The Atlanta Braves dropped their third straight to the Miami Marlins on Thursday — a 5-4 game, sealed by a seventh-inning rally that included RBI singles from Giancarlo Stanton and Casey McGehee.
In all, the Marlins outscored the Braves 23-7 in the series, a development that, frankly, was baffling to the Braves. The Marlins (14-14) have a reputation for losing and the Braves (17-10) are in first in the NL East, so you can see how this would confound the Tomahawk Choppers.
Plus the Marlins beat up the Braves' starters pretty good, which nobody has been able to do this season, thus the Atlanta starters' incredible 1.57 collective ERA coming into the series. Wednesday's starter, Aaron Harang, had been nearly impeccable before the Marlins tagged him for nine runs. Thursday's starter, Ervin Santana gave up three runs in six innings, not too bad, but the bullpen couldn't hold on.
Before the series' third game, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez admitted that his club investigated whether the Marlins were stealing signs to get an advantage. From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
“If you would have taken a look at our dugout at one point in the game, it was like the fourth or fifth inning, they were hitting balls everywhere, we got three guys looking at the scoreboard,” Gonzalez said. “You got two guys looking at their bullpen. I’m calling (bullpen coach) Eddie (Perez), ‘Eddie do you see anything?’ I’m looking at Gattis, thinking he’s maybe tipping his pitches. Carlos (Tosca) is looking in the bench over there, maybe somebody is whistling or something.”
The result? The Braves didn't find anything solid.
"Yeah, you have this conspiracy theory, but at the end, we came up with nothing,” Gonzalez said. “It wasn’t like we saw a guy with the (binoculars), like Mick Billmeyer (former Phillies bullpen coach) in Colorado. At the end of the day, they didn’t miss the pitches. They were right there.”
After a third straight loss, maybe the Braves will just take accept this for what it was: The Marlins — who have scored the seventh-most runs in MLB so far this season — were better this week.
YASIEL PUIG HAS A BIG DAY AS DODGERS TAKE TWO FROM TWINS: The Dodgers and Twins played a day-night doubleheader Thursday, which the Dodgers swept with a 9-4 afternoon win, followed by a 4-3 win in the nightcap that lasted 12 innings and 5 hours and 11 minutes.
Yasiel Puig went to sleep a happy guy, though. He strung together quite a day — going 4-for-4 with a walk, stolen base and two RBIs in Game 1, then followed it up with two more hits in Game 2. He was 2-for-6 in the second game, but the two hits came in his first two at-bats, so he managed six consecutive hits. He came into the day batting .276. When it was over, his average was .309.
RAYS SWEEP DOUBLEHEADER AGAINST RED SOX: The Tampa Bay Rays didn't want to play two games Thursday, but the Boston Red Sox did and had the authority to make it happen. After losing both games by a run, maybe the Red Sox are reconsidering their preference.
The first game — a 2-1 Rays win — ended with the Red Sox fuming about video replay again. In the second game — a 6-5 Rays win — Boston's closer Koji Uehara gave up a go-ahead ninth inning homer to Yunel Escobar.
Talk about a day you want to forget.
THE O'S GET A WALK-OFF HOMER FROM MATT WIETERS TO SWEEP PIRATES: Concluding "today in doubleheader sweeps," the Baltimore Orioles took two from the Pittsburgh Pirates thanks to a walk-off homer from Matt Wieters in the 10th inning of Thursday's nightcap.
In the earlier game, Baltimore triumphed 5-1.
For the rest of Thursday's results, check out our scoreboard.
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