Losing is never fun, but it happens.
Tim Hudson was great once again on Sunday night and deserved the win. Unfortunately for him, Ricky Nolasco was just a little bit better. That, and Braves killer Dan Uggla finally woke up.
Nolasco was filthy on Sunday and struck out 11 Braves hitters. What is it with Marlins pitchers striking out all of our hitters? They're young and talented, but they always seem to make us look foolish at the plate.
The Marlins scored 2 runs in the first on a Dan Uggla single. With 2 outs, Uggla lined one up the middle that Hudson just barely missed with his glove. Instead, it ricocheted into right field which allowed both runners to score easily. An unfortunate way for the game to start.
The Braves battled back in the 1st...or at least tried too. After they loaded up the bases with no outs in the inning, Brian McCann struck out for the first out of the inning. Eric Hinske, mired in a 2-week slump, juuuust missed a grand slam to right field. To be honest, everyone watching the game thought it was gone. Unfortunately, Cody Ross made the catch a few feet in front of the RF wall and it went for a sacrifice fly. Melky Cabrera grounded out to end the inning. Bases loaded, no outs, 1 run. Awesome.
Dan Uggla struck again in the 4th. After it appeared Hudson was settling down, Uggla ripped a 2-2 fastball into the LF seats. The Fish led 3-1 after 4.
Brian McCann answered back in the 6th when he hit a solo-HR to RF that just barely cleared the wall. Off the bat, most figured it would go for a double, yet somehow it found it's way out. The Braves trailed 3-2 heading into the 7th.
Tim Hudson got himself into a bases loaded jam in the 8th inning, but came up huge with a strikeout of Hanley Ramirez and then forced Jorge Cantu to ground out softly to the pitcher. The Braves had all the momentum heading into the 8th.
Gregor Blanco led off the inning and reached when Ramirez foolishly tried to field the ball with his chest. Brooks Conrad laid down a sacrifice bunt to move Blanco into scoring position. Brian McCann flied out for the 2nd out. Chipper Jones appeared as a pinch hitter for Hinske, but the Marlins (smartly) intentionally walked him to face Melky Cabrera. Melky chopped a ball up the middle, but Hanley Ramirez made a great play on the ball to throw out Cabrera by a step. The Braves still trailed 3-2.
Leo Nunez came in for the 9th and set Yunel Escobar, Matt Diaz and All Star Omar Infante down in order.
A tough loss, but it happens. The Braves still remain 2 games ahead of NY and 5 ahead of Philly in the NL East.
Ricky Nolasco - 7IP, 6H, 2ER, 1BB, 11K
Dan Uggla - 2-for-4, HR, 3RBI
Tim Hudson - 8IP, 6H, 3ER, 1BB, 7K
Melky Cabrera - 1-for-4, 4LOB; The Melk Man had 2 runners on in the 1st and 2 runners on in the 8th...he grounded out both times. Thata boy!