A rough fourth inning sets stage for Marlins’ loss to Braves in Game 1 of doubleheader

·3 min read

A frustrating fourth inning hampered Jesus Luzardo’s outing and paved the way for another Miami Marlins loss.

The left-handed pitcher gave up three runs in that decisive inning and only made it through five innings overall in Miami’s 5-2 loss on Saturday in the first game of a doubleheader against the Atlanta Braves at loanDepot park. The Marlins, who have scored three runs or fewer in all 11 games they have played so far in August and 13 consecutive games overall, fall to 50-63. Atlanta improves to 68-46.

After needing just 40 pitches to get through three shutout innings and only allowing two hits in that span, Luzardo needing 31 pitches to get through the fourth.

The Braves loaded the bases with one out after getting three singles from Austin Riley, William Contreras and Robbie Grossman to put Luzardo into a jam.

Vaughn Grissom hit a ground ball to third baseman Charles Leblanc, who threw out Riley at home for the second out of the frame, but Luzardo then walked Michael Harris II on a full count to force in the first run of the frame before Chadwick Tromp sent a changeup below the strike zone to left field for a double — his second double of the game — to drive in two more runs.

“The walk with the bases loaded ... I had the chance to get out of it there,” Luzardo said. “Unacceptable. Even the pitch to Tromp wasn’t necessarily a bad pitch in my opinion. Just didn’t go my way.”

Matt Olson then hit a solo home run in the fifth inning. The Braves added an insurance run on a Tromp single in the eighth against Richard Bleier.

It was just the third time in eight starts this season Luzardo has allowed more than two earned runs in a start.

Jesus Aguilar hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the fourth inning — his 14th of the season — to account for all of Miami’s offense in the first game of the doubleheader.

Other scoring chances after that came up empty.

In the fifth, the Marlins had runners on the corners with no outs when Leblanc hit a leadoff single, stole second and reached third on a throwing error before Peyton Burdick drew a walk. Luke Williams then hit a line drive to third baseman Austin Riley, who threw to first to double up Burdick, and Jon Berti grounded out to strand Leblanc.

Marlins manager Don Mattingly said they “kind of shot ourselves in the foot” that inning.

“The guy at third follows his principles,” Mattingly said. “The guy at first doesn’t. That’s what you get when you get young guys being aggressive and they want to go do something.”

In the sixth, Garrett Cooper hit a one-out single and Aguilar followed with a walk before JJ Bleday hit into an inning-ending double play.

And then Joey Wendle was thrown out by Ronald Acuna Jr. in the eighth trying to turn a leadoff single into a double.

“Joey plays aggressive,” Mattingly said. “For me, it’s one that you’re down three. You play the scoreboard a little bit.”

Leblanc’s single extends his streak of consecutive games reaching base to begin his MLB career to 12 games. It’s the third-longest streak by a Marlins player to begin his career in games in which the player has at least one plate appearance, trailing only Derek Dietrich (14 games) and Kevin Millar (17 games)