The NL East rivals continue their four-game series at Land Shark Stadium on Wednesday night, where the Braves try to win for the third straight time.
The Braves (70-62) remained three games behind Colorado in the wild-card chase with Tuesday’s 4-3 victory. Tim Hudson(notes) made a successful return to the mound 13 months after surgery on his throwing elbow, giving up two runs in 5 1-3 innings following a rain delay of nearly three hours.
“I wasn’t sure we were going to get it in,” Hudson said. “It took a while to get it going. But it was better late than never.”
Atlanta has won eight of 11 on the road and 15 of 23 overall as it tries to reach the postseason for the first time since 2005. Catcher Brian McCann(notes), who went 2 for 4 with an RBI double Tuesday, is 8 for 17 with two homers and nine RBIs in his last four games against the Marlins after going 0 for 16 in his previous five.
Javier Vazquez(notes) (11-9, 3.02 ERA) gets the start for the Braves as he tries to win his fifth straight game on the road, where he’s 7-2 with a 2.96 ERA in 12 starts. The right-hander is coming off one of his best starts of the season, having limited San Diego to five hits in seven scoreless innings of a 9-1 victory Thursday to help the Braves avoid a three-game sweep.
“We needed to win this game,” said Vazquez, who threw only 88 pitches. “Losing the first two games to San Diego was frustrating. But we came back today and scored some runs.”
Vazquez, though, has struggled against the Marlins this year, going 0-2 with a 4.95 ERA in three starts. He allowed five runs and a season-worst 10 hits in 6 2-3 innings of a 5-3 defeat Aug. 21, dropping to 6-7 lifetime versus Florida.
Rich VandenHurk (2-2, 5.12) gets the ball for the Marlins after being a September call-up from the minors, and Gonzalez is giving the right-hander an opportunity to replace Chris Volstad(notes) in the rotation.
He made six starts for the Marlins in July and August, giving up nine homers in 31 2-3 innings, but the Braves have struggled to solve VandenHurk. He is 2-0 with a 3.91 ERA in five lifetime starts and six appearances versus Atlanta, and struck out nine while allowing two runs in six innings of Florida’s 6-3, 10-inning loss July 30.
“I don’t know what it is that has made me so successful against them in the past,” VandenHurk told the Marlins’ official Web site. “Maybe it has been coincidence that they have come up at the same time that I have been throwing well. It’s hard to really explain it.”