Thursday, June 23, 2016

Bour's HR backs dominant Conley vs. Braves

The Marlins were desperate for a starter to go deep into a game, and left-handerAdam Conley delivered on Wednesday afternoon, scattering four hits over eight innings in a 3-0 win over the Braves at Marlins Park.
The eight innings are a career high for Conley, who previously tossed as many as 7 2/3 hitless in Milwaukee on April 29. The left-hander also is the first Miami starter this season to complete eight innings. Miami split its two-game set with the Braves, beating the visitors for just the second time in eight tries in the season series.
"It was exactly what we needed," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "We needed someone to get deep into this game. We had a number of [relievers] we weren't willing to use today. Honestly, we could use another one of these things tomorrow and reset the whole thing."
The Marlins did all their damage at the plate in the second inning, stringing together five straight hits. Marcell Ozuna blistered a leadoff triple, which Justin Bour followed with a two-run homer into the upper deck in right field. Jeff Mathis drove in Derek Dietrich with a single to cap the three-run inning.
Braves right-hander John Gant worked 5 2/3 innings, and six of the seven hits he allowed came in Miami's three-run second inning. Gant retired 12 straight before Bour's two-out single in the sixth inning, after which he was replaced for lefty Ian Krol.
"I think he just got his mix going a littler better," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "They jumped on a couple fastballs, and he hung one breaking ball, a kind of get-me-over with two strikes on Mathis. Overall, he settled down and gave us a chance."
The loss snapped the Braves' season-best six game winning streak.
Conley in control: When Jace Peterson singled to open the game and reached second on a wild pitch, it looked like it could have been the beginning of a rough afternoon for Conley. Instead, the 26-year-old regrouped, turning in one of the most impressive starts of his young big league career. The lefty won for the first time since May 16 at Philadelphia, a span where he was 0-2 with a 4.64 ERA over six starts. The 114 pitches Conley threw were two shy of his career high, when he tossed 116 at Milwaukee on April 29. More >
"I noticed in my last couple of starts, I wasn't able to get as deep into the game as I had hoped," Conley said.
Frenchy fires: Gant received a much needed defensive pick-me-up after allowing five straight hits in the second inning. On Mathis' RBI single, Braves left fielder Jeff Francoeurthrew out Chris Johnson for the first out at third base. Gant settled in after the play, retired 13 of the next 15 batters he faced, yielding just two hits the rest of the way.
"That was a big out," Gant said. "I was obviously very pleased to see that happen. Sometimes baseball evens itself out. There was a bloop hit, so maybe that's the game's way of evening it out for me."
Bour's big blast: With the quick turnaround on Wednesday after playing 10 innings on Tuesday night, Miami gave Giancarlo Stanton a breather. Bour moved into the fifth spot, where Stanton has been batting recently with Ozuna hitting cleanup. In the second inning, Bour connected on a no-doubt, two-run homer that Statcast™ projected traveled 419 feet with an exit velocity of 107 mph and a launch angle of 25 degrees. Ozuna started the rally with a leadoff triple.
The Marlins had a chance to add on more in the second, but Johnson was out trying to advance from first to third on Mathis' hit.
"You really want my thoughts? We could have had five runs there instead of three," Mattingly said. "Obviously, it's good to get on the board. Justin gives us those quick two. Mathis gets a big hit for us. [Dietrich] starts the inning back over after Justin. Obviously, it was good to be able to score there. It would have been nice to be able to tack on, and kind of add on and take the stress away. It was that kind of game. Day games seem to be hard to get runs."
Making his debut: Braves reliever Tyrell Jenkins threw a scoreless eighth inning, inducing three weak groundouts in his Major League debut. Jenkins, who was called up from Triple-A Gwinnett on June 16, is ranked Atlanta's No. 7 prospect, according to Over 14 appearances in Triple-A this season, nine of which were starts, Jenkins had a 2.91 ERA. More >
"There's kind of never a perfect spot, and right there, we felt like this is as good as any and let's get him out there," Snitker said. "I thought he did really good."
"I don't think of it as important, just because of them [beating the Braves]. Everything before this has to be erased. You can't really think about what happened at the beginning of the season. From a standpoint we play every day to win. We won a game today. That's really all that matters." -- Mattingly, on beating Atlanta for the second time in eight tries
Miami closer A.J. Ramos is 23-for-23 in save chances this year and has converted 32 straight chances since last year. The Marlins record is 33 set by Steve Cishek.
A constant for the Marlins all month has been stellar defense. The club has committed just two errors in June, the fewest of any MLB team. Conley was backed by terrific defense. Shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria made a couple of nice plays, including a diving stop up the middle on Erick Aybar's hot smash to get a force at second to end the seventh inning. Dietrich made a couple of nice plays in the second inning on liners off the bats of Nick Markakis and Chase d'Arnaud. Left fielder Christian Yelich made some nice plays, as didIchiro Suzuki in right field.
"Outstanding," Conley said. "You're seeing the characteristics of the style of defense we're playing. Hechavarria did what he always does. He does that stuff every day. So that's just kind of the club that we have. When we pitch, we have a good shot at winning ballgames, because we can definitely defend."
The Braves travel home to open a four-game set with the Mets, starting Thursday at 7:10 p.m. ET. Right-hander Matt Wisler (3-7, 4.23 ERA), who owns a 1.55 ERA in four career starts against the Mets, takes the hill.
Marlins: The Marlins open the first of four against the Cubs on Thursday at 7:10 p.m. ET at Marlins Park. Left-hander Wei-Yin Chen (4-2, 5.22) will make his 15th start for Miami. The Cubs counter with lefty Jon Lester (9-3, 2.06).

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