Mathis thwarts Schafer's steal attempt in ninth
Marlins catcher takes tying run off the bases with pivotal throw
ATLANTA -- The percentages called for Jordan Schafer to go. The throw from Jeff Mathis provided a crucial stop that cleared the way for the Marlins to hang on for a 6-5 win over the Braves on Tuesday night at Turner Field.
The game officially came to a close when closer Steve Cishek struck out pinch-hitter Ryan Doumit. But momentum swung in Miami's favor when Mathis threw out Schafer trying to swipe second with no outs in the ninth inning.
Chris Johnson singled to center to lead off the final frame, and the Braves set things in motion by pinch-running the swift Schafer, who was 15 of 16 in stolen-base attempts entering the game.
Cishek threw over to first four straight times, as the crowd booed and Andrelton Simmons waited at the plate.
On Cishek's first pitch to the plate, taken for a strike, Schafer was on his way to second. But Mathis made a strong throw. Shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria plucked the short-hopped throw, and Schafer slid directly into the tag.
"Stevie did a good job holding him at first," Mathis said. "We threw over four times there. That's why he's in the game, to try to take that bag. Stevie did a good job holding him, and Hech made a great play at second, picking the short hop, and putting the tag down. It was a big play."
Huge play. Cishek struck out Simmons, and the game ended on Doumit's swing and miss.
"Obviously, with Schafer, we knew he was running," Miami manager Mike Redmond said. "So we threw over there a few times. He was going right away, so we at least, maybe, bought ourselves a half a step, which ended up being enough to get him. Hech made a great pick, and tag."
Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said the attempt was the right call.
"You know what, I felt good," Gonzalez said. "That's what he does best. We felt that with Cishek on the mound, I think there have been five out of six stolen bases against him.
"You don't want to give up an out there and you've got Schafer sitting on the bench, you felt like you had a good chance stealing the base there. Mathis made a nice throw. It wasn't in the air, it was a one-hopper, but that's almost better really and we didn't steal it."