Marlins halt Braves' 14-game win streak

Guy Curtright, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

ATLANTA -- The Miami Marlins broke a 22-inning scoreless streak and ended the Atlanta Braves' 14-game winning streak in the process.
Adeiny Hechavarria legged out a triple to open the ninth inning and scored on a wild pitch by reliever Jordan Walden to give Miami a 1-0 victory on Saturday night and halt the Braves' streak one game short of tying a team record.
Walden's 2-2 slider to Ed Lucas hit the dirt in front of catcher Evan Gattis and went to the backstop to the dismay of 42,177 at Turner Field. Lucas ended up striking out and the next two batters were also retired, but the damage had been done.
The Braves were shut down on one hit by Miami starter Nathan Eovaldi for seven innings and three relievers completed the three-hit shutout as the Marlins snapped a six-game losing streak.
"Sometimes you run into a pitcher like that," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said of Eovaldi.
The Marlins also had just three hits, but there was something to celebrate for a change.
"It was good to hear the music in the clubhouse after the game," Marlins manager Mike Redmond said.
The only good news for the Braves was that Walden didn't suffer a broken finger on his pitching hand when he stopped a comebacker later in the decisive ninth inning.
"Just a tough break, man," he said.
Walden's second pitch had been smacked to left-center field by Hechavarria, who sped around the bases as the ball died at the ball.
"I don't know what happened," Walden said. "The pitch was a little up and away."
The Braves had scored 82 runs during their winning streak but could do nothing with Eovaldi.
The only hit off the right-hander was a first-inning liner the opposite way by Freddie Freeman that just eluded the diving Hechavarra at short.
Eovaldi, who didn't allow a base runner in his final four innings, walked three and struck out eight in seven innings before leaving for a pinch hitter after 90 pitches.
Steve Cishek pitched the ninth inning for his 24th save, striking out Paul Janish after allowing a two-out single by Gattis.
It was the fifth straight game that the Marlins had failed to score while Eovaldi was on the mound, but this time it didn't matter.
"There a good hitting team and they had been on a roll," said Eovaldi, who had his slider working to complement his high-90s fastball. "It felt good as a team to beat them."
Braves starter Alex Wood, like Eovaldi, had to pitch around a single and walk in the first inning but was also dominant from there while working six innings. The rookie left-hander allowed just one more hit and struck out seven, leaving after throwing 87 pitches.
Braves third baseman Chris Johnson, leading the National League with a .337 average, was ejected by home plate umpire Jim Joyce after being called out on strikes to end the first inning. Johnson threw his bat and then his helmet before looking back to bark at Joyce.
After Johnson was tossed, the skies opened up and a downpour accompanied by thunder caused a 54-minute delay. But neither starting pitcher seemed bothered by the interruption.
Wood retired the next 11 batters he faced before Jeff Mathis singled for the Marlins with two outs in the fifth. Eovaldi, meanwhile, allowed the Braves just two walks from the second through seventh innings.
"I felt like the rain delay was good for me," said Eovaldi, who didn't feel comfortable warming up or during the first inning.
Redmond said, "They were red hot, so I knew we'd need a great pitching performance. (Eovaldi) was outstanding and we were fortunate enough to get a big hit by (Hechavarria) at the perfect time and score on a wild pitch. That's Fish style right there."
Despite holding the second-best record in the National League, the Braves have been shut out 12 times -- just two less than the Marlins.
NOTES: Marlins rookie LF Christian Yelich singled leading of the game for the second straight night, extending his hitting streak to 10 games. ... RF Giancarlo Stanton, 4-for-37 over the previous 10 games, wasn't in the starting lineup for the Marlins. ... The Braves
activated OF Jordan Schafer and sent OF Jose Constanza back to Triple-A Gwinnett. Schafer, who played eight rehab games with Gwinnett, had been sidelined since early July with a broken ankle. ... LHP Mike Minor (11-5, 2.76 ERA) will pitch for the Braves in Sunday's series finale against Marlins rookie RHP Henderson Alvarez (2-1,
2.80). ... Johnny Logan, a four-time all-star and the shortstop on the Milwaukee Braves' 1957 World Series championship team, died at age 86 in Milwaukee on Friday night.

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