Atlanta used good pitching and good offense to take two of three games from the Miami Marlins this week. With the series win, Atlanta moved 7 games in front of the wild card race, and up to 5 games behind the Nationals for the division.
Game one saw the Braves offense carry over its good work from the Nationals' series, as Atlanta scored early and often en route to a 7-5 win over Wade LeBlanc and the Marlins. A three run home run by Dan Uggla capped a 4 run first inning as Atlanta jumped out to a lead it would not relinquish. Tim Hudson picked up the win for Atlanta despite not being very sharp at all. Hudson allowed 4 runs on 10 hits and 5 innings, but the bullpen was able to keep the Marlins in check after he left. Martin Prado, batting 5th, had a perfect 4-4 day at the plate, driving in 2 and scoring once. Dan Uggla went 2-3 with 2 runs, 3 RBIs, and a walk. Uggla's home run was his 19th on the year.
The middle game of the three game series was a heartbreaker for Atlanta. Shut out through 8 innings by the suddenly-dominant Nathan Eovaldi, Atlanta scored three runs in the 9th inning off Marlins' relievers Steve Cishek and Mike Dunn to tie the game. Brian McCann's 2-out, 2 RBI double was the game-tying blow, and gave the Braves life in a game which looked well on its way to being a shutout. Alas, it was not to be, as the Marlins put together a 2-out rally of their own against Cory Gearrin in the 10th inning, culminating in Jose Reyes' walkoff. Jason Heyward almost made a spectacular play on Reyes' sinking liner, but came up just short as Miami took game two 4-3.
The rubber match yesterday pitted Kris Medlen against Josh Johnson, and, once again, it was vintage Medlen. The Braves' unquestioned ace tossed another 8 innings of shutout ball, allowing only 4 hits and 1 walk while striking out 6. When Craig Kimbrel nailed down the win in the 9th, it was the Braves 21st win in as many tries when Medlen starts. As I said yesterday, we're running out of ways to praise Medlen. You can bet that Meds will be the frontrunner to start Atlanta's wild card game, should the Braves end up playing in it.
After an off day today, Atlanta heads to Philly for a three game set with the Phillies.