Just when the Atlanta Braves were about to be shut out to end their four-game winning streak, they staged a four-run rally in the ninth inning en route to losing 4-3 to Miami Marlins in the 10th inning anyway Tuesday night at Marlins Park.
Heath Bell threw a 1-2-3 10th inning before Cory Gearrin took the loss for Atlanta. After walking Rob Brantly and hitting Gorkys Hernandez with a pitch, Jason Heyward was unable to make a diving snag on a Jose Reyes line drive to right.
"We come in in the ninth inning, tie the ballgame up and feel like we have a good chance," Fredi Gonzalez said. "We just couldn't get out of the other jam here in the 10th."
The Braves were finally able to get something going in the ninth after Marlins starter Nathan Eovaldi exited after eight scoreless innings. He held the Braves to four hits over his career-long outing, which was better than the six runs he allowed to the Braves over two innings at Turner Field previously.
"He was really, really good," Gonzalez said. "I haven't seen a starter pitch that deep in the ballgame still cranking 97-98 mph on the fastball. It's been a while since we've seen that."
Paul Maholm also turned out his own strong start by giving up two runs over 6 2/3 innings. He had given up one run through the first six innings he threw when John Buck tripled to lead off the third and Hernandez drove in with a two-out single.
"He gave us a hell of an effort to win the ballgame," Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez pulled Maholm in favor of Peter Moylan in the seven after he surrendered a two-out double to Austin Kearns, but Moylan gave up an opposite-field, two-run homer to Buck that increased the Braves' deficit to three.
"I would've obviously liked to take back the triple [to Buck] and the double to Kearns," Maholm said. "Other than those two, I felt good, I felt better than I have been. You have rough outings going through the season and you get back on track. Hopefully tonight is one of those where I can bounce back and get to face these guys next week."
After Jason Heyward doubled and Chipper Jones walked to start the ninth against Steve Cishek, Dan Uggla finally put the Braves on the board with an RBI-single, prompting Ozzie Guillen to replace Cishek with Mike Dunn, who gave up a two-run double to Brian McCann that tied the game.
The bottom of the ninth looked gloomy for Atlanta when Jonny Venters started by giving up singles to Reyes and Carlos Lee. That, combined with a passed ball by David Ross, put runners at the corners with no outs. Venters struck out the next two batters he faced before Gearrin got Buck to groundout on the first pitch he saw.
The loss drops the Braves to 5 1/2 games behind the Washington Nationals, who were rained out Tuesday and will play a doubleheader with the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday.
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