Marlins substitute Justin Bour saved the team from amplified humiliation Sunday.
It was bad enough that the team saw well-liked manager Mike Redmond and bench coach Rob Leary fired after a 6-0 loss to Atlanta at Marlins Park. The Marlins also teetered one out from being no-hit by Braves right-hander Shelby Miller before Bour’s single up the middle on the first pitch of his ninth-inning at-bat.
“All Shelby’s stuff was working good [Sunday],” Bour said. “I was just looking for that first pitch that I could do something with. He carved me up pretty good that first at-bat [a flyout to shallow left field]. I just took advantage of a fastball on that last at-bat.”
Second baseman Dee Gordon followed with an infield hit before Martin Prado’s flyout ended Miller’s complete game with two hits allowed and four strikeouts. Before the ninth, only a second-inning walk to Marlins center fielder Marcell Ozuna besmirched a perfect game. Miller (5-1, 1.33 ERA) struck out Christian Yelich, then got Michael Morse to ground into an inning-ending double play.
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Marlins losing starter Henderson Alvarez (0-3, 6.23) came the closest to getting a hit off Miller in the third inning after a five-run Braves second inning didn’t get Alvarez yanked. After all, Alvarez actually had a hit off Miller for about 3 minutes and 5 seconds.
That’s how long it took for the umpires to reverse the original safe call after former Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez’s challenge.
Alvarez’s blooper barely bounced on the infield grass before Braves shortstop Pedro Ciriaco scooped and fired to first. Even on the replay, it looked as if Alvarez’s foot reached the base at least at the same time that the ball settled into first baseman Freddie Freeman’s glove.
“I wasn’t sure,” Alvarez said through an interpreter. “They obviously had a better view of it on the replay. It was close.”
In the seventh inning, Marlins right fielder Giancarlo Stanton blasted a 2-2 pitch toward the electronic scoreboard in left-center field. What would have been a home run in several major-league parks turned into a highlight for left fielder Todd Cunningham, who raced back for a one-handed grab near the wall, like a baseball version of Mark Duper.
In his first start since coming off the disabled list, Alvarez flew through the first inning, similar to the way Miller blew through the Marlins all day. During Alvarez’s second inning, however, he suddenly looked late for a conditioning stint in Jupiter.
A Nick Markakis single, a Cunningham single and an A.J. Pierzynski double put the Braves up 1-0. Ciriaco’s sacrifice fly brought in one more run. A walk to Cameron Maybin and a Jace Peterson single produced two more runs. Freeman’s RBI single followed Alvarez snapping up Phil Gosselin’s shot back through the box, then dropping it to keep the inning going.
Alvarez went 51/3 innings, threw 85 pitches, gave up nine hits, six runs (all earned), struck out two and walked two.
“I felt off a little at the beginning. I had trouble with my control with the fastball,” Alvarez said. “Once I got settled down in the third inning, I felt in control going forward.”
▪ Monday: Arizona Diamondbacks RHP Rubby De La Rosa (4-2, 4.50 ERA) at Marlins RHP Dan Haren (4-2, 3.70), 7:10 p.m., Marlins Park.