It took a little over four hours, but the Atlanta Braves came away with a win in a wild 14th inning rally for a 7-1 victory in the series opener with the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park.
For a time, it seemed the Braves were doomed to the same road futility they've experienced for the last couple months, particularly when Marlins pitchers retired 24 straight Braves batters between a triple by Jason Heyward in the sixth inning and the go-ahead two-run double by Justin Upton in the 14th.
"We were hitting the ball hard all night, and we were putting together good at-bats," Upton said on braves.com. "The ball just wasn't falling. It's easy to stay positive when you're putting barrels on the ball."
Reed Johnson broke the streak of 24 consecutive Braves being retired with a lead-off walk off Chris Hatcher in the 14th. Heyward drew a walk two batters later in time for Upton to rip his two-run double into the left field corner.
The floodgates opened from there, as Gerald Laird, who didn't enter the game until the 12th inning contributed a two-run single. Chris Johnson also produced an RBI-single that plated another run on Justin Ruggiano's error in left field.
To even get to the 14th, the Braves had to get out of a jam in the 13th. After Braves pitchers sat down 15 straight Marlins, Giancarlo Stanton led off with a single, the first hit by either team since the sixth inning, off David Carpenter. Carpenter then hit Marcell Ozuna with a pitch to put runners on first and second with nobody out, but Freddie Freeman started a clutch double play on a Logan Morrison grounder before Adeiny Hechavarria flew out to end the inning.
Braves starter Mike Minor helped the effort with 6 1/3 innings of one-run pitching. He retired the first 10 batters he faced. The only run he gave up came in the fifth when the Marlins strung together three hits, puncuated by Ruggiano's RBI-single.
A lynch mob may have met Fredi Gonzalez after the game had the Braves bullpen fell apart, considering he used Craig Kimbrel in the 11th inning in a non-save situation.
"You look at your [lineup] card, and you look at your guys in the bullpen and their guys in the bullpen, and I was like, 'OK, I'm going to use Kimbrel here,'" Gonzalez said. "Then [Marlins left-handed reliever Mike Dunn] goes out and gives them two solid innings, and I was thinking, 'OK, I might have made a mistake here.'"
The win was just the Braves' 16th in their last 40 road games.Tags: Atlanta, Atlanta Braves, Baseball, Chris Johnson, Fredi Gonzalez, Gerald Laird, Giancarlo Stanton, Jason Heyward, Justin Upton, Miami Marlins, Mike Minor, MLB