After two frustrating losses the Braves put together one of their more complete victories in a 6-1 win over the Marlins. Ervin Santana was on top of his game for Atlanta as he went 7 1/3 innings, allowing only one run and striking out ten Marlins. Freddie Freeman delivered the big blow with a three run homer that was the decisive moment in the Braves victory.
The game started off brightly for the Braves. Ervin Santana cruised through the top of the first on 12 pitches and BJ Upton lead off the bottom of the first with a double. In what is apparently going to be an ongoing strategy, Tommy La Stella sac-bunted BJ to third base. Freddie Freeman walked, and Upton scored on a sacrifice fly off the bat of his brother Justin. The Braves lead 1-0 after the first inning.
Santana was in a groove from the outset notching another 1-2-3 second inning and the Braves gave him a lot more help in the bottom half of the frame. Andrelton Simmons got things started with a one out single and was sacrificed to 2nd base by Santana. BJ Upton got his second hit of the game on an infield single and the Braves had runners on the corners with two outs. Tommy La Stella was allowed to swing the bat this time and doubled the Braves lead with a single to right field that brought in Simmons. With runners on 1st and 2nd Freddie Freeman broke out of his season long slump against the Marlins with a three run homer that put the Braves up 5-0. This was all the help Santana would need and it was good to see the offense and the pitching click on the same night.
The Marlins got their first baseunners of the game in the third inning. Santana walked Saltalamacchia to lead off and Salty went to third on a single by Hechavarria. While Salty made it to third, Hechavarria was thrown out by Heyward who pulled a Yasiel Puig patented "misplay a ball to deke a runner into trying to run on you" play. Heyward bobbled Hechavarria’s single but threw the runner out when he tried to take second on the misplay. The Marlins had a runner at third with one out. Santana made things harder on himself by walking his Marlins counterpart to put runners on the corners. Christian Yelich followed the walk with a single to cut the Braves lead to 5-1. Donovan Solano ended the threat by hitting into a double play but the Marlins were on the board.
After that hiccup Santana went into total cruise control. The Braves offense was now silent but it didn’t matter because 5 runs were on the board and the Marlins couldn’t touch Santana. Santana scattered some baserunners but he had one of his best games of the season allowing only the one run, while striking out ten batters. Jordan Walden replaced Santana with one out and one on in the 8th and immediately slammed the door on the Marlins threat.
The Braves added a little insurance in the bottom of the 8th inning. Jason Heyward made a rally happen almost by himself. Heyward singled, then stole second base and reached third after Salty’s throw down to second went awry. Heyward then turned what was almost a mistake into gold. On Chris Johnson’s grounder to shortstop, Heyward got caught between 3rd base and home. Heyward managed to save himself from a mistake by juking Marlins third baseman McGehee and diving back into third base. Gerald Laird then cashed in the Marlins missed chance with a single to center to drive in Heyward and give the Braves another run to play with.
Chasen Shreve came on for the bottom of the 9th and despite allowing two baserunners nailed things down for the 6-1 Braves victory. Freddie Freeman’s big homer and Ervin Santana’s dominance were the story as the Braves secured a comfortable win over a team they are supposed to beat. Thanks to the Rockies beating the Nationals earlier in the day, the Braves are now one game off the pace in the NL East.