With the schedule looking more daunting in August the Braves needed to do well against the below .500 Marlins to keep pace with the Nationals. Atlanta failed to do that, dropping 3 of 4 in a series in which they actually outscored Miami.
In game one of the series the Braves wasted a Julio Teheran masterpiece in a 3-1 extra innings loss. Teheran was in complete command all night, allowing only a solo home run to Jarrod Saltalamacchia. This one run proved to be too much for the Braves to overcome as the offense gave Teheran no support. The Braves had runners on 2nd and 3rd with no outs in the second inning but only managed to bring home one run. This would be all the offense the Braves would muster on the night. Craig Kimbrel made things interesting in the top of the 9th by loading the bases with no outs but escaped the jam without allowing any actual harm. Shae Simmons was unable to repeat the feat as he allowed two runs in the 10th to cost the Braves the game. The no show by the offense was very unfortunate on a night in which the Braves pitching was so good.
Game two of the series was the same result though it came about in a very different way. Mike Minor was on the mound for Atlanta and he was shelled by the Marlins giving up six runs in 3 innings. The Braves bullpen was rather heroic in relief allowing no more runs and David Hale was especially effective as the long man called upon to clean up Minor’s mess. The Braves were down 6-1 after Minor left and this time the offense decided to make an effort at picking their pitcher up. The Braves cut the lead to 6-5 highlighted by a 3 run 8th inning that made what looked like a laugher early, into a real contest. That was as close as the Braves would come though as Atlanta lost the game 6-5.
The Braves finally came to life in game three of the series bludgeoning the Marlins 6-1. Ervin Santana had one of his best games of the season going 7 1/3 innings allowing only one run. The big blow was provided by Freddie Freeman who crushed a 3 run homer in the bottom of the second inning to put the Braves up 5-0. Freeman has for whatever reason struggled against the Marlins all season so it was nice to see him come up with a big hit. After Freeman’s homer the Braves offense went into hibernation for most of the game, not having another baserunner until the 7th inning. It didn’t matter as the damage done early was more than enough and Santana was on top of his game.
The fourth game of the series was another exercise in frustration as the Braves lost 3-2. Once again the only offense the Braves got came in an early inning outburst that was then followed by silence. Chris Johnson hit a two run homer to put the Braves up 2-0 early but after that it was all zeroes for the offense. Aaron Harang had one of his better games going seven innings and allowing two runs but that proved to be too many for the offense to overcome. In the top of the 9th Craig Kimbrel allowed Ozuna to reach base after striking him out on a wild pitch. Ozuna took second base on another wild pitch and then scored what proved to be the winning run on a single. A good day of pitching was undone by two wild pitches and the Braves lost their third game in the series. Atlanta actually outscored the Marlins 14-13 in the series despite only winning one of the four games.