Atlanta, GA – Justin Ruggiano had a three-run home run and Ricky Nolasco threw seven solid innings as the Miami Marlins defeated the Atlanta Braves, 6-3, in the middle test of a three-game set.
Nolasco (5-8) allowed two runs on six hits while fanning seven, including his 1,000th career strikeout. The 30-year-old right-hander is the all-time franchise leader in games started, innings, wins, losses and strikeouts.
"Obviously the Braves have had a lot of success against me," said Nolasco, who entered the contest 4-10 liftime against Atlanta. "Here and there I've pitched well against them, but I was able to maintain the bats a little bit better today."
Jeff Mathis drove in two runs and Adeiny Hechavarria had an RBI for the Marlins, who have won seven of their last nine games.
Brian McCann had a home run while Andrelton Simmons and Chris Johnson drove in one run apiece for the Braves, who had a four-game winning streak snapped.
Mike Minor (8-4) had nine strikeouts, but allowed four runs on six hits and three walks in six frames. He has not earned a win since June 9 against the Dodgers.
The Braves scored early. B.J. Upton hit an infield single to start the third, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Minor and Andrelton Simmons singled to right, plating Upton.
An inning later, Brian McCann hammered his 10th home run of the season.
However, Ruggiano's three-run homer in the fifth gave the Marlins the lead. Donovan Solano had a leadoff double and advanced on a wild pitch by Minor. Nolasco drew a walk with two outs, setting up Ruggiano's blast.
"A two out walk to the pitcher. Always seems to (get you in trouble)," said Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez. "If it's not in the rule book it should be written in the rule book."
The Marlins added one run in the sixth. Placido Polanco singled up the middle and scored on a two-out double to right by Hechavarria.
Atlanta had a chance to come back in the home half. Freddie Freeman knocked a two-out single and advanced to third on a poor pickoff attempt by Mathis. However, McCann struck out to end the frame and gave Nolasco his 1,000th career strikeout.
In the eighth, Solano was hit a by a pitch by Atlanta reliever Cory Gearrin and Hechavarria singled to right. Mathis then ripped a double to right, scoring them both.
Mike Dunn pitched in the ninth for Miami. On his first pitch, he gave up a single to Freeman. Two batters later, he allowed a single by Dan Uggla, before being replaced by Steve Cishek.
Cishek struck out B.J. Upton before surrendering an RBI single up the middle to Johnson. He then got pinch-hitter Tyler Pastornicky to ground out towards him to notch his 16th save.
All 12 of Ruggiano's home runs have come on the road. That is tied with Derrek Lee and Jose Cruz Sr. for the most consecutive road home runs to begin a season all-time ... Mathis is on a five-game multi-RBI streak, driving in 13 runs over the stretch... McCann has reached 10 home runs for the eighth time in nine MLB seasons. He is the seventh catcher in MLB history to do that.