While the Atlanta Braves are starting to heat up again, the Miami Marlins are quickly fading.
The Braves try to add to the Marlins’ woes as these NL East foes continue a three-game set Saturday night at Turner Field.
Atlanta (71-64) has followed a three-game losing streak with three straight wins after taking Friday’s opener 5-2. Justin Upton went 2 for 4 with a homer and three RBI for the Braves, who are just behind San Francisco and St. Louis for the top two spots in the wild-card standings.
"We’re going to have to do that if we’re going to win," said Upton, whose team has won 10 of 14. "Every night’s not going to be a three-run homer. We’re going to have to find ways to scratch runs across. We did that tonight."
The slumping Marlins (65-68) dropped five games behind Atlanta with their third straight loss and fifth in six games. Jordany Valdespin delivered a pinch-hit home run and Marcell Ozuna collected three of Miami’s seven hits.
The Marlins have hit .206 with 30 strikeouts while being outscored 19-5 in their last three games.
"When you talk about winning games this time of year, you’ve got to make plays," manager Mike Redmond said. "The team that makes plays and gets big hits wins ball games."
Miami’s Jarred Cosart (2-1, 2.08 ERA) is set to make his fifth start since coming over from Houston in a six-player trade July 31. The right-hander is 2-0 with a 0.87 ERA in his last three after winning 7-1 at Angel Stadium on Monday.
Cosart yielded one run over 7 2/3 innings, improving to 5-0 with a 3.19 ERA over a six-start stretch on the road. He threw seven innings of one-run ball to beat the Braves on June 26 in his lone appearance against them.
Atlanta counters with Aaron Harang (10-8, 3.60), who is 1-2 with a 6.00 ERA in his last three outings. He was tagged for four runs over 5 1/3 innings in Sunday’s 5-3 loss at Cincinnati.
Harang has already faced the Marlins four times this year, going 0-1 with a 5.18 ERA. He allowed one or two runs in three of those outings but a career high-tying nine over 4 2/3 innings in the other.
Ozuna is 4 for 10 with two homers when facing Harang and Jarrod Saltalamacchia is 6 for 10 with three doubles. Ozuna is batting .378 with three homers, four doubles and 12 RBI over the last 11 games.
Giancarlo Stanton, 5 for 12 with three extra-base hits against Harang since 2012, is hitting .208 with one RBI over a seven-game stretch against the Braves.
Upton is batting .329 with seven homers and a major league-leading 27 RBI since Aug. 8. He’s 11 for his last 34 with three homers and seven RBI against the Marlins.
"The guys on front of me have been getting on base, and I’ve been fortunate to get some hits," he said. "As far as run producing, it’s probably been the best."
Teammate Freddie Freeman has looked lost against Miami this year, going 3 for 54 with 20 strikeouts. He’s batting .172 with one RBI in his last eight games overall.
The Braves have split 14 meetings with Miami, including eight at home.