Braves lose to Marlins in 4-3 in 11 innings, failing to take advantage of Mets’ loss
After Smoltz fell behind early and the Braves rallied on Chipper Jones’ two-run homer, Alejandro De Aza’s 11th-inning sacrifice fly gave the Florida Marlins a 4-3 victory over Atlanta on Tuesday night.
“I will keep taking the ball on however many days until we either get into the playoffs or we don’t,” Smoltz said. “Mechanically I feel really good and physically I feel really good.”
Atlanta struck out 19 times as the Marlins—who have the worst record in the National League—won for just the second time in 14 games.
The strikeouts matched a season high for the Braves, set July 18 in a 15-inning game against Cincinnati. These are only times Atlanta has struck out that many times in a game since 1978, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
“Strikeouts are part of the game,” said Andruw Jones, who struck out three times. “Sometimes guys are going to strike out 20 guys in a game and sometimes you won’t strike out anybody. So it is just one of those things.”
Atlanta remained six games back of the NL East-leading Mets. Philadelphia defeated New York 4-2 in 10 innings to close within four games of the lead.
By moving up a day to Tuesday, Smoltz is lined up to pitch against Tom Glavine on Sunday in Atlanta—his fourth matchup this year against his former teammate. Smoltz, pitching on three-days’ rest for the first time since June 7 last year, allowed three runs and six hits in six innings, striking out seven and walking none. He threw 79 pitches.
“Smoltz was as good as I’ve ever seen him pitch,” Braves manager Bobby Cox said. “It was his best pitch count all year. He pitched tremendous.”
With the score 3-all, Oscar Villarreal (2-2) walked Alfredo Amezaga with one out in the 11th and Jeremy Hermida moved Amezaga to third with a double off the left-center field scoreboard. Villarreal intentionally walked Matt Treanor, loading the bases for De Aza, who flied to right on a slider by Villarreal.
“I was trying to get a ground ball or an easy fly ball,” Villarreal said.
Byung-Hyun Kim (7-6) pitched a one-hit 11th for the win.
“I think the last time we got a ‘W’, he was a part of that also,” Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez said.
Not quite. It was two wins earlier that the Marlins defeated Kim on Aug. 14 — when he was pitching for the Arizona Diamondabacks.
Marlins starter Rick VandenHurk struck out a career-high eight, giving up one run and five hits in five innings.
“It’s always nice to strike out a lot of guys, but I was just trying to make sure to take it one pitch at a time,” VandenHurk said.
Brian McCann, who hit a grand slam in Monday’s game, hit a solo homer to put Atlanta ahead in the second, his fifth homer in his last nine games.
Hermida’s two-run homer in the second gave the Marlins the lead, and Mike Jacobs hit a broken-bat, RBI single up the middle in the third. Hermida is hitting .364 (36-for-99) in his last 32 games.
“He’s swinging the bat and swinging the bat really well,” Gonzalez said.
Hanley Ramirez stole his 13th base of the month. He also swiped 13 bases in August 2006. … Jeff Francoeur struck out five times for the first time in his career. … Kevin Gregg nearly got hit in the head with a line drive off the bat of Mark Teixeira in the 10th inning, but ducked just in time. … Teixeira extended his hitting streak to 10 games with a single in the sixth inning. … VandenHurk struck seven on June 16 against the Kansas City Royals.