With another series sweep in sight, the Miami Marlins went into today's afternoon matchup against the Atlanta Braves trying to gain some sort of momentum before their weekend matchup against the NL East leading Washington Nationals. After two straight heartbreaking defeats, Miami put the series on the shoulders of up-and-coming Jacob Turner who has looked like a bonafide ace since his Marlins debut in late May.
While the team was looking to rely on the performance of their right-handed stud, Miami's offense looked to take over from the start against veteran Paul Maholm. Before most of the fans were able to take their seats at Marlins Park, the top of the Marlins order were able to take advantage of Maholm's shaky control by working the count which led into a leadoff walk by Justin Ruggiano. When the veteran lefty was able to put the ball over the plate, Miami pounced like a feline on yarn with a sharp single by Ed Lucas and a bases-clearing double by Giancarlo Stanton. The 2-0 advantage was not enough for veterans Placido Polanco and Jeff Mathis who continued the ongoing onslaught against Maholm with a run-scoring double (Polanco) and single (Mathis) to widen the advantage to 4-0.
That lead was more than enough for the Marlins because of the outstanding pitching performance by Jacob Turner. While he never blew away anybody with fastballs in the triple digits, Turner did a terrific job by working the corners with a variety of pitches that consisted of a 94-95 mph fastball and a cutter that moved pretty well against Atlanta's offense.
More impressive than his above-average line (seven innings, four hits, five strikeouts and two earned runs) was his ability to continue to work the corners of the strike zone without getting into any real issues with his pitch count. Atlanta's offense is less than stellar but Turner's efficient performance was something that was extremely interesting to watch because it looked like he views pitching more of a science than anything else.
Throughout the game, Atlanta never had an opportunity to turn this into a competitive game but that didn't stop Miami from pulling off some insurance runs late in the games off of relievers Luis Ayala and Anthony Varvaro. While most of the damage was off of former Expo Luis Ayala, Placido Polanco poked another spear into the hearts of the Braves when he lined a Varvaro pitch straight down center field that scored two additional runs to put Miami up 6-2.
After scoreless innings by Cishek and Chad Qualls, the Marlins were victorious in the final game of the series to avoid a sweep against their bitter division foe. The road won't be easy this weekend for Miami as they'll be seeing Stephen Strasburg and the Washington Nationals when the series begins on Friday. To combat Washington's power pitcher, Miami will be bringing out prospect Nate Eovaldi who has been more than stellar since his return from the DL but will be facing his biggest opponent in Strasburg.