Marlins, Braves open series in Dixie

The Atlanta Braves and Miami Marlins will meet six times over the next nine games, starting with Tuesday's opener of a three-game series from Turner Field.

The NL East-leading Braves swept a three-game set in Miami back in early April and are 17 1/2 games ahead of the last-place Marlins in the division. Atlanta has won the last seven meetings with the Marlins, who went 4-14 in this series a season ago.

Atlanta is coming off a weekend sweep of the Arizona Diamondbacks and recorded a 6-2 win in Sunday's finale behind home runs from Freddie Freeman, Brian McCann and Dan Uggla. Freeman ended with three RBI to back starting pitcher Paul Maholm, who fired 6 2/3 innings of two-run ball for the win.

"Today was a good day, we finally put some runs across," Uggla said. "You can't ever pick and choose when you're gonna score runs. You've got to grind out at-bats, you've got to battle."

The Braves are 44-9 in games where they hit a home run, compared to 4-25 in games when they don't. They're also 28-11 as the host and 8-1-4 in 13 home series.

Winners in five of the last six games, the Braves will start a stretch of nine consecutive games against NL West inhabitants and hope Kris Medlen can stay on track when he takes the mound Tuesday. Medlen has won two straight and four of five starts, and allowed three runs in seven innings of a 4-3 win at Kansas City last Tuesday.

Medlen, a right-hander, pushed his record to 5-7 in 16 starts to go along with a 3.02 earned run average. He defeated Miami on April 9 at Marlins Park and is 3-1 with a 2.42 ERA in 16 games (6 starts) lifetime against the Marlins.

The Marlins will play six in a row on the road against the Braves and St. Louis Cardinals, and went 5-1 on their homestand.

Miami won the last three meetings of four versus the San Diego Padres and recorded a 4-0 win Monday behind Jose Fernandez, who tossed eight shutout innings and struck out 10 batters.

"I just wanted to go out there. I like to compete," Fernandez said. "It just feels amazing to be a part of the win. Right now, it's fun. Coming here every day, it's amazing. I'm enjoying every little bit of it."

Jeff Mathis drove in three runs and Marcell Ozuna had the other RBI, helping Miami to its eighth win in 10 tries.

Tom Koehler gets the nod for the Marlins on Tuesday and he is just 1-5 with a 4.78 ERA in 15 games (9 starts) this season. Koehler previously toed the rubber in last Wednesday's 5-3 win versus Minnesota and did not record a decision, allowing three runs in four innings.

The right-hander will make his first career start against the Braves and has no record or ERA in three relief appearances (4 innings).