Marlins reward Eovaldi in another rout of Braves
Ozuna, Yelich homer in rare support for righty, who allows just one run
MIAMI -- At last, Nathan Eovaldi was the beneficiary of a big windfall of run support. It was long overdue, but the Marlins right-hander will certainly take it.
Marcell Ozuna blasted a three-run homer, Christian Yelich tacked on a two-run shot and Miami rolled to a 9-3 win over Atlanta on Wednesday night at Marlins Park.
There was no letdown by the Marlins' bats after they blanked the Braves, 9-0, behind Jose Fernandez's eight shutout innings on Tuesday night.
Eovaldi gave up one run on three hits with five strikeouts in seven innings as he improved to 2-1 and lowered his ERA to 2.58.
"We feel so confident right now, and that's good," Miami manager Mike Redmond said. "We've been getting some great pitching and had some great at-bats and the focus and the energy. ... Guys are playing hard. Guys are running out balls. You could just see the energy; that's good. That's what we need."
The Marlins continue to be a night-and-day team depending on where they're playing. At home, they're now 11-4, compared to 2-10 on the road.
Overall, the team finished April at 13-14, and are far ahead of where they were in 2013, when they lost 100 games. In 2013, the Marlins didn't win their 13th game until they were 13-32 on May 20.
"I guess it would be an understatement to say it was a better feeling than last year," Redmond said. "When you see these games and play these guys, guys we brought in, we targeted for a reason. How fast is it going to come together?"
Casey McGehee added three hits, while Garrett Jones drove in two more runs as Miami piled it on Aaron Harang, who entered with a Major League-leading 0.85 ERA. Harang's ERA rose to 2.97.
A week ago at Atlanta, Miami dropped two of three, scoring four runs total in the series. Harang limited the Marlins to one run and he struck out 11 in six innings on April 23. In the first two games of this series at home, the Marlins have racked up 18 runs.
"Where were these guys last week?" Harang said. "They were way too comfortable. It seemed like they all hit like Ted Williams today."
Eovaldi came into Wednesday night with the distinction of having the lowest run support average among all active MLB starters. Since 2011, Eovaldi's run support has been 2.99 per game.
"The last few games we were hitting the ball well and scoring runs," Eovaldi said. "Pitching has been great. The energy has been awesome."
Harang, who hadn't worked less than six innings in any of his first five starts, was lifted after 4 2/3 innings, being charged with nine runs on 10 hits. He hadn't allowed a home run before yielding two on Wednesday.
Harang had given up just three runs in 31 2/3 innings heading into Wednesday night. The veteran right-hander allowed four in the second inning, including Ozuna's three-run, opposite-field drive to right.
The past few days, Ozuna has been frustrated by long fly balls to right field that were caught.
"I've hit a lot of balls there. Like yesterday, I hit two pop flies there," Ozuna said. "I was thinking the ball is going. Everybody, my teammates, were laughing. They were going, 'You need more lift.' I said, 'OK.' Today, I was thinking to the middle [of the field]. Home run."
McGehee got the rally started with a leadoff single, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia's double put runners on second and third. Jones delivered an RBI single to right, and on a 2-2 pitch, Ozuna connected on his fourth home run of the season. The drive landed in the Miami bullpen and it gave Ozuna five RBIs in the first two games of the series.
In the third inning, Miami cashed in on Giancarlo Stanton's leadoff double, as the slugger scored on Saltalamacchia's sacrifice fly to deep left.
The lead swelled to seven runs in the fourth inning on Yelich's two-run homer. And in the fifth inning, Miami tacked on two more runs, both charged to Harang. Jones lifted a sacrifice fly, and off reliever David Hale, Adeiny Hechavarria was credited with an RBI double on a hit that was overturned by review. Initially, second-base umpire Jimmy Reynolds called Hechavarria out. But, up by nine runs, the Marlins challenged, and the call was overturned.
Redmond has now won four of his five replay challenges.
After dropping two of three at Atlanta last week, the Marlins have now secured the series win, and they have the Braves' attention.
"We've got our butts whipped the past two nights, plain and simple," Atlanta third baseman Chris Johnson said. "There is no other way to describe it. We're getting beat in every aspect. It's not just Eovaldi and Fernandez. We're big league hitters. We should be able to [score] some runs against these guys. They're really, really good. But at some point, especially with them being in our division, we've got to try to figure them out."