MIAMI (SportsDirect Inc.) — Adonis Garcia did not factor heavily into the Atlanta Braves’ rebuilding efforts, but as the Braves play the third game of a four-game series Saturday at the Miami Marlins, their third baseman continues to bolster his opportunity to return in 2017.
Garcia collected three hits Friday night and drove in the go-ahead run in the ninth inning in the Braves’ 3-2 victory, Atlanta’s season-best seventh victory in a row and 15th in its past 23 games.
Garcia, who was demoted to the minors in May to play left field because his defense at third was so shaky in the season’s first month, has been solid at third since returning and is 12-for-32 with eight RBIs during Atlanta’s winning streak.
After their first three hitters reached base Friday, the Marlins were held without a hit until Ichiro Suzuki snapped an 0-for-16 skid with an eighth-inning single.
Miami’s flickering hopes for a National League wild-card berth have just about been snuffed out with losses in the first two games of the series and five losses in its past eight overall.
Third baseman Martin Prado, who doubled home the Marlins’ two runs in the first, is hitting .330 in his past 38 home games.
TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, FSN Southeast (Atlanta), FSN Florida (Miami)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Braves RH Aaron Blair (1-6, 7.71 ERA) vs. Marlins LH Wei-Yin Chen (5-4, 5.04)
The 13th start of his rookie season proved lucky for Blair, who earned his first major-league victory Monday against the Mets by allowing two runs on four hits in six innings. Sent to Triple-A Gwinnett after losing to the Giants on Aug. 28, the 24-year-old made two starts in the International League playoffs and made a mechanical adjustment in his delivery that paid off against New York. Blair, who missed time with a knee injury earlier this season, held Miami to two runs on five hits in 5 2/3 innings in a no-decision May 28.
Chen made his first start in nearly two months Monday due to a left elbow sprain, giving up three runs on four hits with three strikeouts in 4 1/3 innings. Expected to solidify the middle of the Miami rotation, Chen struggled before the injury, posting a 6.09 ERA with 12 homers allowed in 44 1/3 innings across his final eight starts. He lost to the Braves on June 30 during that skid, allowing four runs on eight hits in 5 1/3 innings.
1. Miami RHP Kyle Barraclough struck out the side in the eighth inning Friday, extending his NL-leading total for relievers and Marlins’ single-season record for most in a season by a reliever to 110.
2. Atlanta C Tyler Flowers, who came into Friday having thrown out only one base stealer in 58 attempts, gunned down OF Yefri Perez in the ninth inning.
3. The Braves are 6-1 in Miami this season and lead the season series 11-6.
(© Copyright 2016 SportsDirect Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)