In the series preview, I mentioned that Atlanta was running into a buzzsaw, taking on the hottest team in the NL in their home stadium. Shows you what I know. Turns out it was the Marlins who were running into a buzzsaw, as the Braves broke out their bats to back one of the best whole-series pitching performances of the year.
Game 1 saw Tim Hudson turn in his best start of the year, blanking the Marlins from start to finish en route to a complete game shutout. Huddy went the distance, allowing only 5 hits and 3 walks, while striking out three. The Marlins only managed to get one runner to third against him all night, and it was with two outs in the bottom of the 9th. The Braves jumped out to an early lead against Florida starter Anibal Sanchez (who has been excellent so far this year) and never looked back. Powered by a pair of homers from Dan Uggla - one of which plunked the Marlins' home run sculpture - the Braves put up 11 runs on the Fish to take the opener in a rout.
Game 2 saw Randall Delgado do his best to match Tim Hudson, and the rookie was masterful. Delgado out-dueled Josh Johnson over 6.1 innings of 2 hit ball with 7 strikeouts. He even drove in the game-winning run with a bouncer through the left side of the infield. The only run Delgado would allow was on an RBI single to Bryan Peterson in the fifth. The Braves bullpen finally had a shutdown ballgame, as the late-inning troika of Eric O'Flaherty, Johnny Venters, and Craig Kimbrel didn't allow a Marlins' baserunner over the final 2.2 innings of the game to lock down a 2-1 Braves win.
Mike Minor took the mound in Game 3, and Braves' fans braced for the worst. Minor was shaky, but managed to get through 5 innings allowing only 1 run. He did walk 5, which is disturbing, but managed to get out of trouble with 4 punchouts. The Braves broke out their boomsticks to secure the sweep, scoring 8 runs, all by way of the longball. The state of Florida has issued a warrant for Jason Heyward's arrest for a double homicide. The victims - two helpless fastballs. Heyward hit two mammoth homers to dead center on the evening, and if he is heating up, watch out. Martin Prado got in on the fun too, hitting a 2-run shot to start the scoring for Atlanta, and Michael Bourn officially made it a laugher with a line-drive 3-run shot in the top of the 9th. Atlanta won 8-2.
On the series, the Braves outscored the Marlins 21-3. Braves starting pitching had more RBIs at the dish than runs allowed on the hill. Dan Uggla and Jason Heyward became the first two players to have multi-homer games in the history of Marlins' park. The Braves now return home for a 3 game series against Toronto.
There's no way I can pick just one after such a dominant series by the Braves. There's a great case to be made for Mike Bourn and Martin Prado too, but I had to stop somewhere. So, in no particular order:
- Tim Hudson: 9 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 3 K, CGSO, 1-4 batting, 2 RBI.
- Randall Delgado: 6.1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 7 K, 1-3 batting, 1 RBI.
- Andrelton Simmons: 5-11, 3B, 2 R, 3 RBI, 2 BB, Several stellar defensive plays.
- Jason Heyward: 5-12, 2B, 2 HR, 4 R, 3 RBI, BB.
- Dan Uggla: 4-12, 2B, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 4 R, BB.
- Jose Constanza: 0-11, R