MIAMI – A 32-second review turned a triple into a game-winning homer for Evan Gattis in the 10th inning Saturday, as the Braves pulled out a 4-3 win that featured a couple of overturned calls that went to Atlanta in the last two innings.
Gattis led off the 10th inning against Miami with a fly ball that caromed off the center-field wall at Marlins Park and rolled all the way back to the middle of the outfield as the burly catcher barreled around to third base.
But the Braves quickly challenged the call, and replays showed the ball hit above the yellow line in a small triangle of green space on the padded wall, just below the mammoth home-run sculpture that rises beyond the fence. It only took 32 seconds for umpires to see where the ball had struck and award Gattis with the home run that put the Braves ahead.
They evened the series at a game apiece and pulled back even with Milwaukee for the second and final National League wild-card spot with 20 games to go. The Braves also trimmed a game off Washington’s lead in the NL East, but the Nationals still have a six-game advantage.
They pulled out a win, but Alex Wood had to settle for another no decision on a night when he probably deserved a win.
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The Braves scored one or no runs while Wood was in the game in six of 13 starts since he returned to the rotation in late June. On Saturday, he took matters into his own hands, hitting a two-run, two-out single to give his team a 3-0 lead in the fourth inning.
And still it wasn’t enough. The young left-hander exited with a 3-1 lead and a runner at first base in the eighth inning, and came away with no decision after Jordan Walden stumbled in relief. The Marlins tied it with two runs in the eighth.
Walden walked the first batter he faced, Donovan Solano. Freddie Freeman bobbled Giancarlo Stanton’s grounder and had to settle for the out at first base. That put two runners in scoring position, and Casey McGehee singled to drive in both and tie the score.
Wood, who had been in line for a win and game-winning RBI, got neither after Walden’s rocky outing, which also included a wild pitch that advanced McGehee to third base with two out. At that point, David Carpenter came in to strike out Jeff Baker to end the inning.
Carpenter came up huge again in the ninth inning when he made an acrobatic play to field a toss from Freeman and tag Jordany Valespin for the third out. Initially that was ruled a single, but the Braves challenged and got that call overturned, too.
After the Marlins elected to intentionally walk No. 8 hitter B.J. Upton with first base open in the fourth inning, Wood’s bases-loaded single to center field turned a one-run lead into a 3-0 advantage for the Braves.
But his was one of two hits for the Braves in 10 at-bats with runners in scoring position. They failed to add runs after getting two runners in scoring position with one out in the fifth inning and after loading the bases with one out in the sixth.
For Wood, it was his second impressive outing in seven days against the Marlins. He pitched eight innings of five-hit ball with 12 strikeouts in a 1-0 win against them last Sunday. The opposing pitcher both times was Nathan Eovaldi, who gave up eight hits and three runs in 6 1/3 innings Saturday, got no decision, and remained 1-6 since the All-Star break.
Eovaldi has a 5.37 ERA since the break, but the hard-throwing right-hander pitched well against the Braves last weekend and had a 2.26 ERA in 11 career starts against them before Saturday.
Just two National League starting pitchers have received less run support this season than Wood, and Eovaldi is one. The Marlins scored 3.03 runs per nine innings that he pitched before Saturday, while the Braves had provided 3.17 runs per nine for Wood.
After the Braves failed to advance the runner following a one-out single in the first inning and a leadoff single in the second, they punched through in the fourth after Justin Upton was hit by a pitch with one out. Evan Gattis followed with a single, and Andrelton Simmons’ two-out single gave the Braves a 1-0 lead.
After the Marlins walked B.J. Upton to load the bases, Wood singled to push the lead to 3-0. The second-year pitcher was 2-for-34 at the plate this season, with two walks and 22 strikeouts, before picking up his first RBIs with the hit off Eovaldi.
The Marlins answered with a run in the bottom of the inning before Wood struck out Eovaldi with the bases loaded to limit the damage following three consecutive two-out singles. McGehee had drawn a one-out walk, advanced to second on Marcell Ozuna’s groundout in front of the mound, and scored when Baker bounced a two-out single up the middle.
Two more soft singles loaded the bases before Wood got out of the inning while reducing his average allowed with runners in scoring position and two outs to .135 (7-for-50) with 20 strikeouts.
The Braves had chances to add insurance runs in the fifth, after Freeman singled and Justin Upton doubled high off the center-field wall. With one out and runners at second and third, Gattis popped out in foul territory to the second baseman and Tommy La Stella grounded out.
They had another opportunity in the seventh after loading the bases on a leadoff single by Jason Heyward, a one-out single by Freeman and a Justin Upton walk. Gattis struck out and La Stella grounded out to end the inning.
Heyward also led off the ninth inning with a single and moved to second on Phil Gosselin’s sacrifice. That put the potential go-ahead run in scoring position and the heart of the order up. Freeman grounded out, moving Heyward to third base, and Justin Upton struck out to end the inning.