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Eovaldi benefactor of rare support, blanks Braves

The SportsXchange

ATLANTA -- Nathan Eovaldi almost didn't know how to act.

The Miami Marlins spotted the right-hander seven runs, support he'd received only one other time all season, and he responded with eight scoreless innings in a 7-0 win over the Atlanta Braves on Sunday afternoon.

"I'm sure he wanted to jump up and down because we haven't given him many runs," Miami manager Mike Redmond said.

The Marlins had scored more than four runs to support Eovaldi (3-5) only once in his past 13 starts. Nine times the Marlins have failed to score more than two runs in his behalf. On Sunday, they got him seven runs in the first three innings and he responded with a lockdown performance.

"Sometimes guys have to learn to pitch with a big lead, but I don't think that's the case with him," Redmond said with a laugh.

Eovaldi threw a season-high eight innings and scattered seven hits, with six strikeouts. It was the fourth start in which he shutout the opposition. Only 29 of his 93 pitches missed the plate.

It was similar to the seven-inning scoreless appearance Eovaldi made against the Braves on Aug. 10, when he received a no-decision despite allowing just one hit.

"He's got a tremendous arm," Redmond said. "It's fun to watch him pitch. He's still a work in progress."

Eovaldi set the pace in the first inning. Atlanta's Andrelton Simmons tripled with one out, but was stranded as Eovaldi retired Freddie Freeman on a short fly to left and then struck out Justin Upton. The Braves hit six balls to the warning track, but couldn't reach the seats.

Steve Cishek pitched a scoreless ninth inning in a nonsave situation to finish the game and give Miami its ninth shutout win. Atlanta has been blanked 12 times in 2013.

"We thought about (letting Eovaldi finish the game) but we needed to get Cishek out there," Redmond said.

It was the first bad outing for rookie Alex Wood (3-3), who allowed seven runs on eight hits and two walks in 2 1/3 innings. Over his previous six starts, the left-hander was 3-0 with a 1.48 ERA. But the Marlins hit the ball hard against Wood on Sunday and his ERA rose from 2.27 to 3.15.

"It's been a while since I've got beat that bad," Wood said.

It was the fourth appearance and the second start that Wood has made against the Marlins. He had not allowed a run in the previous nine innings.

"I was just out of synch," he said. "Give them credit. They beat me like a drum today."

The Marlins scored a run in the first when Christian Yelich singled, stole second and scored on a two-out single by Placido Polanco.

Miami made it 2-0 in the second inning on Jeff Mathis' solo home run.

The Marlins scored five runs in the third inning, matching the team's biggest single-inning output of the year. Donovan Solano's bases-loaded single scored the first run and Ed Lucas drove in a pair with a single to center. After Jake Marisnick walked, Mathis drove a two-RBI double off the top of the wall in left-center.

"We came out aggressive and strung a bunch of hits together," Redmond said. "We haven't had too many times when we've been able to put up runs. ... It looked like (Wood) left some pitches out over the plate. We were able to take advantage when he made mistakes up in the zone."

Miami's victory broke Atlanta's six-game winning streak. Atlanta won two-of-three and leads the series, 10-5.

NOTES: With the rosters expanding, the Braves activated RHP Freddy Garcia. Manager Fredi Gonzalez said the team will likely add four or five others when Triple-A Gwinnett's season ends. ... The Marlins reinstated OF Chris Coghlan from the 15-day disabled list, recalled RHP Chris Hatcher from Triple-A New Orleans and purchased the contract of LHP Zach Phillips from New Orleans. ... The Braves rested 3B Chris Johnson (toe) and C Brian McCann in the wake of Saturday's 11-inning game.
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