ATLANTA -- The Marlins won the lottery on Wednesday. But they failed to hit the jackpot when their three-game winning streak came to a halt with a 6-1 loss to the Braves.
Hours after having their name drawn first in the Competitive Balance Lottery, which gives them the top compensatory pick in next year’s amateur draft, the Marlins came up short at Turner Field in what was their 100th game.
The Braves got to Nathan Eovaldi early, scoring five runs in the first two innings, and held on from there to ruin any thoughts the Marlins might have had of sweeping the four-game series.
After taking the first two games, the Marlins fell behind quickly and never recovered. Freddie Freeman, who had only two hits in his first 45 at-bats against the Marlins this season, came through big for the Braves on the 46th, belting a three-run homer off Eovaldi in the second.
“He’s always a threat up there, regardless of how he’s been swinging against us,” Eovaldi said.
That pretty much took care of matters, leaving it to Braves pitcher Ervin Santana to keep the Marlins at a safe distance, which he was successful in doing.
Other than a run in the second, an inning in which the Marlins might have done more damage had Adeiny Hechavarria not committed a costly base-running gaffe and been thrown out easily while attempting to stretch his single, they did little else at the plate.
Santana struck out 10 in 7 1/3 innings, and the Marlins fanned 14 times total. The heart of the order for the Marlins — their third through sixth hitters — accounted for 10 of the whiffs while Casey McGehee was held without a hit for the second consecutive game — something that has happened only four previous times to him this season. He’s yet to endure a three-game drought without a hit.
But it was Eovaldi on whom the largest blame finger pointed.
Taking the mound for the first time since getting his pounded in a loss to San Francisco, one in which the Giants chased him after scoring eight runs in only four innings, Eovaldi’s miseries continued against Atlanta.
And it didn’t take long.
B.J. Upton whacked Eovaldi’s first pitch of the game for a double, advanced to third on a bunt, and scored two batters later on brother Justin Upton’s sacrifice fly.
Matters only worsened for Eovaldi in the second, as the Braves scored four runs, all with two outs. Tommy La Stella made it 2-0 with his RBI single, followed by Freeman’s three-run shot to left-center. Freeman walked his first trip to the plate.
“The first at-bat I stayed away from him, trying to be careful,” Evoaldi said. “I threw him a couple of curve balls. That second at-bat, I threw him curve balls again and he hit that pitch.”
Eovaldi clicked after that.
After Freeman’s homer, Eovaldi didn’t allow another hit over the next five innings. The only Braves to reach base after Freeman’s blast were Justin Upton, who walked, and Gerald Laird, who was hit by a pitch.
“If he’s going to win at the big-league level, he’s got to eliminate those big innings,” said Marlins manager Mike Redmond. “He’s had a tough time with that.”
The Braves scored their final run in the eighth following Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s throwing error on Jason Heyward’s stolen base. Saltalamacchia’s 12 errors are tied for most in the majors among catchers.
Later in the inning, Redmond was ejected for the third time this season for arguing with third base umpire Alan Porter after the Marlins botched a rundown with Heyward between third and home. Though replays indicated otherwise, Redmond contended Heyward ran out of the base line to elude a tag.
“I was probably more frustrated we didn’t get an out in that situation more than anything,” Redmond said.
The Marlins reached the 100-game mark with a record of 47-53, an improvement over last year’s record of 38-62 at the same point.