Just twelve days after Josh Johnson flirted with a no-hitter against the Mets on Opening Night, the Marlins ace took it an inning further when he held the Braves hitless through 7 1/3 at Turner Field Wednesday.
JJ struck out nine and issued three walks in his start, and didn't allow a hit until a one-out double in the eighth prevented him from making the baseball history books. For now, anyway.
While JJ worked, the Marlins made up for being shut out Tuesday and had their way with Tim Hudson, scoring five times in the first three innings. Chris Coghlan doubled to lead off the first, and Hanley Ramirez drove him in with an RBI single.
The Marlins added on in the second. With one out, Gaby Sanchez and Gregg Dobbs singled, and Hudson walked John Buck intentionally to load the bases after a wild pitch advanced both runners. JJ stepped up to the plate next and helped out his own cause (which really didn't seem as though it needed much assistance), snapping an 0-for-38 slump with an RBI single. Chris Coghlan added an RBI single of his own, to put the Marlins up 4-zip after two.
Logan Morrison's no-doubter to right field in the top of the third finished up the Marlins' scoring for the night, and gave JJ a 5-0 lead to work with.
Not that he needed it.
With the way Josh was dealing, the question wasn't really whether he could keep the Braves from getting a hit through nine, it was whether or not Edwin Rodriguez could allow him to try. JJ's pitch count was high heading into the eighth, after an 8-pitch seventh inning put him at 105 pitches. But it turns out Edwin Rodriguez wouldn't have to make the Big Decision. With one out, Freddie Stinking Freeman made it for him, when he busted up JJ's no-hitter with a double to left.
You could almost hear Edwin's sigh of relief all the way from Atlanta, and he immediately lifted Josh, who walked off the field to a standing ovation from a very Marlins-sized crowd of 14,350 classy Braves fans.
Ryan Webb finished off the inning cleanly for JJ to preserve his shutout and tiny new ERA of 1.35, but the Marlins lost the shutout in the bottom of the ninth when Chipper Jones went deep off of Randy Choate.
With the win, Josh Johnson improved to 2-0 on the season, and the Fish are once again sitting a game above .500.