Justin Bour returned from the disabled list in authoritative fashion and Dan Straily quieted a surging Braves offense as the Marlins soured Sean Newcomb’s second career start on the way to claiming a 5-0 win Friday night at SunTrust Park.
Coming off a shaky four-inning performance in Pittsburgh, Straily constructed one of his finest starts of the season, scattering four hits over 6 1/3 scoreless innings.
“I was able to control my fastball more than anything,” Straily said. “It was something the last couple of starts that we kind of made it a focus on. It was something I was frustrated with. It really comes to fastball command, and the other stuff plays better.”
Straily induced 17 swinging strikes to go with 12 called, and he struck out eight batters without issuing a walk.
“You can be wishy-washy sometimes,” Braves second baseman Brandon Phillips said. “We had the same approach we had in [earlier this week in Washington] D.C., but we didn’t take advantage of the mistakes. Dan Straily kept the ball down, but he did make some mistakes. It just didn’t go our way today. But I’ll tell you what, the young kid [Newcomb] threw the [heck] out of the ball today.”
Christian Yelich delivered an RBI double in the first inning, and Bour homered with two outs in the fourth. This provided sufficient support for Straily, who retired 19 of his final 21 batters and did not allow a baserunner to advance past first base after the first inning. Yelich would later add a two-run single in the ninth.
The Braves had tallied double-digit run totals in two of their past three games against the Nationals in D.C. But they still have not scored for Newcomb, who gave up three runs on five hits in his second career start. The highly regarded left-handed prospect limited the damage in the sixth to one run, despite giving up two hits and issuing three of his four walks in the frame.
“The only thing you even worried about was the sixth,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said of having bases loaded with one out but scoring just once. “We get the bases loaded and get only one there. You know you’ve left them in the game. You have a chance to leave them in the game there in the eighth, and Yeli gets a hit. That puts another nail in it.”
Newcomb allowed three of the first four batters to reach safely, then retired 10 in a row before leaving a fastball up to Bour, who drilled his two-out homer in the fourth inning deep over the center-field wall. The ball traveled a projected 435 feet per Statcast™ — the second-longest homer hit thus far at SunTrust Park. The Marlins’ first baseman had missed the past 10 days while recovering from a bruised left ankle.
“I was trying to get [the fastball] away,” Newcomb said. “It was up, and he was just able to get his bat head out there extended. He’s strong.” More >
After Ender Inciarte opened the first with a blooper to shallow center that he turned into a hustle double, Straily successfully navigated his way through the middle of Atlanta’s lineup that was without Matt Kemp, who is currently dealing with a sore left hamstring. The first-inning threat ended with Nick Markakis and Tyler Flowers recording back-to-back strikeouts.
“The first inning, you set the tone for the whole game,” Straily said. “The last thing you want to do when you start your day is have the third batter up, one out and a runner on third. You have to find a way to keep him from scoring. I was fortunate I was able to make some pitches and get a couple of strikeouts there and get out of the inning.”
Jaime Garcia will take the mound when this three-game set resumes on Saturday. Garcia has a 1.49 ERA over his past five starts, but to extend this success he’ll have to solve Giancarlo Stanton, who homered twice against him on April 12.