Braves 6, Marlins 1

Walter Villa, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

MIAMI -- The first-place Atlanta Braves pounded the last-place Florida Marlins 6-1 Thursday afternoon in the finale of a four-game series at Marlins Park.
The Braves won the series, 3-1, recovering to finish their road trip at 3-4.
Freddy Garcia (1-1) earned Thursday's win, allowing just one run in six innings. Jordan Walden, David Carpenter and Anthony Varvaro combined to toss three scoreless innings of relief.
The Braves jumped on Marlins rookie starter Brian Flynn (0-1) for four runs in the third. Flynn walked the bases loaded to start the inning, losing Elliot Johnson and Justin Upton on 3-2 pitches and Freddie Freeman on a 3-1 count.
Atlanta cashed in with a two-run double by Evan Gattis -- which marked his fifth straight game with at least one RBI -- and a two-run double by Chris Johnson, who started the day second in the NL batting race with a .328 average.
The Marlins scored one run in the bottom of the third when Rob Brantly singled to second, advanced on Flynn's sacrifice bunt and scored on a hit by Donovan Solano.
But Miami left the bases loaded when Logan Morrison popped out to center.
Freeman, playing on his 24th birthday, pulled a two-run homer to right in the fourth inning to give the Braves a 6-1 lead.
NOTES: Up next, the Marlins start an 11-game, 10-day road trip with Friday's game against the New York Mets. LHP Brad Hand will make his first Marlins' start of the season on Friday and will be followed in the rotation by RHPs Henderson Alvarez, Jacob Turner and Tom Koehler. ... The Braves return home for a three-game weekend series against the San Diego Padres. Braves rookie RHP David Hale -- formerly of Princeton University -- will make his MLB debut Friday night. After the Padres series, the Braves will hit the road again for six games. ... The Braves have the best home record in the majors (51-20). The Braves' bullpen leads the majors in ERA (2.31), opposing batting average (.215), fewest homers allowed (23) and fewest hits (322). They also lead the National League in most saves (49). ... On Wednesday, Marlins RHP Jose Fernandez finished a brilliant rookie season with a 12-6 record, a 2.19 ERA, 187 strikeouts, a .182 batting average allowed and a 0.98 WHIP. He set club rookie records in the latter four categories. He also finished second behind Kevin Brown in 1996 for ERA and WHIP among all Marlins pitchers. ... The last NL rookie with a WHIP under 1.00 was Dick Hughes in 1967. ... Fernandez leads the majors in batting average allowed. The last MLB pitcher to do this well in that category was Pedro Martinez in 2000. ... Braves RHP Brandon Beachy (elbow injury) has backed off his throwing program. Braves LHP Paul Maholm (elbow injury) may only miss one start.

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