MIAMI (AP) — Party music blared from the Miami Marlins’ postgame clubhouse as Tyler Moore talked about his game-changing home run, which gave the team a victory to celebrate for the first time all week.
Moore connected for a pinch-hit three-run homer against R.A. Dickey in the seventh inning, and Miami broke a five-game losing streak by beating the Atlanta Braves 3-1 Sunday.
“It has been tough around here,” Moore said. “It’s good to see guys walking out of here with a smile.”
The Marlins improved to 1-5 on their nine-game homestand, and 6-11 at home this year. Justin Nicolino, who pitched six innings in his first outing of the year, said the victory could lead to a turnaround for the Marlins, who climbed out of last place ahead of Atlanta in the NL East.
“When we’re scuffling like this and we get a big win, momentum changes,” Nicolino said. “Momentum is on our side, and we’ve got to keep going.”
There was no sign of any change early on. Atlanta took a 1-0 lead in the fifth, and Miami had only three hits until the seventh, when Giancarlo Stanton led off with a double. With two out and runners on first and second, Moore sent Dickey’s first pitch — a high knuckleball with too much spin — over the wall in left-center.
“He ambushed a tumbler,” Dickey said.
Moore improved to 4 for 6 against Dickey with two homers, but said he doesn’t enjoy at-bats against knuckleballers.
“They’re usually not good,” Moore said. “But this time it was good.”
Moore has bounced between Miami and the minors this season. He improved to 4 for 10 as a pinch hitter and said he likes the role.
“I love being in the big leagues,” he said. “Whatever is going to keep me here, I like.”
His first homer of the year was his fourth career pinch-hit homer. Thanks to a strong effort by Nicolino and three relievers, it was all the offense Miami needed.
Nicolino, a left-hander recalled from Triple-A New Orleans before the game, allowed six hits and walked four walks. The Braves went 1 for 10 with runners in scoring position against him.
Miami left fielder Marcell Ozuna threw out Adonis Garcia trying to go from first to third on a single by Freddie Freeman in the seventh. Kyle Barraclough (1-0) then escaped a bases-loaded situation by retiring Kurt Suzuki.
A.J. Ramos pitched around a leadoff walk in the ninth for his fourth save.
“What you saw today is we got a good starting effort, a key hit and our bullpen pitching good,” Miami manager Don Mattingly said. “Everything fell for us.”
For the Braves, too much landed with a thud. They had eight hits and six walks but stranded 12 runners.
“We had opportunities with guys in the middle of the order,” said Freeman, who had two hits but stranded five runners. “We just didn’t get it done.”
Miami hadn’t faced a knuckleballer since 2015 and struggled against Dickey until he allowed his ninth homer this year. The loss snapped his eight-game winning streak against the Marlins.
Atlanta’s Nick Markakis hit a two-out single in the fifth to drive home the game’s first run. Teammate Matt Kemp went 0 for 4, ending his 13-game hitting streak.
Nicolino was called up to take injured left-hander Wei-Yin Chen’s spot in the rotation. He escaped a first-inning jam when he got Markakis to hit into a 1-2-3 double play with the bases loaded.
“For me that just kind set the tone,” Nicolino said.
To make room for Nicolino on the Miami roster, infielder Steve Lombardozzi was optioned to Triple-A New Orleans.
Atlanta: RHP Bartolo Colon (1-4, 7.22 ERA) is scheduled to start Monday when the Braves play at Toronto to start a four-game, home-and-home series. Colon’s ERA was the worst among qualified major league starters through Saturday.
Miami: RHP Dan Straily (1-3, 4.03 ERA) is scheduled to start Monday when the Marlins open a three-game series against Houston.
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