Braves bust out in 14th, top Marlins 7-1

Walter Villa, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

MIAMI -- Atlanta Braves' slugger Dan Uggla said the ball was carrying out of Marlins Park very nicely in batting practice. But once the game started, home runs were non-existent and scoring rallies of any kind were hard to find.
In fact, the Braves endured a streak in which 24 of their hitters were retired in order from the sixth to the 13th innings. That set a Marlins' record, and it is the most consecutive batters retired by any bullpen since the Oakland A's set down 24 on August 31, 2011.
Perhaps that explains why the Braves needed 14 innings to beat the Miami Marlins, 7-1, Monday night.
"It was an uneventful game all night pretty much," Uggla said. "We shut it down like in the (sixth). After (Jason Heyward) scored, we're just like, 'We're cool.' But to win was big."
The key hit came from Justin Upton, who drilled a two-run double in the 14th inning to snap a 1-1 tie.
Marlins' reliever Chris Hatcher (0-1) started the 14th by issuing a leadoff walk to Reed Johnson. With one out, Hatcher walked Jason Heyward on four pitches.
That set the scene for Upton, who pulled a line drive to the left-field corner, scoring both runners easily and ending a Braves' scoring drought that had lasted seven innings.
Gerald Laird added a two-run single, and the Braves got two more runs on a single by Chris Johnson and a fielding error by left fielder Justin Ruggiano.
"I thought Justin had some good at-bats," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said of Upton, who went 2-for-5 with two doubles and three RBIs.
Hatcher, who got the first decision of his big-league career, was sent back to Triple-A after the game. He had just arrived with the Marlins on Sunday and was making his big-league season debut.
David Carpenter (2-0) got the win after he created and escaped a jam in the 13th. Giancarlo Stanton ended a streak of 17 consecutive Marlins batters retired by singling to left. He reached second with no outs on a wild pitch but was stranded on third.
Each team used seven pitchers in the battle of National League East teams. The first-place Braves improved to 2-2 on their current road trip. They have two games to go on the trip - Tuesday and Wednesday against Miami.
Meanwhile, the last-place Marlins are 19-15 since May 31, a vast improvement from their 13-41 start.
Both teams' starters pitched well and earned no-decisions. The Marlins' Kevin Slowey, who returned to the rotation by replacing the recently traded Ricky Nolasco, pitched five shutout innings to lower his ERA from 4.24 to 4.00.
Slowey gave credit to the Braves' pitchers for their win.
"They have a great staff and a great bullpen," he said.
Braves' starter Mike Minor allowed one run in 6 1/3 innings, striking out four.
Each team scored in the middle innings. The Braves' Heyward lined a triple to right-center to lead off the sixth and scored easily on Justin Upton's sacrifice fly to make it 1-1.
The Marlins snapped a scoreless tie in the fifth. Adeiny Hechavarria led off with a single to center on a 1-2 pitch. He advanced to second on Placido Polanco's hit and scored on a two-out single to left by Ruggiano.
Minor got out of a bases-loaded, two-out jam in the sixth, striking out eighth-place hitter Jeff Mathis on a 3-2 fastball that was up and over the plate, registering at 90 mph.
"We had tons of opportunities," Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. "We just couldn't get the big hit."
NOTES: Marlins 3B Ed Lucas made a stellar grab of a B.J. Upton line drive in the fifth inning. The ball was hit so hard that Lucas' glove nearly came off. ... Braves C Brian McCann was selected the National League's Player of the Week. He had 15 hits in six games last week, leading the majors with a .600 batting average. He raised his season batting average from .250 to .304 during that span. ... Marlins rookie RHP Jose Fernandez, 20, is the sixth-youngest pitcher to make the All-Star Game. He ranks behind Dwight Gooden (19 in 1984), Bob Feller (19 in 1938), Catfish Hunter (20 in 1966), Jerry Walker (20 in 1959) and Fernando Valenzuela (20 in 1981). Fernandez will be 20 and 350 days old when the All-Star Game is played July 16. Miguel Cabrera, who was 21 at the time, held the previous record for youngest Marlins All-Star. ... Braves 1B Freddie Freeman is one of five finalists for the last spot on the NL All-Star team. Freeman leads the voting, which will run through Thursday.

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