The normally reserved Fredi Gonzalez was tossed tonight arguing a pivotal blown call in the 9th inning.
The Braves fell to the Marlins in the first game of a three-game series, getting shutdown by a dominant Josh Johnson en route to a 2-1 loss. Johnson's gem overshadowed a solid start from Mike Minor, who bounced back from a shaky start to keep the Braves in the game over 7 strong innings.
The Marlins struck first in the first, as Jose Reyes led off with a bloop single. A hit and run with Donovan Solano at the plate led to another single, and put runners at the corners for Carlos Lee. Lee followed it up with another bloop hit (when it rains, it pours, right?) to score Reyes and make it 1-0 Marlins. Minor tightened up after the RBI, coaxing a double play off the bat of Justin Ruggiano and getting Logan Morrison to ground out with Solano on third to end the inning.
Trouble struck again the second with Emilio Bonifacio leading off. Minor got ahead of Bonifacio 0-2, but couldn't get him to offer at anything out of the zone, and ran the count full. Minor grooved his full-count fastball to Bonifacio who didn't miss it, hitting a moonshot into the left field stands to make it 2-0. For Bonifacio, it was his first homer of the year, and the 21st that Minor has given up.
Minor would compose himself after the home run, however, allowing only one more base runner through the seventh inning. Minor was lifted after 7, having allowed 2 runs on 6 hits. He didn't walk a batter and struck out 4.
Unfortunately for the Braves, Johnson was dealing. Johnson threw six innings of one-hit ball, with his lone blemish being a two-out single by Brian McCann in the 5th inning. Johnson whiffed nine Braves and didn't walk a man in what was arguably his best start of the year. He could have probably kept going as well, but was removed after six innings because of a small cut on his right middle finger.
The Braves wouldn't get another hit until the 9th inning, when controversy struck. Michael Bourn led off the 9th against Marlins pitcher Randy Choate with a single. Marlins' manager Ozzie Guillen then brought in his closer, Steve Cishek, to face Martin Prado. On a 1-0 count, Prado roped a single up the middle to put Braves on first and second for Jason Heyward. Heyward hit a grounder to the right side, and the Marlins attempted a double play. Prado was thrown out at second, but Heyward beat the throw the first by a step. Not so, said Laz Diaz, who called Heyward out. Replays clearly showed Heyward getting to the bag well before the throw. Fredi Gonzalez tried to argue but to no avail, getting tossed by Diaz.
The blown call proved pivotal, as Chipper Jones would single home Bourn on the game's next play. Had Heyward been called safe, he would have ended up on third after Chipper's single, and could have potentially tied the game on Freddie Freeman's flyout. As it was, though, Freeman's flyout ended the game.