Braves drop opener to Mariners 7-5


Braves drop opener to Mariners 7-5

For as easy as Gavin Floyd has made coming back from Tommy John surgery look, he needs to work on his timing.

The Braves right hander picked the night when he was spotted a four-run lead to put up his first shaky work of the season. So instead of walking away with his first win as a Brave, he settled for a no-decision in a 7-5 loss to the Mariners.

Floyd gave up a season-high five runs (three earned) on 10 hits in five-plus innings in his first start that actually had the look of a pitcher who’d been out of the game for a year. Pinch hitter Stefen Romero tied the game 5-5 with a three-run home run off Floyd, and John Buck finished it off with a two-run shot off Alex Wood in the seventh.

The Mariners looked a lot like the Red Sox, who came back on the Braves three times in four games last week, while dropping the Braves to 0-5 in interleague play this season.

Buck, the former National League nemesis with the Marlins, Mets and Pirates, homered for the first time this season on a two-out, 2-1 changeup from Wood. That made the two-out slow roller up the first base line by Dustin Ackley for an infield hit that preceded Buck all the more painful.

Evan Gattis and B.J. Upton both homered for the Braves, and Tommy La Stella went 2-for-4 for his fourth multi-hit game in six since his call-up, to go with three nice defensive plays at second base. But those highlights were lost in the Mariners’ comeback.

Tuesday was only the second time Floyd had allowed as many as three earned runs in his first six starts since he began his comeback with the Braves. Floyd had given up two or fewer earned runs in four of his first five starts with the Braves but he was winless at 0-2 despite a 2.37 ERA.

Gattis had helped spot Floyd a 4-0 lead in the first inning with a three-run home run, but the Mariners started chipping away. A Chris Johnson throwing error contributed to two unearned runs in the second inning, but the Mariners showed signs of starting to time Floyd. After B.J. Upton gave him a 5-2 lead in the second with a solo home run, the Mariners kept coming.

Robinson Cano ripped a double down the right field line to put runners on second and third with nobody out in the third inning. Floyd wriggled out of the jam in part because he fielded a line shot back to the mound by Kyle Seager and caught Michael Saunders leaning off third base. But the Mariners broke through the next inning.

A hit and a walk set up Romero for his three-run homer, the rookie’s first ever pinch hit homer, to even the game 5-5.

The Braves just missed Seattle’s dynamic ace Felix Hernandez, who pitched a makeup game against the Yankees Monday night in New York. So instead of an eight-game winner, who’s won straight decisions, the Braves got 1-4 Erasmo Ramirez, who’d lost his past four decisions.

The Braves rolled up five runs on eight hits in three innings against Ramirez, including the home runs by Gattis and B.J. Upton. But after he was lifted for a pinch hitter, they managed just two hits in the last six innings.

Gattis provided the biggest blow off Ramirez, sending a first-pitch slider into the right field seats for a 4-0 lead in the first inning. Not only had Gattis homered for the second game in a row, but the second at-bat. His game-winning shot off Marlins closer Steve Cishek in the ninth inning Sunday in Miami gave the Braves a 4-2 win. Gattis’ 12 home runs leads all major league catchers.

B.J. Upton followed his lead with a solo shot to straightaway center field for his fifth home run of the season.

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