The Braves stayed within striking range against Jose Fernandez, and they pounced after the Marlins’ ace exited. Jace Peterson belted a game-tying two-run homer in the eighth inning and came through again with a two-out RBI single in the 10th inning that rallied Atlanta to a 3-2 win on Tuesday at Marlins Park.
The Braves were limited to one infield single by Nick Markakis off Fernandez until the eighth. Atlanta rallied on Peterson’s two-run homer off David Phelps for his first blast of the season. In the 10th, Peterson slapped the decisive single off lefty Mike Dunn, extending the Braves’ winning streak to six games. Atlanta is 6-1 against Miami on the season.
“It’s a cutter that didn’t cut,” Phelps said of Peterson’s homer. “Turns into a bad fastball. That’s all it is. I’ve had pretty good success against Jace in the past. Credit him. I made a bad pitch, and he did what he’s supposed to do with it.”
“That was huge for Jace,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said of Peterson’s game-tying homer. “It’s almost like the guy could feel the dugout like, ‘All right boys, we’re back in this thing.’ And then the huge hit off Dunn there. That was a pretty swing and about as nice as you could do it.”
Fernandez may have skipped one start, but the 23-year-old definitely didn’t miss a beat. Working on extra rest because he is on a season-innings plan, Fernandez struck out seven while allowing one hit in seven shutout innings. The right-hander was in line for the win before Peterson’s two-run blast.
“I’m pretty happy with the gameplan, yes,” Fernandez said. “Not happy with the result during the game. But it’s baseball. We’re going to lose some, we’re going to win some. But, guess what? We’re going to come back at it tomorrow.”
Braves right-hander Bud Norris worked 5 1/3 innings, givign up two runs with six strikeouts. Fernandez helped his cause with an RBI single in the second, and Adeiny Hechavarria’s two-out, run-scoring single gave Miami a two-run lead in the fourth.
Ichiro Suzuki recorded two hits, including an infield single in the 10th inning, leaving the 42-year-old 18 shy of 3,000.
“They’ve kind of had our number,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “They’ve had a few people’s number. They’ve won six in a row. They’re a club that has been playing good right now. We just haven’t been able to put them away. We’ve been able to get leads, but we haven’t been able to add on runs.”
Peterson was clutch yet again in the 10th. Chase d’Arnaud led off the frame with a walk and advanced to second on Emilio Bonifacio’s sacrifice bunt. After d’Arnaud moved to third on Dunn’s wild pitch, Peterson slapped the go-ahead single to left. Peterson, who has a hit in nine of 10 games since being recalled on June 10, entered Tuesday 1-for-12 (.083) off lefties this season.
“Runner on third there with two outs, I’m just trying to get a hit and extend the game,” Peterson said. “It worked out. He threw me a fastball that cut a little bit over the plate, and I was able to put a good swing on it and win a ballgame.”
After watching their two-run advantage slip away in the eighth inning, Miami was in danger of falling behind. Phelps allowed a single to Ender Inciarte after Peterson’s home run tied it. Inciarte was off and running on Freddie Freeman’s fly ball to short left field. If the ball dropped, he would have scored. But Christian Yelich covered plenty of ground in left field and made a sliding catch. Inciarte was well around second when the ball was caught, and he was easily doubled up.
Peterson, who grounded out three times against Fernandez, didn’t waste any time picking a pitch to hit when Phelps took over in the eighth. The second baseman cranked Phelps’ first pitch to him into the right field seats, knotting the game at 2. The long ball was Peterson’s first of 2016 and seventh in 210 career games.
“It’s funny because my first career home run was here, and then my first one this year was here as well,” Peterson said. “I don’t know if it’s just a coincidence or what it is, but it definitely feels good to get another one here.”
Jose’s sharp single: Striking out hitters is routine for Fernandez, who had seven in seven innings on the night. The Marlins’ ace takes extra pride when he can also do some damage at the plate. In the second inning, Fernandez put Miami on the board with a sharp single to left, which scored Derek Dietrich from second. Fernandez didn’t get cheated on his swing, either. Per Statcast™, the exit velocity on the single was 108 mph.
John Gant (1-1, 4.37 ERA) looks to build off his first Major League win after defeating the Mets Friday, as the Braves take on the Marlins at 11:10 a.m. CT on Wednesday. Gant owns a 2.93 career ERA on the road.