A.J. Pierzynski, a mentor to a young pitching staff, showed he still can be a threat. The veteran catcher uncorked a two-run homer off Tom Koehler in the seventh inning on Wednesday that powered the Braves to a 2-0 win over Miami at Marlins Park.
Atlanta completed its three-game sweep, and stifled the Marlins with its stingy pitching. Miami managed just three runs in the series, and fell to 0-3 for the first time since 2013.
Koehler and Shelby Miller, who worked five innings, were engaged in a strong pitchers' duel. The game was scoreless until the seventh, when Freddie Freeman singled and Pierzynski connected on the only home run of the series.
Brandon Cunniff, the Marlins' 27th-round pick in 2010, collected his first MLB win.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Stanton delivers with glove:Giancarlo Stanton showed why he was a 2014 National League Gold Glove Award finalist in the fourth inning. After Nick Markakis walked, Freeman scorched a liner to right-center. Listed at 6-foot-6 in the Miami media guide, Stanton raced into the gap and made a leaping catch. He was able to get on his feet and make a strong throw to first that doubled up Markakis. More >
Miller's escape: After beginning the bottom of the third with a pair of strikeouts, Miller surrendered consecutive infield singles and walked Stanton to load the bases. But the young right-hander, who developed a sinker late last season, escaped unscathed when Andrelton Simmons cleanly fieldedMichael Morse's sharp grounder and flipped to second to end the inning.More >
Cunniff delivers again: Miller threw an additional 17 pitches after allowing the first of the two infield singles in the third and ended up exiting with his pitch count at 97 through five innings. Cunniff, who made his Major League debut on Tuesday, then bridged the gap toward veteran relievers Jim Johnson andJason Grilli by completing 1 2/3 perfect innings. More >
Yelich's golden defensive moment: Stanton wasn't the only Miami outfielder to make an impact defensively. Christian Yelich, the NL Gold Glove-winning left fielder in '14, gunned down Alberto Callaspo trying to stretch a single to a double in the fifth inning. Callaspo slapped a hit past first, and he was thinking double all the way. But Yelich gathered the ball and made an accurate throw to second baseman Dee Gordon, who applied the tag.
Instant replay: The first and only review of the series came in the ninth inning. The Braves challenged to see if center fielder Marcell Ozuna trapped Jonny Gomes' sinking liner. After a one-minute look at the instant replay, the original ruling that Gomes was out was confirmed.
QUOTABLE "There is so much emphasis placed on the first series of the year. To come in here and play against a team that everybody was expecting really good things out of and to play the way we did, hopefully it carries over. But it's only three games. There's a whole lot more games to go." -- Pierzynski
"You go through spells like that. We came out of Spring Training, I felt we swung the bats really well. For whatever reason we cooled off here. I'll give the Braves credit with the way they pitched. They pitched really well this series. They shut us down. That's what teams have to do to our lineup, make pitches. They were able to do that." -- Marlins manager Mike Redmond
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Gordon, who paced the Majors with 64 steals last year, swiped his first for the Marlins on Wednesday. It came in the third inning. Last year, Gordon primarily slid head-first. But this year, the speedster is going feet-first, mainly to reduce wear and tear on his body, and avoid potential finger and hand injuries.
Pierzynski has now homered in 30 different Major League stadiums. Turner Field, Dodger Stadium and Nationals Park are the only current stadiums where he has recorded at least one plate appearance and never homered. More >
Marlins: Off on Thursday, the Marlins are back on Friday night at home against the Rays. The Citrus Series will be underway with a three-game Interleague series scheduled. Dan Haren makes his Miami debut. Tampa Bay has yet to announce its starter. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. ET.
Braves: The Braves will send Eric Stults to the mound for Friday's home opener against the Mets at 7:35 p.m. ET. Chipper Jones, Dale Murphy and Bobby Cox will be in attendance as the club celebrates its 50th season in Atlanta.