Miami Marlins

Struggling Miami Marlins lose to Braves, drop fifth in a row

Logan Morrison was caught napping at second. Adeiny Hechavarria had a ground ball scoot through his legs. Henderson Alvarez whipped a throw past his first baseman.

It was a night of miscues — some more costly than others — for the Marlins, who dropped their fifth in a row with a 6-4 loss to the Atlanta Braves on Tuesday.

July isn’t going as well for the Marlins as June did, and they are reversing direction in the standings after picking up a bit of ground one month earlier. They are 3-6 this month and all but staggering to get to the All-Star break.

“I think it’ll be good for everybody to go out there and clear their minds and relax, and prepare for a big second-half push,” manager Mike Redmond said.

Even though the Marlins are mired in their longest losing streak since dropping nine in a row at the end of May, they have dropped several close games, including a pair of one-run losses to the Cardinals and a 14-inning defeat Monday.

Still, they’re making the sorts of sloppy mistakes they were avoiding while going 15-10 in June.

Morrison, for example, cost the Marlins a run when Braves starter Julio Teheran picked him off second base in the second. Though the Marlins were able to produce three runs in the inning on Rob Brantly’s first home run of the season, it could have been an even more explosive inning if not for Morrison’s gaffe.

Alvarez, who was making his second start of the season — and second against the Braves in a matter of days — couldn’t keep the Braves off the bases. He ended up allowing eight hits and walked four in six innings.

The Upton brothers — Justin and B.J. — have been struggling but gave him all kinds of fits. Justin Upton smacked a pair of doubles off Alvarez before crushing a home run off Ryan Webb, and B.J. Upton (whose .173 batting average entering the game was the lowest of any qualifying hitter in the majors) came up with a pair of hits and sacrifice fly.

With the score tied 4-4 in the sixth, though, Alvarez hurt himself greatly when he fielded a swinging bunt by Teheran. Alvarez slung his throw by Morrison at first, and B.J. Upton raced home from second with the go-ahead run.

Justin Upton made it 6-4 in the seventh when he greeted Webb with a towering solo blast to left-center. It was his 16th home run.

Along the way, Hechavarria had a routine ground ball go between his legs when he lifted his glove too soon.

After being charged with only four errors in his first 77 games, Hechavarria has made three in the past 12.

After Brantly’s home run — his first this season in 175 at-bats — and Morrison’s RBI single in the third, the Marlins could do little offensively against Teheran, who improved to 7-4.

The 22-year-old Colombian gave up just two more hits after Morrison’s run-scoring single and pitched into the eighth. Only one of the four runs he gave up was earned.

Braves closer Craig Kimbrel worked the ninth for his 24th save.

Related stories from Miami Herald