Miami Marlins

Defense steps up for Marlins in series-splitting win over Braves

Miami Marlins shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria fields the ball in the first inning as the Miami Marlins host the Atlanta Braves at Marlins Park on Wed., June 22, 2016
Miami Marlins shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria fields the ball in the first inning as the Miami Marlins host the Atlanta Braves at Marlins Park on Wed., June 22, 2016 adiaz@miamiherald.com

Derek Dietrich chased a high pop-up behind the second-base bag during the second inning Wednesday against the Braves.

As he crept into shallow center field, the Marlins’ second baseman tracked the ball — as well as two teammates also heading in on the play — and made a running grab for the inning-ending out.

It was the first of a handful of key defensive plays the Marlins made Wednesday in their 3-0 win over the Braves to split the two-game series.

In addition to Dietrich’s play, the Marlins turned an inning-ending double play in the fourth and Ichiro Suzuki also made a sliding grab on his knees in right field to get the Marlins out of the fifth.

With two outs in the seventh and a runner on first, shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria made a diving grab at a hard-hit ground ball and made the quick flick to Dietrich to end any chance of a scoring threat.

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“You’re seeing the characteristics of the style of defense we’re playing. … That’s just kind of the club that we have,” starting pitcher Adam Conley said. “When we pitch (well), we can definitely win ballgames. We can definitely defend and on paper - I think I’ve said it 100 times this year — it’s a dangerous lineup. So if we put those pieces together, we’re going to win a lot of ballgames.”

Over the last 22 games, the Marlins have committed just three defensive errors, the fewest in Major League Baseball over that span.

“We’ve been solid defensively,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “We got a key double play there early. Dietrich made a play in center. Hech made a play. We got the outs we needed. That’s always going to be important.”

Miami Marlins pitcher Adam Conley threw eight scoreless innings in a 3-0 shutout win over the Atlanta Braves on Wed., June 22, 2016.

STANTON SITS

Right fielder Giancarlo Stanton was not in the starting lineup Wednesday for the first time since returning from a side injury on June 1.

After going into his second major slump of the season over the past month, Stanton has begun to turn his game around since the Marlins began their homestand. After posting a meager 5-for-41 clip in the month of June before returning to Marlins Park last week, he batted .500 (8-for-16) with a home run and three RBI in the four-game series against the Rockies. Stanton went 0-for-5 with a pair of strikeouts in Tuesday’s extra-inning loss to the Braves.

Miami Marlins manager Don Mattingly addresses the media following a 3-0 victory over the Atlanta Braves on Wed., June 22, 2016.

DRAFTEES START TO SIGN

The Marlins announced Wednesday that 25 of its 39 draftees — along with a pair of undrafted free agents — have signed to be part of the organization.

Six of the Marlins’ nine selections from the first 10 rounds of the 40-round draft are signed.

Fourth-round pick Sean Reynolds — a right fielder from Redondo Union High in California — is the Marlins’ highest drafted player to sign thus far.

The Marlins’ top two selections — first-round left-handed pitcher Braxton Garrett (Florence High School) and third-round center fielder Thomas Jones (Laurens District 55 High School) — remain unsigned, along with sixth-rounder Remey Reed, who is playing in the College World Series with Oklahoma State.

The deadline for amateur draft picks to sign is July 15.

COMING UP

Thursday: Marlins LHP Wei-Yin Chen (4-2, 5.22 ERA) vs. Cubs LHP Jon Lester (9-3, 2.06 ERA), 7:10 p.m., Marlins Park

Friday: Marlins RHP Tom Koehler (6-6, 3.92 ERA) vs. Cubs RHP Kyle Hendricks (5-6, 2.94 ERA), 7:10 p.m., Marlins Park

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