JUPITER, Fla. (AP) Former Brave Martin Prado drove in two runs with a bases-loaded double in the sixth and Jeff Baker added a sacrifice fly later in the inning, leading the Miami Marlins past Atlanta 5-1 on Friday.
Wandy Rodriguez made a strong showing for a spot in Atlanta’s starting rotation, throwing five hitless innings against the Marlins before they erupted.
Jordany Valdespin’s single off the glove of Atlanta third baseman Phil Gosselin in the seventh drove in Adeiny Hechavarria with the Marlins’ fourth run.
Atlanta’s lone run came in the fourth when Freddie Freeman scored on Chris Johnson’s single to left.
Rodriguez struck out seven, including Giancarlo Stanton twice, and walked three in his fourth outing of the spring and now boasts a 12-inning scoreless streak covering his last three starts.
”I think the way he’s pitched he’s earned a shot in this rotation,” Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez said.
A 10-year veteran, Rodriguez spent most of the last three seasons with Pittsburgh after joining the Pirates in a 2012 mid-season trade with Houston. He was slowed by a knee injury last season, making only six starts before being released.
The Braves brought Rodriguez to camp as a non-roster invitee hoping he’d compete for the open fifth starter spot. Mike Minor’s rotator cuff inflammation diagnosed last week opened a second spot in the rotation.
Rodriguez believes he can fill that void.
”I want to be there,” said Rodriguez, who threw 49 of his 80 pitches for strikes. ”I’d be happy to start the regular season with this team.”
Marlins: Following his fourth start of the spring, Dan Haren admitted to being a little tired after allowing one run on 75 pitches in a five-inning outing. ”I’ve got a few starts left. I’ll probably put it in neutral here for a little while; otherwise, I’ll be throwing 130 pitches the first time out,” Haren said.
Braves: Julio Teheran stayed in Orlando and pitched for the High Class A Carolina Mudcats in a minor league game on Friday, allowing the Braves to get a better look at Rodriguez. Teheran allowed two runs on six hits in five innings.
Atlanta right fielder Nick Markakis, who underwent offseason neck surgery, took batting practice on the field for the first time this season. ”He looked good,” Gonzalez said.
Braves catcher Christian Bethancourt was slated to make the trip to Jupiter but remained in Orlando because he’s still battling flu-like symptoms. Gonzalez was hopeful that Bethancourt could be in the lineup on Saturday.
TOP OF THE ORDER
With Dee Gordon getting the night off, Ichiro Suzuki hit leadoff for the Marlins for the first time this spring, going 0 for 3. Marlins manager Mike Redmond said he would consider hitting Ichiro or Christian Yelich in the top spot during the regular season on a night that Gordon had off. ”I know Ichiro can hit lead-off. I know he can hit anywhere,” Redmond said.
GOLD GLOVE STANTON
Gonzalez believes Miami right fielder Stanton is a Gold Glove caliber right fielder. ”For a guy who’s a big man and he’s a slugger, he can really, really play some right field,” said Gonzalez, a former Marlins manager. Gonzalez noted than Stanton’s path to the Gold Glove will likely be blocked for a while by former Brave Jason Heyward, now a Cardinal.
DAY AND NIGHT
Friday’s game marked the first of two night games on the Marlins’ Grapefruit League schedule. Redmond wouldn’t mind seeing some more. ”I’d love to play a string of night games at the end of spring just to get guys adjusted to the night schedule, because we go from all day games to all night games rather quickly,” Redmond said.
Miami: Henderson Alvarez will make his third start of the spring when Miami travels to Viera to play a Washington split squad.
Atlanta: Braves will start Eric Stults against Washington in one split squad game and send Chien-Ming Wang to Jupiter to face St. Louis in the other.