The Atlanta Braves lost 3-2 to the Marlins on Wednesday night, after two Craig Kimbrel wild pitches put the Marlins in position to score the winning run in the top of the 9th. Aaron Harang had one of his better games of late and Chris Johnson hit a two run homer but that’s all the Braves would manage in a bad loss.
Things got rolling for the Braves in the second inning when Justin Upton singled to right field. After Upton’s single both Jason Heyward and Evan Gattis were retired to bring up Chris Johnson. Johnson smacked a homer to left field to put the Braves in front 2-0. Johnson has been on a tear lately and it has primarily been driven by Johnson starting to pull the ball again. Johnson has much greater success at the plate when he isn’t looking to primarily go the other way. This was a good start for the Braves but it is all they would manage on offense.
Harang had things running relatively smoothly for the first four innings. He kept the Marlins off the board and did so without any of his usual high wire tricks. In the fifth though, Harang got in trouble and wasn’t able to escape unscathed. Harang started the inning with the dreaded leadoff walk to Marcell Ozuna. Jarrod Saltalamacchia followed up with a double to put runners on 2nd and 3rd with no outs. Adeiny Hechavarria cashed in the first Marlins run with a single to right field to make it 2-1. Marlins pitcher Henderson Alvarez gave the Braves their first out on a failed sac bunt. Christian Yelich then managed to tie the game on a grounder to Tommy La Stella that the Braves only got one out from when the speedy Yelich beat the throw to first. Ramiro Pena was in at shortstop for the Braves and it was the sort of play that any Braves fan has to think Andrelton Simmons would have made. Harang got the third out but the game was now 2-2 after five.
Justin Upton had a single with one out in the sixth inning for his third hit of the game. But he was doubled off 1st base when Jason Heyward lined out to short and Upton was caught wandering too far. Upton was initially ruled safe but a Marlins challenge got the call correctly changed to an out.
Harang allowed a leadoff double to Salty in the top of the 7th but in classic Harang form it didn’t come back to haunt him. Two groundballs and a strikeout later and Harang was out of trouble. It was one of Harang’s better games in a while, with not as much of a Houdini act needed to keep things under control. The hits were more scattered and the one inning of major trouble actually did result in the only Miami runs. Jordan Walden came on in relief and pitched a scoreless 8th inning.
Craig Kimbrel came on to pitch the 9th with the game tied 2-2. Kimbrel started off well by striking out Garrett Jones and then struck out Ozuna. However, Gattis was unable to block the ball on Ozuna’s strikeout and Ozuna reached first base. Ozuna then moved to second on another wild pitch and a single by Saltalamacchia put the Marlins ahead 3-2. Two wild pitches were all it took to undo a good pitching performance by the Braves and the Marlins were in front.
The Braves went down quietly in the bottom of 9th. Three straight flyballs by the heart of the order ended the game as the Braves dropped their third game in the four game series.
- The Braves actually outscored the Marlins in the series despite only winning one game.
- Craig Kimbrel did not give up the winning run because he was a closer in a non-save situation. Pitching in a tie game in the 9th inning i actually a more important appearance than pitching with a lead. You have to use him there.
- Jordan Walden hops when he pitches