Posted by Wally Londo on 23rd August 2009
The Marlins reached 11 hits, and had the benefit of two unearned runs, but they still lost ground in the standings.
Brian McCann tied a career high with five RBIs, including a tie-breaking two-run single in the eighth inning, to rally the Braves to a 7-5 win over the Marlins on Sunday afternoon in front of 30,478 at Turner Field.
The loss dropped the Marlins into third place in the National League East, one game behind the Braves and 7 1/2 in back of the Phillies with 38 games remaining.
Matt Diaz added four hits and he was a home run shy of the cycle. After taking the first game of the series on Friday night, the Marlins dropped the next two, finishing up a 2-4 road trip.
A day after having his career-high 16-game hitting streak snapped, Hanley Ramirez went 3-for-4, raising his NL-leading batting average to .361. But Jorge Cantu had his 11-game hit streak snapped on a hard-luck afternoon.
A pivotal play came in the eighth inning, after Ramirez led off with a bunt single, Cantu ripped a hard liner right at shortstop Yunel Escobar, who doubled up Ramirez at first with the score even at 5.
It was a struggle for right-hander Ricky Nolasco over 4 1/3 innings. The right-hander scattered nine hits, walked three, struck out four and threw 95 pitches.
Atlanta’s Derek Lowe gave up five runs, with three earned, in five innings.
Nolasco started off the road trip with a complete-game, three-hit, 6-2 win at Houston last Tuesday. In the remaining five games of the trip, four times a Florida starter was unable to pitch at least five full innings.
The Braves snapped the tie in the eighth. Kiko Calero, who gave up a run in the seventh, walked Omar Infante to begin the inning. Renyel Pinto replaced Calero and walked Kelly Johnson. Chipper Jones’ grounder advanced both runners into scoring position. With the infield in, McCann smacked a two-run single to right.
Ricky Nolasco struggled early, but the offense let him leave with a lead. Unfortunately, once Cristhian Martinez’s 1.1 innings were done, the rest of the pen decided they didn’t want to win the game, and Kiko Calero and Renyel Pinto both struggled with their control and gave away the game.
Hanley had another 3 hit game, and Chris Coghlan continued to be amazing at the top of the order, getting on base 3 times. Dan Uggla and Cody Ross also added two hit games, and the offense as a whole was pretty good. Unfortunately, they weren’t able to get the big hit as the game progressed, and the bullpen just couldn’t hold it.
Maybe a little overuse for Kiko and Pinto? Pinto has pitched in 13 games in August alone. He’s got terrible control as it is, but being overused can’t help it.
Today’s “winner” is…
Being tired doesn’t get you out of the Scott Olsen Mugshot Memorial Award, Renyel.
Playoff chances are not looking good now. They weren’t ever too great (though I had my hopes), but now they look pretty slim. Gotta take care of things at home in the next few series, and losing another series will just about end the season.
We need Nick Johnson and Jorge Cantu back in the everyday lineup, please.