The way Jarred Cosart has pitched lately, he really hasn’t needed much in the way of run support.
Friday night, though, the Marlins gave him more than enough.
Everyone in the starting lineup — including Cosart — had at least one hit, and every position player except Christian Yelich drove in a run as Miami pounded Atlanta 11-3 in front of 19,951 at Marlins Park.
“I hope the Marlins got all their hits out of the way,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “We left a lot of pitches over the middle of the plate and they capitalized.”
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Still clinging to slim wild-card hopes with a little more than three weeks left in the regular season, the Marlins (68-71) produced a season-high 18 hits. Donovan Solano and Marcell Ozuna each matched career highs with four hits each. Solano scored three runs and Ozuna drove in four.
“We worked a little slowly in that last series versus the Mets,” Ozuna said. “Now we turned it around, we’re together and had a good offense.”
Cosart, who shut out the Braves for seven innings last Saturday, gave up a leadoff home run to Freddie Freeman in the seventh to end a string of 14 consecutive scoreless innings. But that — and a pair of meaningless runs in the eighth — hardly put a dent into another Cosart quality start.
He gave up five hits, one walk and struck out six on 101 pitches over 7 2/3 innings.
“Everything was going pretty well as far as all three pitches [fastball, curveball, changeup],” Cosart said. “I think I got a little bit too much in the same sequence there at the end. Freeman, I’ve been kind of doing the same thing to him the last six at-bats. That’s a credit to him. If you’re going to take me opposite field in our ballpark, that’s a pretty good shot.”
Since being acquired at the trade deadline from Houston, Cosart has been a revelation. After losing his first Marlins start against Cincinnati, he has gone 4-0 and allowed only five earned runs (he gave up three Friday) over his past five starts, a string of 35 1/3 innings (1.27 ERA).
Still, he wasn’t happy he couldn’t finish the game Friday.
“I’ve come out the same way the last three games, so it’s kind of wearing on me a little bit,” said Cosart, who has pitched into the eighth inning his past three starts but hasn’t been able to close it out. “[Pitching coach] Chuck [Hernandez] thinks I’m trying to get ahead of myself a little bit because I want to finish the game and all that. So I’ve got to work on taking it one pitch at a time when I get to that point.”
After Cosart set the Braves down with ease in the top of the first, the Marlins quickly went to work on Braves starter Aaron Harang. Four first-inning hits, which began with a leadoff double by Yelich, led to a pair of early runs.
Casey McGehee picked up his 66th RBI of the season with a line drive to center before Ozuna drove in another run with a liner just like McGehee’s.
Miami scored six of its first seven runs with two-out hits. Justin Bour, making his first career start at first base, and Ozuna had back-to-back RBI doubles in the third to make it 4-0.
Giancarlo Stanton then sent Harang to the showers early when he stroked a two-out, two-run double to center in the fourth to make it 6-0. The RBI were Nos. 103 and 104 for Stanton, who finished with two hits and now stands two shy of 400 career RBI.
The Marlins have 23 games left on the schedule and their next six are against two teams they are chasing in the wild-card race — Atlanta (two remaining this weekend) and Milwaukee (four games beginning on Monday).
The Marlins entered the day five games back for the final wild-card spot with the Brewers, Braves and Pirates all ahead of them.
“We’re at a point where we got to win games – period,” Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. “We’ll enjoy this one for another hour or so and then we’ll be ready for [Saturday]. That’s the way we approach this win. [Saturday] we’ll come focused on what we need to do to beat another good pitcher and a great team.”