After consecutive losing starts and fan talk of demotion to the minors, rookie Randall Delgado struck out a career-high seven batters and earned his first RBI in 6 1/3 innings to help the Atlanta Braves beat the Miami Marlins 2-1.
Delgado (4-5) stepped on the mound Wednesday night after three straight starts of failing to complete six innings and allowing at least three runs. In his last 14 2/3 innings, the Braves rookie gave up 11 runs on 16 hits and 11 walks. Delgado’s struggles were so apparent that his position in the starting rotation was pushed back and he was pitching on seven days of rest. Fortunately, the 22-year-old was facing the Marlins who we was previously 1-0 against with a 0.90 ERA in two starts.
Before Delgado was pulled by manager Fredi Gonzalez, the Braves right-hander took a no-hitter into the bottom of the fifth inning before Giancarlo Stanton, last month’s NL Player of the Month, doubled to left field. Delgado only needed 80 pitches to secure his second win in his last nine starts and lower his season ERA to 4.26. Although Delgado’s pitching was key in the Braves win, Gonzalez’s batting strategy was also important.
For the second night in a row, the Braves starting pitchers were placed in the eighth spot in the order and in both games they made Gonzalez look like a genius. Tuesday’s starter Tim Hudson scored two base runners while Delgado got an RBI thanks to a hit-and-run strategy implemented in the fourth of Wednesday’s ball game.
Despite the Marlins’ abysmal play during this series, Miami’s ace Josh Johnson (3-4) has been the only beacon of light. On Wednesday night, Johnson struck out nine Braves and was recorded throwing 96 mph several times while pitching a season-high 7 2/3 innings. However, Johnson’s effort was not matched by his teammates as they only manufactured one run off of a two-out single from Bryan Peterson to score Stanton in the fifth inning.
Although Johnson did not not earn a win in his 12th start of the season, Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen was pleased with his pitcher’s performance.
“The good thing out of all this is the way J.J. threw the ball,” Guillen told the Associated Press. “That’s a step forward. That’s the first time I’ve seen him throw the ball like that. His velocity and command were a lot better.”
During the first few months of the season, Johnson’s outings could only be described as “erratic.” However, the Minneapolis native’s record over his last five starts is 3-0 with a 3.09 ERA. Entering the game, Johnson had a career 2.29 ERA in 16 starts appearances against Atlanta and kept the two Braves with the most experienced against him, Brian McCann and Martin Prado, to a combined 9-51. Unfortunately, McCann refused to be outmatched by Johnson in this game and had three hits and scored a run off of a Freddie Freeman single in the fourth inning.
This win marks the fifth victory in the last six games for Atlanta and their first series win in the Marlins’ new ballpark. On Thursday night, the Braves will send Mike Minor (2-4) to the hill to face Mark Buerhle before heading home to start a nine-game home stand.
About the Author
Written by Jourdan Shepard
New York born. New Jersey bred. Earned my degree on a Georgia clay hill. "Rooting for my rival is like wanting the house to win in blackjack...."