MIAMI -- The Braves have dominated the season series, but the Marlins are still trying to make their National League East rival's path to the postseason a little more complicated.Wei-Yin Chen (Weigh-in) struck out a season-high 10 over six scoreless innings and Brian Anderson (Andy) belted a pinch-hit, two-run homer
MIAMI -- The Braves have dominated the season series, but the Marlins are still trying to make their National League East rival's path to the postseason a little more complicated.
Wei-Yin Chen (Weigh-in) struck out a season-high 10 over six scoreless innings and Brian Anderson (Andy) belted a pinch-hit, two-run homer that powered Miami to a 3-1 victory over Atlanta on Saturday night at Marlins Park as Players' Weekend resumed.
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"[Chen] kind of kept those guys in check," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "He had a little bit of traffic, but he made pitches when he needed to. Really, that extra inning [in the sixth] late, we kind of went in a different direction. It was big for us."
After dropping Thursday's series opener, the Marlins have won back-to-back games to prevent the division-leading Braves from extending their cushion over the Phillies.
The Braves lead the season series, 13-5, but the Marlins are in position to take three of four with Sunday's series finale.
On Friday night, Starlin Castro (All Starlin) was given a day off from starting. On Saturday, it was Anderson's turn. But the rookie was used in the seventh, when he delivered his first career pinch-hit home run, which came off Chad Sobotka.
A National League Rookie of the Year Award candidate, Anderson connected on his 10th homer of the season. Statcast™ projected it at 415 feet, with an exit velocity of 106 mph.
"I think it's just kind of a reset," Anderson said of not starting. "It helps your body kind of get back underneath you, you get your legs back underneath you. Just kind of relax for a day. If you get that one at-bat, get a good at-bat. The pressure is more on the pitcher. Just having a good, quality at-bat."
Mattingly noted that Anderson, Castro and catcher J.T. Realmuto (Real) have been the primary starters playing pretty much every day this season.
"Just giving them a little bit of a break," Mattingly said. "Andy and Starlin have really been the guys, day in, day out, with J.T., who is a catcher and is going to get a day here and there. It was a matter of just getting him a day. He not having to be in the cage. Just the mental part."
Chen's strong performance lowered his home ERA to 1.86 for the season, compared to 9.35 on the road.
For the third time in his career, Chen reached double digits in strikeouts. His personal high is 12, set twice -- on May 11, 2016, against the Brewers and on July 29, 2012, against the A's.
The 33-year-old left-hander's previous season high was eight on July 13 against the Phillies.
The way the Braves have effectively hit the fastball, Chen mixed in 29 sliders to go with 59 four-seam fastballs. That fastball was his best pitch, and he got 13 swinging strikes with his four-seamer.
Chen was lifted after a season-high 109 pitches, one more than he logged on Aug. 12 against the Mets.
"I think they're a real good hitting team, so you need all your pitches to upset their timing," Chen said via his interpreter. "We've been facing each other for several times. You need everything you have to go against them.
"I communicated with J.T. before the game. We had our game strategy. I was able to execute the pitches. I was able to get double-digit strikeouts tonight."
In the ninth inning, Dansby Swanson (Dans) homered off Drew Steckenrider (Steckasaurus), who recorded the save. Swanson's home run snapped a string of 21 consecutive innings without Miami allowing a run to Atlanta in the series.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Adam Conley (ACon) took over in the seventh inning protecting a one-run lead. Freddie Freeman (Andrew) singled with two outs, but after Austin Dean dove and missed for the ball in left field, Freeman gambled and tried to stretch the hit into a double. Dean was able to recover and throw Freeman out at second base, ending the inning.
"You're basically saying, 'Don't dive. Don't dive.'" Mattingly said. "You don't want to allow the guy to get to second on a single. But you take the out. … It's an aggressive play. It was a good time to try it. The ball is on the ground, it gets away. You take a shot. It was obviously a big out for us."
Realmuto snapped an 0-for-16 skid with his first-inning single. He later broke a scoreless deadlock in the sixth with his sacrifice fly off Anibal Sanchez (Alejo) that followed Rafael Ortega's triple.
HE SAID IT
"There's always the noise in the background that you hear about different stuff like that. But at the same time, it's not something I can control. I try not to put too much thought into it. You kind of know in the back of your mind where you're at in those. My focus every day is getting better and to help my team win."
-- Anderson, on Rookie of the Year Award talk. Braves outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. (Sabanero Soy) went 2-for-4 with a double a walk.
Low back tightness landed reliever Kyle Barraclough (Claw) on the disabled list on Aug. 10. The right-hander returned to action in the eighth inning, and he was impressive. Barraclough allowed a one-out single to Kurt Suzuki (Zuk), but he ended any threat by striking out Ender Inciarte (Game Ender).
"He looked good," Mattingly said. "He was attacking the strike zone. He was aggressive. Threw a couple of good breaking balls. He threw a good change to Inciarte. It was good to get him back out there. That kind of extends our 'pen in the late innings. Somebody is going to get a break every night. It's good to have him back."
The Marlins conclude their season series with the Braves at 1:10 p.m. ET on Sunday. Rookie Pablo Lopez (Pache) makes his 10th big league start, seeking to even his record at 3-3. He gave up six runs (five earned) in 5 1/3 innings in a recent loss at Atlanta. Kevin Gausman (Gausy) starts for the Braves.
Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.