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Dee's leadoff HR sends Marlins on their way

MLB.com @mlbbowman

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Dee Gordon's leadoff homer fueled the frustration R.A. Dickey experienced during a four-run first inning that propelled the Marlins to an 8-6 win over the Braves on Saturday afternoon at ESPN's Wide World of Sports complex.

Gordon got the Marlins rolling when he drilled a knuckleball over the right-field foul pole, and Destin Hood added to the early advantage when he hit a three-run home run off Ian Krol in the fifth inning. Brandon Barnes added to Miami's offensive effort with a pair of hits, including a third-inning RBI double off Dickey.

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Dee Gordon's leadoff homer fueled the frustration R.A. Dickey experienced during a four-run first inning that propelled the Marlins to an 8-6 win over the Braves on Saturday afternoon at ESPN's Wide World of Sports complex.

Gordon got the Marlins rolling when he drilled a knuckleball over the right-field foul pole, and Destin Hood added to the early advantage when he hit a three-run home run off Ian Krol in the fifth inning. Brandon Barnes added to Miami's offensive effort with a pair of hits, including a third-inning RBI double off Dickey.

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"He's got a nice little foundation under him right now," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said of Gordon's approach. "We just need to continue to build on it."

Making his second start of the Grapefruit League season, Dickey threw more fastballs than normal and didn't have a consistent feel for his knuckleball. The 42-year-old right-hander retired just eight of the 16 batters he faced over three innings. He allowed five runs, but three of them were deemed unearned after first baseman Matt Tuiasosopo was unable to pick a throw shortstop Dansby Swanson made after ranging to his right to field Barnes' two-out grounder in the first inning.

"I didn't get a lot of swings and misses today, which tells me I didn't have the finish I normally do or like I did [Monday against the Tigers], when I got eight or 10 swings and misses in two innings," Dickey said. "Today, I might have had one. That gives you some feedback. I didn't feel great today, so that's probably part of it. I wasn't finishing pitches, but I got through it."

After their starting pitcher Severino Gonzalez delivered two scoreless innings, the Marlins gained another encouraging look at Dillon Peters, a 24-year-old left-hander who ranks as the fifth-best prospect in Miami's system, per MLBPipeline.com. Peters completed his two scoreless innings of work by pitching around Freddie Freeman's fourth-inning leadoff double, Freeman's first extra-base hit of the spring.

Peters retired Nick Markakis at the end of a nine-pitch plate appearance with a soft flyout and then ended his day by striking out Adonis Garcia.

"I think we see a guy who is confident," Mattingly said of the left-hander. "He's on the attack out there. He doesn't look like a guy who is afraid at all. I've been hearing about him since last year."

The Braves made things interesting with a five-run seventh inning that began with Anthony Recker reaching on a dropped third strike. Freeman, who was playing in his final game before the World Baseball Classic, drove in a run as he beat out a potential double-play groundout, and Swanson contributed a two-run single off Jake Esch, who surrendered three hits and issued two walks while recording just two outs.

Marlins Up Next: The Marlins return to Roger Dean Stadium on Sunday to face the Astros at 1:05 p.m. ET. Wei-Yin Chen gets the start for the Marlins against Mike Fiers. Ichiro Suzuki is scheduled to be the designated hitter in his first Grapefruit League action.

Braves Up Next: Mike Foltynewicz will attempt to further secure the last available rotation spot when Atlanta travels to Fort Myers to play the Red Sox on Sunday at 1:05 p.m. ET live on MLB.TV. Backup catcher Kurt Suzuki will be behind the plate, but the Braves' position players will primarily be Minor Leaguers. Ronald Acuna and Austin Riley are among the top prospects who will make the trip.

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Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.