The Braves hadn’t lost in over a week, but all good things must come to an end, and end they did with a 6-4 loss to the Marlins in Miami.
Coming off of his first career win (and an altogether decent start) against the Mets, Aaron Blair failed to follow up that effort with a comparable outing against the Marlins. The Braves spotted him an early lead in what’s become a routine manner, with Freddie Freeman knocking in Ender Inciarte, but the Marlins responded with a leadoff walk and a two-run homer by Derek Dietrich. The Braves struck back as Gordon Beckham’s sacrifice fly scored Anthony Recker, who led off the inning with a double, but Blair found himself in more trouble in the third: after a leadoff single by Dee Gordon, a one-out hit by pitch, and then a walk to Christian Yelich, Giancarlo Stanton hit a soft grounder that scored Gordon. Later in the inning, JT Realmuto hit a hard grounder to short that would have scored two additional runs, but Dansby Swanson made a great diving stop and fired to second to keep the deficit at just a single run.
Even more Marlins baserunners descended upon Blair in the fourth. Three straight singles loaded the bases with none out, and then Marcell Ozuna obliged with a sacrifice fly to make it a 4-2 game in favor of Miami. That was the end of the line for Blair, who got 10 outs while allowing six hits (one homer) and three walks, while failing to strike out a single batter. Jed Bradley came on in relief to face Dietrich and promptly threw a wild pitch, scoring the fifth Miami run and capping Blair’s line with five runs allowed. Bradley did eventually get Dietrich to ground out, but the Braves would be unable to overcome the early downpour.
In the top of the fifth, Rio Ruiz got his first “real” at-bat as a pinch hitter, and popped out to third base. In the sixth, Freddie Freeman crushed his 32nd homer of the season off of former Brave Hunter Cervenka. The scoring largely stopped there, though the Braves did get another run in the seventh on a strange play where Fernando Rodney’s fourth ball to Freddie Freeman was a wild pitch that allowed Mallex Smith to score to bring the Braves within one. However, John Gant gave that run right back in the bottom of the frame thanks to an RBI single by Realmuto, capping the game’s scoring at 6-4.
Joel de la Cruz pitched two scoreless innings in relief for the Braves. The Marlins used six relievers following starter Wei-Yin Chen’s exit after four innings. Ender Inciarte continued his second-half rampage with three more hits. Braves pitchers walked six Miami hitters in the game while striking out just two, never a recipe for success.
The Braves will try to start a new winning streak tomorrow afternoon with Julio Teheran on the mound in the series finale.