenly encountered trouble in the top of the seventh.

“It was an exciting game. You know [Fernandez] is one of the best pitchers in this game,” Teheran said. “He’s coming back from the [Tommy John] surgery, he’s doing a great job. It was an exciting game. I was just trying to do my job and I think I did it really well.”

Fernandez totaled 29 pitches while proving perfect through the first three innings, and he then threw 33 additional pitches before recording his second out in Atlanta’s two-run fourth inning. Fernandez had completed 20 consecutive scoreless innings against the Braves, dating back to Sept. 11, 2013, before allowing RBI singles to A.J. Pierzynski and Joey Terdoslavich.

Markakis extended his hitting streak to 14 games with a single at the conclusion of an eight-pitch at-bat that included nothing but strikes during the fourth inning. Fernandez then promptly surrendered three consecutive singles and suddenly found himself facing a two-run deficit.  “Maybe that wore him out a little bit,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said of Fernandez. “We’ve seen that before, where a guy has a tough time putting a hitter away with a [long] at-bat, and the next thing you know. … It’s a grind trying to pitch to a good hitter in those situations.”

Before allowing each of the first three batters he faced in the seventh to reach safely, Teheran had surrendered just three hits. A Christian Yelich single in the fourth gave the Marlins runners at first and second with none out. But Teheran escaped that jam and righted himself before allowing three straight hits, including Hechavarria’s two-run triple, to begin the seventh. The Braves’ ace allowed three earned runs over 6 2/3 innings and now has a 2.55 ERA through 11 home starts.

Markakis recorded his second three-hit game of the homestand and eighth of the season. He has batted .361 (22-for-61) during his 14-game hit streak. But he has not been Atlanta’s hottest hitter. Pierzynski has batted .426 (20-for-47) during his 12-game hit streak.

Tom Koehler takes the hill on Saturday for Miami in the third game of the series, which starts at 6:10 p.m. CT.  Atlanta will counter with Mike Foltynewicz, who will be making his third start since being recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett. Foltynewicz allowed four home runs in six innings against the Giants on Monday. Newly acquired Nick Swisher and Michael Bourn are expected to debut for the Braves.  Thunder Radio will bring you the broadcast of Saturday’s game beginning at 6:00 PM