- Associated Press - Saturday, July 2, 2016

ATLANTA (AP) - It felt just like the first time for Lucas Harrell - from his first pitch, to the catcher behind the plate.

Making his first major league start in more than two years, Harrell allowed one run in six innings and the Atlanta Braves beat Jose Fernandez and the Miami Marlins 9-1 on Saturday.

Harrell (1-0) was recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett for the start.

Freddie Freeman hit a two-run homer in the first inning and Jace Peterson hit a three-run homer in Atlanta’s seven-run sixth that knocked Fernandez (10-4) out of the game.

Harrell made his first start since April 15, 2014 with Houston against Kansas City. He made his major league debut with the White Sox in 2010 - when current Braves catcher A.J. Pierzynski was behind the plate.

Throwing to Pierzynski added to Harrell’s sense of comfort.

“It’s just one of those things where if you’ve done it before you’re not going to be overly excited,” Harrell said.

“It has been a long road to get back here. I felt like I’ve worked real hard. I’ve been up and had a little success before. It was just nice because A.J. was with me in Chicago and he knew my stuff and we were on the same page all game.”

Braves interim manager Brian Snitker said Harrell will remain in the rotation for at least one more start.

Harrell, 31, allowed one run on three hits with one walk. His start was especially important one day after the Braves exhausted their bullpen in a 7-5 loss to the Marlins that lasted 12 innings.

“Today was huge,” Snitker said. “Lucas was really good. … We needed that for the bullpen.”

Marlins manager Don Mattingly said Harrell “carved us up pretty good, honestly. We didn’t do much with him.”

Fernandez gave up a career-high nine runs, six earned, on eight hits and one walk in 5 2/3 innings.

The six earned runs allowed matched Fernandez’s career high.

“Rough day, man,” Fernandez said. “I just have to put it behind me.”

Fernandez drove in the decisive runs as a pinch-hitter in Miami’s win Friday night.

The Marlins, who began the day third in the NL wild-card standings, fell to 3-8 against the last-place Braves.

The four-game series will conclude on Sunday at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, in a salute-the-troops game at the military installation.

Peterson doubled to left field in the first, moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on Freeman’s 14th homer, a high shot caught by a fan on the front row of the center-field seats.

Braves rookie left-hander Dario Alvarez gave up singles to Chris Johnson and Jeff Mathis in the ninth before hitting Dietrich with a pitch to load the bases. Alvarez struck out pinch-hitter Giancarlo Stanton and Ichiro Suzuki to end the game.

11 TO GO

Suzuki’s triple to center field in the third inning drove in Derek Dietrich, who had a leadoff single, for Miami’s only run. Suzuki, 42, has 2,989 hits in the majors - 11 from reaching 3,000.

LUCKY 13

Peterson’s first-inning double gave him a career-best 13-game hitting streak. He is the only Braves player to have a streak as long as 10 games this season.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Braves: OF Ender Inciarte was held out with what he says is a minor right groin strain. He left Friday night’s game in the sixth inning with the injury. He said Saturday he hopes to play on Sunday.

UP NEXT

Marlins: LHP Adam Conley (4-5, 3.90 ERA) will look for his second win of the season against the Braves on Sunday at Fort Bragg. He threw eight scoreless innings in a 3-0 win on June 22 in Miami.

Braves: RHP Matt Wisler (3-7, 4.14) has a 7.11 ERA in two career games, including one start, against the Marlins.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide