Marlins make it interesting but can't catch Braves
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Jason Heyward and Justin Upton hit back-to-back home runs in the fourth inning, helping the Braves claim a 7-6 win over the Marlins at Champion Stadium on Monday afternoon.
Heyward opened the bottom of the frame with a shot over the right-field wall, and Upton added to left-hander Scott Maine's frustration by drilling a towering home run that soared over the top of the grass berm beyond the left-field wall. It was one of the longest home runs hit to left field in the stadium's history.
B.J. Upton further fueled the three-run fourth with a double and a stolen base that put him in position to score on a wild pitch charged to Maine, who was charged with three earned runs and three hits in one inning.
Marlins starter Wade LeBlanc tossed two perfect innings against the Braves, who entered the game with an 0-3 Grapefruit League record.
The Marlins claimed an early lead when they manufactured a run off Braves closer Craig Kimbrel in the third inning. Chris Coghlan began the inning with a double and scored on Joe Mahoney's two-out single to right. Mahoney and Coghlan both recorded two hits.
Braves starter Kris Medlen tossed two scoreless innings in his spring debut. He did not allow another hit after surrendering a pair of first-inning singles to Coghlan and Mahoney.
The Marlins made things interesting with a five-run eighth inning against Yohan Flande. Matt Downs and Jordan Brown fueled the uprising with a pair of doubles. Jake Marisnick tripled and scored on a Christian Yelich single that cut the deficit to one run.
Up next: Ricky Nolasco will make his spring debut when the Marlins host the Mets on Tuesday at 1:05 p.m. ET. Casey Kotchman, who is battling for the first-base job, could also make his debut after slicing open his left ring finger last week.