The Atlanta Braves had their four-game winning streak snapped by the Miami Marlins on Wednesday in the midst of plenty of rain. Mike Minor had been dominant until issuing a two-out walk to the pitcher in the fifth inning, leading to a three-run homer by Justin Ruggiano that proved to be the deciding blow in a 6-3 loss at Turner Field.
Minor apparently had some difficulties gripping the ball in the fifth inning, when he allowed a lead-off double to Donovan Solano. Though Minor struck out two straight batters, he walked Marlins' pitcher Ricky Nolasco with two outs, setting up Ruggiano's homer, when he never should have had an at-bat in that inning in the first place.
"I'm not saying at all it was just the rain and that's why I gave up the hits or gave up the walk," Minor said on braves.com. "It could have gone either way if it wasn't raining. In that particular inning, it was tough for me to grip the ball and I couldn't get comfortable."
Minor retired 11 straight batters going into the fifth inning and hadn't pitched from the stretch since the first. Minor believes he may have avoided the walk to Nolasco had he thrown and off-speed pitch instead of just fastballs.
"I almost shook to a changeup, because you have more fingers on it and more of a grip," Minor said. "I didn't, because it was the pitcher. Then Ruggiano, I was trying to attack guys and throw strikes and it really didn't work out."
Adding a little insult to the loss is the fact that Minor has allowed seven homers in his last six starts. He gave up just seven homers in his first 11 starts of the season.
It didn't help that Nolasco, who usually struggles against Atlanta, pitched well in what will likely be his final start with Miami before being traded.
B.J. Upton started the third inning with an infield single, eventually being driven in by Andrelton SImmons with a two-out RBI-single. Brian McCann added the only other damage Nolasco took with a solo homer in the fourth.
"It's not fun when you see water drops dripping off the bill of your helmet, but you have to deal with it," Freddie Freeman said. "The other team's dealing with it, too, so you just have to go out there and battle."
Cory Gearrin struggled again by allowing two runs in the eighth inning. He has allowed eight runs over his last seven appearances.
The Braves pieced together a brief ninth-inning rally, eventually leading to a Chris Johnson RBI-single, but that was short lived on a night they couldn't put together a big inning.
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