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Thunder rolls in duel as Marlins blank Braves

August 24, 2018

MIAMI -- All season, the Marlins have had trouble slowing down the Braves. On Friday night, Dan Straily (Thunder) found a solution -- keeping them off-stride with a mix of four-seam fastballs and sliders -- over six strong innings. Derek Dietrich (Dietz) provided an RBI single in the fourth inning,

MIAMI -- All season, the Marlins have had trouble slowing down the Braves. On Friday night, Dan Straily (Thunder) found a solution -- keeping them off-stride with a mix of four-seam fastballs and sliders -- over six strong innings. Derek Dietrich (Dietz) provided an RBI single in the fourth inning, and Miami claimed a rare 1-0 victory over Atlanta at Marlins Park.
Atlanta has dominated the season series, 13-4, and it entered Friday night averaging 6.9 runs per game. But Straily combined with three relievers for Miami's 10th shutout of the season.
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The Marlins also snapped a string of seven straight losses to their National League East-leading rival.
"These are the kind of wins, I feel like, looking back at a season -- I'm not going to say turning points, by any means," Straily said. "But definitely everybody talks about how good teams win the 1-0 ballgames. So it's kind of one of those things tonight, we look at it and we took a first-place team and beat them, 1-0. It shows you that we're capable. We've just got to believe in ourselves and play as hard as possible. Anything can happen. It really does a lot of good for the morale of the clubhouse."
There was some drama in the ninth inning, when pinch-hitter Adam Duvall (Duvy) lifted a long fly ball to right field that Rafael Ortega caught at the wall. After securing the first out, lefty Adam Conley (ACon) logged his second save by retiring Freddie Freeman (Andrew) and Nick Markakis (TTT).

"He got it pretty good," Conley said. "I was probably more middle than I wanted it to be, trying to execute that pitch. I went back to throwing a four-seam at times and trying to use the top of the zone again, which is another adjustment. I'm just trying to get that ball up a little."
Conley pies himself in face after save
On the first day of Players' Weekend, Straily set the tone, holding the Braves in check for six innings, scattering three hits, walking one and striking out four. The right-hander blended 44 four-seam fastballs with 39 sliders. In both the second and third innings, he stranded a runner on second base.
"I had zero changeups, so I had to have those two," Straily said of his fastball and slider. "I found out I didn't have a changeup early. I was able to get three outs with my changeup, but that was late in the game. Early on, it was nonexistent. I had to really rely on that. With that stretch of five lefties in a row, it was one of those pitches -- especially with that slider -- if that comes back over the plate with Freddie and Nick and those guys, they're going to feast on those pitches."

Right-hander Mike Foltynewicz (Folty) retired the first 11 Marlins he faced before Brian Anderson (Andy) logged a two-out double in the fourth. Dietrich ripped an RBI single, giving the Marlins the only run they needed. The run snapped a skid of 12 straight scoreless innings; Miami was blanked, 5-0, in the series opener on Thursday.
"Whether we beat them 10-0 or 1-0, we just needed to get a win against that club and get things going the other direction," Dietrich said.
Each team had three hits, but the Marlins had more chances, leaving eight runners on base compared to Atlanta's four.

With Straily out of the game in the seventh inning, the Braves had a shot off Tayron Guerrero (El De Bocachica). Markakis walked, and with two outs, Tyler Flowers (MMBB) belted a long drive to left field that Austin Dean ran down.
Guerrero repping home for Players' Weekend
With two more games left this weekend to close out the season series, the Marlins still can play spoiler to the Braves.
"You start somewhere," manager Don Mattingly said. "We had the same thing going on with the Nationals. We didn't seem to be able to beat them, and the last series, we were able to get a series there. We've got some more games with these guys."

In relief of Straily, Guerrero, Drew Steckenrider (Steckasaurus) and Conley allowed one baserunner between them over the final three innings.
The Marlins don't have a true closer, so they are playing according to matchups. That's why righty Steckenrider worked the eighth and struck out two, including right-handed-hitting Ronald Acuna Jr. (Sabanero Soy) for his third out. In the ninth inning, the left-handed Conley entered to face a string of fellow southpaws. Right-handed-hitting Duvall entered as a pinch-hitter and drove the ball to deep right, but it was caught by Ortega at the wall. Conley then retired Freeman and Markakis to complete a clean frame.

"[Acuna] has been a difficult guy, which is the reason we went with Steck there in the eighth," Mattingly said. "They had their righties, and we knew their pinch-hitter had to be a righty. We had been using Steck in the ninth, but just the way their lineup was there, we kind of switched it around."
Jersey Shore's Pauly D threw out the ceremonial first pitch at Marlins Park
With just three base knocks, the Marlins managed their lowest hits total in a victory this season.

"It was definitely satisfying just finally getting a win against them. It seems every time we go against them, they're playing good baseball. Being able to go out there against them, Dan throwing up zeros, all the guys in the bullpen doing a really great job -- it was satisfying today." -- Anderson
Game 3 of the Marlins' four-game series with the Braves is Saturday at 7:10 p.m. ET as Players' Weekend continues. Miami sends left-hander Wei-Yin Chen (Weigh-In) to the mound against former Marlin Anibal Sanchez (Alejo). Chen is 1-1 with a 5.51 ERA in 16 1/3 innings against Atlanta, and he has a 2.05 ERA at home this season.

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.