Mike Minor had his worst home game of the year on Tuesday against the Florida Marlins. In just three innings, Mike gave up ten hits, six runs, and two walks. He was unceremoniously yanked after getting no outs in the fourth inning for David Hale, who admirably put out the fire as best he could. After that Hale pitched a combined three innings allowing just two hits, and David Carpenter pitched two innings allowing no hits. The bullpen was frankly outstanding considering the game’s start. Still, the damage was done, and the Braves trailed 6-2 going into the eighth inning.
In the eighth, Tyler Pastornicky got a chance to pinch hit and earned a lead-off walk. B.J. Upton came up next and was hit by a pitch. Tommy La Stella followed him and rapped a single that scored Pastornicky. Suddenly, the Braves were in business with two men on, no outs, and down by three runs. Freddie Freeman struck out swinging, and Justin Upton grounded into a fielder’s choice that advanced BJ to third. Those outs really felt like wasted opportunities with the Braves two best hitters at the dish. However, Jason Heyward picked up his teammates with a ringing shot to deep right-center, scoring both base runners. That would make the score 6-5, Braves trailed by just a run when the inning concluded.
Anthony Varvaro came on for relief in the ninth inning and immediately got two quick outs. What should have been the third out was a slow roller to Simmons as he glided to his left, but Andrelton short armed the throw to Freddie, allowing the ball to get by the first baseman into the dugout. That put a runner on second for the Marlins. What could have been a disaster was saved by Freeman as he literally pulled a pop up ball back from the foul territory stands to make a spectacular catch. Sportscenter better give Freddie some love, because that’s one of the better catches I’ve seen from the first baseman this season.
Unfortunately, the bottom of the order was due up to close out the game. Chris Johnson led off the inning with a sharp single up the middle that just got by the outstretched glove of the Marlins pitcher. With the tying run on first, Jordan Schafer came on to pinch run for Chris since he was 15/16 stealing bases on the year. The Marlins knew he wanted to go, and Schafer eventually took off on the first pitch to the plate, but he was nailed by the Marlins at second plate for the first out. Simmons then struck out, and Ryan Doumit struck out. Game over.
That’s the second loss in the series for the Braves, and the third loss in five games since the All-Star break. The Braves are giving away games at home, and they can’t afford to keep doing that as the division race heightens. Braves hitters went 3-8 with RISP, notched 7 hits and 3 walks, but it simply wasn’t enough to overcome the early disaster by Minor. That will raise some serious questions about Minor if you didn’t have any already, as his last eight starts have been pretty awful on average. The Braves will have to work hard on Wednesday to salvage the series as Nathan Eovaldi faces Ervin Santana. Stay tuned.