Braves-Marlins Preview

The Florida Marlins received a stellar pitching performance in

their last game, but the offense couldn’t provide the necessary

support to end a losing streak.

The Atlanta Braves aren’t exactly scoring at a rapid pace,

either.

After the teams combined for one run and six hits in the series

opener, Florida hosts Atlanta on Wednesday night looking to avoid a

seven-game skid.

The Marlins (31-28) saw their scoreless stretch reach 13 innings

with a 1-0 loss Tuesday against the Braves (33-28), who mustered

only two hits of their own and have scored five runs in their last

three games combined.

Brad Hand made his major league debut for Florida and allowed

only one hit – a fourth-inning homer to Alex Gonzalez – in six

innings. Hand became the first pitcher since the Washington

Senators’ Mike Thompson in 1971 to throw six-plus innings, allow

one hit or less and get the loss in his debut.

”We wasted another good outing by the pitching staff,” manager

Edwin Rodriguez said. ”Brad Hand was very impressive. His poise

was excellent. He looks like he’s been in the big leagues for a

long time.”

Florida last lost seven straight April 20-27, 2009.

”The energy is there, the passion is there, the desire is

there. It’s just not happening,” Rodriguez said. “Maybe they’re

putting pressure on themselves.”

Martin Prado’s two-out single in the ninth was the only other

hit for Atlanta. The last time the Braves were two-hit and won was

Sept. 25, 2004 – also a 1-0 victory against Florida.

”To get two hits and win is crazy,” said Braves starter Tommy

Hanson, who pitched six innings.

Manager Fredi Gonzalez won his first game back in Miami since

the Marlins fired him June 24.

”One good hit and good pitching,” Gonzalez said of what led to

the win.

Dan Uggla’s return to Florida didn’t go as well. The struggling

former Marlin went 0 for 3, dropping his batting average to a

majors-worst .170. Uggla is 1 for 19 (.053) over his last seven

games and has driven in one run since May 15, when he hit his last

home run.

”You can look at it a bunch of different ways and try to make

excuses about it,” Uggla said. ”It’s just one of those things.

I’ve had a rough start to this year for whatever reason. Who

knows?”

Uggla is 1 for 2 with a home run against Florida starter Ricky

Nolasco (4-1, 3.99 ERA), who will face the Braves for the second

time this season.

Nolasco allowed five runs in five innings April 14 against

Atlanta in the Marlins’ 6-5 victory. The right-hander has given up

12 runs and 22 hits in 11 innings over his last two starts after

allowing four runs in six innings Friday in Florida’s loss to

Milwaukee.

Derek Lowe (3-4, 4.07) opposes Nolasco looking for his first

victory in more than a month.

Lowe is winless in his last five starts with a 5.40 ERA after

allowing three runs in six innings Friday against the New York Mets

before Atlanta rallied for a 6-3 victory. The right-hander hasn’t

lost to the Marlins since July 7, 2007, though he hasn’t pitched

extremely well against them since. He’s 2-0 with a 6.82 ERA in

seven starts following that loss.

The Braves have won five of the last seven meetings.