Braves can’t complete comeback, lose to Marlins in 10

Ian Anderson did not become the first Atlanta-era Braves rookie to win his first three starts.

After defeating the Yankees and Red Sox, the Marlins chased Anderson after only three innings. Despite a late rally, the Braves lost 5-4 in 10 innings Monday. It was the first of three games against the Marlins at Truist Park this week.

Unlike in his first two outings, Anderson labored, throwing 83 pitches (50 strikes) over his three frames. Most notable was his command, which wasn’t nearly as sharp as he showed over his first 12 innings. Anderson walked four hitters Monday after walking three across his past two starts.

Anderson’s throwing error didn’t help matters in the third inning. He retired the first two Marlins before throwing a ball over first baseman Freddie Freeman’s head, which allowed Jazz Chisholm to reach and advance to second. Miguel Rojas doubled home the Marlins’ first run.

“It was tough,” Anderson said of the error. “It was one of those plays where I had a little more time than I thought. The ball was spinning a little funky, and it just got away from me. It’s on me. I should’ve been able to lock back in and refocus a little quicker.”

The right-hander limited the damage in that inning, but Anderson’s pitch count jumped significantly because of the error. He walked two in the third, with Jon Berti’s single scoring the second run. Anderson was replaced by Robbie Erlin to start the fourth.

“I think the throw (error) rattled him a little bit,” manager Brian Snitker said of Anderson’s day. “Before he threw the ball away, he was throwing pretty good. Then he just lost the feel for his fastball, curveball, he just had a hard time regrouping after that. ... It’s a learning moment. He’s a young kid. It’s not going to be easy all the time. There are going to be mountains you’ll have to climb to get to where you want to go in this game. He’ll be fine.”

Indeed, after looking beyond his years in his first two games, Monday was a reminder that Anderson is a young pitcher whose reliability could change by the start.

But the Braves’ rotation needs tangible results over the next three weeks. Through 41 games, Braves starters have provided only nine quality starts, which means pitching at least six innings and allowing three or fewer runs. Max Fried is responsible for four of those. Fried (5.6) and Anderson (5.0) are the only Braves starters averaging at least five innings (league average is 4.8).

“That’s the worst part about it,” Anderson said about pitching only three innings. “I’d rather go out there and go five or six (innings) and give up three or four (runs) than only go three. As a starter, that’s always tough to swallow.”

With the Braves down 4-3 in the ninth, pinch-hitter Adam Duvall worked his way back from 0-2 to a full count before hitting the game-tying homer 449 feet to center off Brandon Kintzler. It was the fourth pinch-hit homer of Duvall’s career and his fifth home run in 21 at-bats.

The Braves loaded the bases with one out, but Travis d’Arnaud missed a hanging slider and hit into a double play to send the game to extra innings. The Marlins scored once off lefty A.J. Minter in the 10th, and that proved enough to win it.

Notes from Monday:

- The Braves went 2-for-14 with runners in scoring position, capped by d’Arnaud’s double play in the ninth and their inability to score the placed runner at second in the 10th inning.

In the final frame, Marlins righty Nick Vincent coaxed two right-field flyouts from Nick Markakis and Austin Riley, the latter of which advanced pinch-runner Charlie Culberson to third. Adeiny Hechavarria grounded out to short to end the game.

“We could’ve scored a lot of runs today,” Snitker said. “Sometimes that’s the way it goes. You smoke some balls, but they’re right at them. We couldn’t make a productive out today. We didn’t even really need hits. If we could’ve flown out three times, we could’ve won the game. But that’s a little easier said than done. It happens.”

- Marlins starter Jose Urena hit Ronald Acuna in the elbow with a pitch in the fourth inning. It brought back memories of August 2018, when Urena intentionally hit a surging Acuna, leading to the benches clearing and Snitker passionately fighting for his young outfielder.

While it didn’t look intentional this time, Acuna was visibly frustrated, throwing his hands up but taking first base without any confrontation. The umpires issued warnings to both teams. Acuna stole a base but was picked off at second to end the inning.

- Freeman’s two-RBI double off Urena helped the Braves to a 2-0 lead in the first. While his 20-game hitting streak ended two days ago, Freeman has a hit in 22 of his past 23 contests.

- The Braves’ streak of six consecutive games with at least two home runs ended Monday. Duvall’s late homer at least prevented their first homerless game since Aug. 23 against the Phillies. The Braves’ six consecutive games with multiple home runs fell one shy of the franchise record set by the 1999 Braves.

- After blowing a big lead, the Phillies defeated the Mets in extras to pull within two games of the first-place Braves. The Phillies and Braves are tied in the loss column (17) but the latter has four more victories. The Marlins’ win cut their divisional deficit to 3-1/2 games.

- The loss knocked the Braves’ divisional record to 15-12 thus far. They’re .500 against the Phillies (5-5), Nationals (3-3) and Marlins (2-2) while beating the Mets in five of seven games. Division record could prove important as the second tiebreaker between the Braves and Phillies, who tied their season series. The Phillies are 17-9 against the National League East.

- Left-hander Cole Hamels pitched a live batting practice Sunday. Snitker said the team came away encouraged: “He’ll do that again this week and we’ll see where he’s at, but we’re very encouraged by how he went about that and how he felt.”

Hamels is a small X-factor for the Braves’ rotation. Even if he returns to pitch in only two-or-three-inning increments, that isn’t much worse than what the Braves have been getting from most of their other starters.

“I’d love to get him back,” Snitker said. “Even however short, it’d be good to have him starting games for us.”

- Erlin was a candidate to start Tuesday, but that spot will now go to Kyle Wright, who’s been on the same schedule as Erlin at the alternate training site in Gwinnett. Wright made four starts, posting a 7.20 ERA in 15 innings, before he was optioned Aug. 20.

The Braves will announce a corresponding move for Wright on Tuesday.

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