Jace Peterson has been playing like someone who is extremely grateful to be back in the big leagues, and his performance tonight was the linchpin in a 3-2 victory that gave the Braves their sixth consecutive victory.
Both teams had scoring opportunities in the first inning, but failed to capitalize on them. Freddie Freeman and Nick Markakis both reached base with two outs, but A.J. Pierzynski was unable to drive them in. In the bottom half of the frame, the Marlins loaded the bases with two outs, but Bud Norris was able to coax a grounder out of J.T. Realmuto to end the inning scoreless.
The deadlock was eventually broken in the very next frame, and because this is a Marlins home game, that means that Jose Fernandez had something to do with it. Fernandez gave himself some run support by singling in Derek Dietrich to make it 1-0. Adeiny Hechavarria would add onto that lead in the fourth inning by driving in Justin Bour with a single.
It stayed at 2-0 because Jose Fernandez continued his run of great starts at home. Tonight, he went seven innings, struck out seven, walked two, and only gave up one hit. It was a sight for sore eyes when the Marlins decided to take him out after 99 pitches, and the Braves immediately took advantage of Miami deciding to go into their bullpen for the eighth inning.
David Phelps entered the game in relief and promptly gave up a leadoff single to Emilio Bonifacio. After Adonis Garcia struck out, Jace Peterson came up to bat. Despite the fact that he was going through some struggles with the G-Braves, Peterson has been hitting pretty well since returning to the bigs, and he kept that going by crushing a 90-mph cutter into the Marlins’ bullpen. Just like that, the game was tied and Fernandez’s solid start was nullified.
The game remained tied at two after both teams failed to score in the ninth, which meant that these two teams ended up having to play extra innings with an afternoon game looming tomorrow. I’m sure that they were totally excited about that, and the Braves were so excited that they decided to try to end the game as soon as possible.
In the tenth, the Braves managed to get a runner on third base without even recording a hit. Chase d’Arnaud walked, then made it to second base on a sacrifice bunt, and eventually reached third thanks to a wild pitch. That set the stage for Jace Peterson to keep his good times rolling, and he did so by looping one into left field to score d’Arnaud and give the Braves the lead for the first time all night.
Arodys Vizcaino came on for the save, and despite getting into a decent-sized jam with a runner in scoring position, he went into buzzsaw mode and struck out three straight Marlins (including Giancarlo Stanton) to seal Atlanta’s sixth straight victory.
Again, Jace Peterson didn’t exactly light the world on fire during his time with Gwinnett, so it’s a bit of a shock to see him playing as well as he has so far. I don’t think that anybody here is complaining about it, and I’m sure that nobody in Atlanta’s clubhouse is complaining, either. In fact, it’s kind of hard to find much to complain about when you’ve won six straight, so let’s just enjoy the good times while they’re here, shall we?