0

Alex Wood, Craig Kimbrel help Atlanta Braves shut out Miami

Evan Gattis produces game’s only run

Atlanta Braves relief pitcher Craig Kimbrel reacts after the final out during their 1-0 win over the Miami Marlins at Turner Field on Sunday. (Reuters)

Atlanta Braves relief pitcher Craig Kimbrel reacts after the final out during their 1-0 win over the Miami Marlins at Turner Field on Sunday. (Reuters)

ATLANTA — Alex Wood finally found his way onto the right side of a 1-0 game.

The Braves left-hander, who lost 1-0 decisions earlier this season against the Philadelphia Phillies and the Marlins, pitched eight scoreless innings and matched his career high with 12 strikeouts Sunday in Atlanta’s 1-0 win over Miami.

“It’s up there, because we’re in the playoff hunt,” Wood said of the game’s importance. “It definitely was a big win for us.”

A second-inning homer by catcher Evan Gattis produced the game’s only run.

Wood (10-10) retired the last eight men he faced before turning the game over to closer Craig Kimbrel, who pitched a scoreless ninth to earn his 41st save. It was the first time in 61 games that Miami was shut out.

“That was some kind of performance by Woody and Kimbrel,” Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “For me, that’s the best performance from him I’ve seen.”

The ninth inning wasn’t without drama. Second baseman Donovan Solano led off with a grounder to third baseman Chris Johnson, who dived to his left, fielded the ball and threw to first. First base umpire Chris Guccione’s out call was contested but then upheld in a video review that lasted 81 seconds.

The crucial inning for Wood was the sixth. The Marlins loaded the bases with one out, but Wood battled back to strike out right fielder Giancarlo Stanton and third baseman Casey McGehee to end the inning.

“We got our shot and it didn’t happen,” Miami manager Mike Redmond said. “That’s baseball, man. We had our chance and it didn’t happen.”

Wood was able to get Stanton to wave at a changeup, then fought back from a 3-1 count to retire McGehee on a breaking ball that went for a third strike.

“When I have all three of my pitches working, I’m usually pretty competitive,” Wood said. “If I don’t have all three going, that doesn’t happen (against Stanton and McGehee).”

It was the longest scoreless outing of Wood’s young career, and he recorded double-digit strikeouts for the third time. He threw 101 pitches, and Gonzalez briefly considered letting Wood finish the game.

“I was hoping we’d score three or four runs in the eighth inning and let him go back out there,” Gonzalez said. “But when you’ve got the best closer in the game …”

Miami’s Nathan Eovaldi (6-10) allowed nine hits and one run in 6 2/3 innings and struck out six, but he dropped his fourth consecutive decision. He left in the seventh with runners at first and second, and reliever Chris Hatcher retired left fielder Justin Upton on a high fly to left field.

“He was outstanding,” Redmond said. “He made one mistake to Gattis, but other than that … He ran his pitch count up (113 pitches, 75 strikes), but it was good to see him locating his pitches and keeping the ball down.”

Braves third baseman/second baseman Phil Gosselin went 3-for-4, and first baseman Freddie Freeman, shortstop Andrelton Simmons and center fielder B.J. Upton added two hits apiece.

Solano collected two of the Marlins’ six hits.

The victory enabled Atlanta to stay 1 1/2 games back in the race for the second National League wild card.

Miami finished its three-city road trip at 3-6 and fell 6 1/2 games behind in the wild-card standings. The Marlins came up short in their bid to win a second consecutive series in Atlanta for the first time in team history.

ATLANTA — Left-hander Alex Wood pitched eight scoreless innings and matched his career high with 12 strikeouts Sunday in Atlanta’s 1-0 win over the Miami Marlins.

A second-inning homer by catcher Evan Gattis produced the game’s only run.

Wood (10-10) retired the last eight men he faced before turning the game over to closer Craig Kimbrel, who pitched a scoreless ninth to earn his 41st save. It was the first time in 61 games that Miami was shut out.

The ninth inning wasn’t without drama. Second baseman Donovan Solano led off with a grounder to third baseman Chris Johnson, who dived to his left, fielded the ball and threw to first. First base umpire Chris Guccione’s out call was contested but then upheld in a video review that lasted 81 seconds.

The victory was a reversal of fortune for Wood, who was on the losing end of 1-0 games this season against the Philadelphia Phillies and Miami in April. He threw 101 pitches Sunday and allowed five hits and no walks.

The crucial inning for Wood was the sixth. The Marlins loaded the bases with one out, but Wood battled back to strike out right fielder Giancarlo Stanton and third baseman Casey McGehee to end the inning.

Miami’s Nathan Eovaldi (6-10) allowed nine hits and one run in 6 2/3 innings and struck out six. He left in the seventh with runners at first and second, and reliever Chris Hatcher retired slugging left fielder Justin Upton on a high fly to left field.

Braves third baseman/second baseman Phil Gosselin went 3-for-4, and first baseman Freddie Freeman, shortstop Andrelton Simmons and center fielder B.J. Upton added two hits apiece.

Second baseman Donovan Solano collected two of the Marlins’ six hits.

The victory enabled Atlanta to stay 1 1/2 games back in the race for the second National League wild card.