Ben Sheets entered Wednesday's game with the Miami Marlins looking for his four straight win since joining the Atlanta Braves after nearly two years out of baseball. Instead, he ran into bad luck in a three-run first inning as the Braves' seven-game winning streak was snapped with a 4-2 final at Turner Field.
Sheets gave up three runs in the first inning on five hits, but only one of those was hit hard at all. Emilio Bonafacio started the game with a bunt single, and Donnie Murphy hit a single to left to put runners at the corners. The runs would come as Carlos Lee blooped a single to right, Greg Dobbs hit a soft comebacker that Sheets couldn't handle and Bryan Peterson singled to left on a line drive.
"The first inning was the game," Sheets said. "After that, I threw the ball pretty well. I thought I was throwing it OK early. I just didn't make enough pitches."
Sheets would settle after the first and only give up a total of four runs on 11 hits in 6 2/3 innings. It was the first time since July 10, 2010 that Sheets had thrown 100 pitches and into the seventh inning. It also happened to be his last start before Tommy John surgery.
"I think for him, going out there in the seventh was a big plus," Gonzalez said. "I think sitting down for seven innings and going out and getting over the 100-pitch mark was a good step forward."
After the last single in the first, Sheets sat down nine of the next 10 batters he faced until Scott Cousins singled in the fourth. Marlins starting pitcher Wade LaBlanc followed with a double to left, but Martin Prado booted the ball to allow Cousins to score.
Paul Janish was one of the few bright spots for Atlanta. He drove in the first run for the Braves in the second with a double to center. He would proceed to make a spectacular diving catch down the left field line on a bloop by Jose Reyes in the third inning.
Dan Uggla drove in the Braves' only other run with a double down the left field line in the sixth.
In total, however, the Braves went 2-for-10 with runners in scoring position and stranded nine runners while also hitting into three double plays.
Atlanta had a prime opportunity to potentially tie the game in the seventh when Marlins reliever Mike Dunn walked two with two outs to load the bases, but Freddie Freeman, despite having three hits already, lined out to Cousins.
"The main thing is, we didn’t take advantage of opportunities to score," Prado said. "When you don’t tie the game, you feel pressure at the end of the game, looking for a homer in that situation. It’s hard."
The Braves were fortunate for the Philadelphia Phillies taking another win from Washington Nationals, leaving Atlanta at 2.5 games behind the Nats in the NL East.
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