Miami Marlins swept by Atlanta Braves as offense once again falls flat

Mother Nature only delayed the inevitable.

After waiting out a nearly two-hour weather delay in the middle of the fifth inning, the Miami Marlins were swept by the Atlanta Braves on Sunday after dropping the series finale 7-1 at Truist Park. The Marlins dropped the first two games of the series 8-1 on Friday and 2-1 on Saturday.

Miami has scored 3 runs or fewer in 35 of 42 games since the All-Star Break.

The Marlins are now 55-78 on the season. They have lost seven consecutive games, and nine of their last 10. They are 12-30 since the All-Star Break and 6-19 over their past 25 games — 22 of which games have come against teams currently in playoff position.

And the road isn’t getting easier. Nine of Miami’s next 11 games are also against playoff contenders — six against the Philadelphia Phillies and three against the New York Mets with a doubleheader against the Texas Rangers on Sept. 12 the lone games in that run against a team with a sub-.500 record.

“At some point,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said, “your young team’s getting beat up pretty good. Not sure it’s really that good for them, but you’re finding out where you’re at.”

The Braves’ Max Fried had a no-hitter intact after five innings when the delay began. The only baserunner he had allowed was a leadoff walk in the fifth to Nick Fortes, which was erased when Joey Wendle hit into an inning-ending double play just before the groundscrew came out to put the tarp on the field to initiate a nearly two-hour stoppage.

“We just had trouble getting anything going,” Mattingly said. “You’re getting a top-of-the-line guy in Fried dealing with a lineup that’s younger and trying to find their way in the big leagues. It’s going to be a battle.”

Atlanta (84-51) being forced to go to the bullpen for the final four innings did little to help the Marlins.

They broke up the no-hitter on Miguel Rojas’ two-out single against Jesse Chavez in the sixth and broke up the shutout on Wendle’s RBI single through the left side against Collin McHugh in the eighth that scored Jerar Encarnacion, who singled and reached second on a fielding error.

Wendle’s hit was the Marlins’ first with a runner in scoring poisition since Tuesday, snapping an 0-for-19 skid.

A JJ Bleday two-out, pinch-hit walk brought the potential game-tying run to the plate for the Marlins, but Charles Leblanc struck out swinging to strand Wendle and Bleday.

“It’s no secret that it’s been a struggle,” Wendle said. “We haven’t been swinging the bats well for quite some time now.”

Miami Marlins starting pitcher Pablo Lopez throws in the fourth inning of a baseball against the Atlanta Braves, Sunday, Sept. 4, 2022, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Hakim Wright Sr.)
Miami Marlins starting pitcher Pablo Lopez throws in the fourth inning of a baseball against the Atlanta Braves, Sunday, Sept. 4, 2022, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Hakim Wright Sr.)

The Braves had a 2-0 lead at the time of the delay on a Dansby Swanson sacrifice fly in the third and a Marcell Ozuna home run in the fourth.

The extended stoppage ended Marlins pitcher Pablo Lopez’s start after those four innings. Lopez had struck out seven and was only at 75 pitches. He was on the mound preparing to throw warm-up pitches when the game was sent into a delay.

“It’s frustrating and you feel powerless,” Lopez, who has already set single-season career-highs in innings pitched (150) and starts (27) this year, said about the weather delay. “There’s nothing you can do and obviously it’s the right thing. ... Just in the moment because I’m so into the game, I wanted to give my team another couple innings. I wanted to continue, but I can’t control it. [At that point], you just have to look back and realize and focus on the good things.”

The Braves tacked on two more runs in the sixth on a Michael Harris II single — the third consecutive hit to lead off the inning against Jeff Brigham — and a wild pitch before they scored three more runs in the eighth against Andrew Nardi and Cole Sulser.

Up next

The Marlins are off Monday before starting a three-game series against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on Tuesday. Miami is 5-8 against the Phillies this season and has lost four of six games at Citizens Bank Park this season.

Jesus Luzardo (3-6, 3.44 ERA) is scheduled to start the series opener for the Marlins followed by Trevor Rogers (4-10, 5.57) on Wednesday and Sandy Alcantara (12-7, 2.36) on Thursday.