- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 7, 2015

MIAMI (AP) - Despite modest expectations, this year’s Atlanta Braves have proved to be fast starters, and that includes the first inning Tuesday night.

The Braves scored seven runs in the first off Mat Latos and beat the Miami Marlins for the second day in a row to start the season, 12-2.

Latos, acquired from Cincinnati in the offseason, lasted only two-thirds of an inning in the shortest outing of his career. He was booed as he left the game, his first for his hometown team.

The Braves batted around again in the ninth, when they scored four runs off Marlins closer Steve Cishek.

“We didn’t give at-bats away, even at the end,” manager Fredi Gonzalez said.

Atlanta’s big first inning against Latos included RBI doubles by Freddie Freeman, Christian Bethancourt and Chris Johnson, and a two-run single by Andrelton Simmons.

“Mat just didn’t have it,” Miami manager Mike Redmond said. “He was up in the zone, and they squared quite a few balls up. When your starter goes out early like that, it makes it tough on everybody else.”

And easy on Braves starter Alex Wood (1-0).

“That wasn’t what I was expecting - 30 to 40 minutes before I threw the first pitch,” Wood said. “I got an AB before I even got out there.”

The offensive outburst was a big change for the Braves. They ranked next-to-last in the majors in runs in 2014 and lost Justin Upton, Jason Heyward and Evan Gattis during the offseason.

So far, they’ve hardly looked like a rebuilding team. Wood allowed two runs in five innings, and three relievers completed a five-hitter for the Braves, who have given up three runs in two games.

Cody Martin pitched two scoreless innings and struck out four in his major league debut.

Freeman, who batted .135 against Miami last year, and Simmons each had three of the Braves’ 14 hits. New outfielder Cameron Maybin added a two-run single in the ninth. The Braves went 9 for 16 with runners in scoring position.

“We came out and got a 7-spot, then shut down for a few innings, then picked it right back up,” Freeman said. “It was good to come back in the later innings and score some more runs.”

Latos said he took the mound with “a little bit of jitters.”

“But there’s no excuse for putting my team in a seven-run hole and embarrassing myself, throwing the ball down the middle of the plate,” he said. “It’s the worst start I’ve had in six years. It’s ridiculous putting my team through that.”

It was the shortest outing by a starting pitcher in his Marlins debut, according to STATS. Latos (0-1) failed to record a strikeout for the first time in 154 career starts.

The Marlins’ offense gave fans little to cheer about, either. Giancarlo Stanton, the team’s $325 million slugger, walked three times and doesn’t have a home run.

Michael Morse went 0 for 4 behind him with three strikeouts.

TOUGH BUSINESS

On Saturday, Gonzalez told infielder Pedro Ciriaco he would be on the opening-day roster barring “anything crazy,” such as a trade. Ciriaco was so thrilled he cried.

The next day, the Braves acquired Maybin in the trade that sent closer Craig Kimbrel to the Padres. Gonzalez had to tell Ciriaco he was being demoted to Triple-A to make room for Maybin.

“You’re talking about a business that just kind of stinks,” Gonzalez said.

UP NEXT

Maybin, Jonny Gomes and A.J. Pierzynski will be in the Braves’ starting lineup for the first time Wednesday against Miami, Gonzalez said. Maybin will be in center field and might lead off.

RHP Shelby Miller (10-9, 3.74 ERA in 2014 with the Cardinals) is scheduled to start against Marlins RHP Tom Koehler (10-10, 3.81).

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide