Adeiny Hechavarria has never heard of Joe Namath.
But the 24-year-old shortstop from Cuba made an upset prediction that, while not of Namath proportions, proved prophetic. The Marlins ended Atlanta’s 14-game winning streak with a 1-0 victory.
“When we got here, some of the guys talked about how good this team was playing,” Hechavarria said of the first-place Braves. “And I said, ‘That streak will come to an end.’ ”
And Hechavarria was a major reason why.
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With the teams deadlocked in a scoreless game, Hechavarria opened the ninth with a triple and raced home on Braves reliever Jordan Walden’s wild pitch. The victory ended a six-game losing streak for the Marlins.
“That’s Fish ‘style’ right there,” deadpanned manager Mike Redmond after the Marlins pulled out the win despite totaling only three hits.
The Marlins received another outstanding pitching performance from starter Nathan Eovaldi, who held the Braves to one hit — a first-inning single — over seven innings.
“These guys were red-hot, so I knew we’d need a great performance to keep us in the game,” Redmond said of Eovaldi’s outing.
Eovaldi gave up a two-out single in the first to Freddie Freeman, after which the rains came and produced a 54-minute rain delay. When play resumed, Eovaldi said he was even better than before.
“I felt the rain delay was good for me,” Eovaldi said. “I felt like I was fighting myself the first inning and in the bullpen. After the rain delay, I felt a lot more composed, and I felt like I was driving the ball a lot better.”
Eovaldi struck out eight while walking three.
Once again, however, he was the victim of poor run support — actually, no run support.
The Marlins on Saturday did not score for the pitcher during the time he was on the mound, something that is becoming all too common for him.
The Marlins failed to score for Eovaldi in any of his previous four starts. Despite a ridiculously low 1.09 ERA during that span, he has no victories to show for his excellence.
“I think every team has a guy they don’t score runs for,” Redmond said. “Unfortunately for him, he’s the guy [on the Marlins] this year.”
Truth be told, the Marlins don’t score many runs for any of their pitchers, and it appeared they would come up completely empty for a second consecutive night when Braves starter Alex Wood held them in check for six innings.
But Hechavarria got the fastball he was waiting for from Walden in the ninth and ripped it into the gap in left-center, sliding into third with his sixth triple. Four pitches later, he crossed the plate on Walden’s wild pitch.
Steve Cishek worked the ninth for his 24th save to preserve the victory.
On a night in which slumping Marlin slugger Giancarlo Stanton was taken out of the lineup with the idea that the one-game mental break would do him good, no one else on the Marlins stepped up to fill the void until Hechavarria came through late.
The Marlins produced all of two hits — both singles — before Hechavarria’s triple.
As an indication of how badly things have been going for Stanton, his replacement in right field was Justin Ruggiano, who had gone hitless in his previous 38 at-bats entering the game.
Ruggiano extended the drought to 41 hitless at-bats with an 0-for-3 night.
The single-season, major-league record for consecutive hitless at-bats is 45, shared by Bill Bergen (1909) and Craig Counsell (2011).
Ruggiano was far from the only Marlin to flail Saturday.
Outside of Christian Yelich, who extended his hitting streak to 10 games with a leadoff single in the first, and Jeff Mathis, who singled in the fifth, the Marlins were once again flat at the plate.
But the Braves didn’t do any better, also totaling only three hits.