Atlanta managed only three hits Wednesday against Nathan Eovaldi and endured another drubbing from the last-place Miami Marlins, 9-3.
The NL East leaders have been outscored 18-3 in the first two games of the series. The Braves have totaled one run and five hits against Marlins starters Eovaldi and Jose Fernandez.
“We’re big-league hitters. We should be able to put some hits up against those guys,” the Braves’ Chris Johnson said. “They’re really, really good, but at some point, with them being in our division, we’ve got to be able to figure them out. We’ve got to put some runs on the board. There’s no excuse for it.”
The Marlins will sweep a series from Atlanta for the first time since 2009 if they can beat Ervin Santana tonight.
While Atlanta again sputtered on offense, aside from a late two-run homer by Justin Upton, the Marlins scored nine runs off Aaron Harang (3-2). He gave up 10 hits in 4 2/3 innings, and his ERA rose from a major-league low 0.85 to 2.97.
The Marlins tied a season high with 15 hits, including seven for extra bases.
“They were all hitting like Ted Williams (on Wednesday),” Harang said.
Miami scored only one run against the veteran right-hander in a loss a week earlier in Atlanta.
“When he did give us a pitch to do something with, we did a much better job of not missing it (Wednesday),” said Casey McGehee, who had three hits. “Against him in Atlanta, a lot of the pitches we had to hit we fouled off or missed or took. (On Wednesday), we took advantage of our opportunities.”
Marcell Ozuna hit a three-run homer, and Christian Yelich added his first home run of the year. The homers were the first allowed by Harang this year.
“Seven days ago to now, it’s a totally different team,” Harang said. “I had them totally baffled at home. They were comfortable (Wednesday).”
Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said Harang was squeezed by plate umpire Sean Barber.
“Early in the game he wasn’t getting any corners,” Gonzalez said. “I’m not blaming the umpire, but sometimes you get a guy that gives you an inch here and an inch there, a pitch here or a pitch there, and it’s a little different ballgame.”
Miami’s 9-0 lead after five innings was a rare luxury for Eovaldi (2-1), who has the lowest career run support among active major-league starters. He allowed only one run in seven innings to lower his ERA to 2.58.
“You try to get the guys back in the dugout as fast as possible and let them keep hitting,” Eovaldi said. “I just attack and stay on them. When we have a big lead, don’t be afraid to give up a run or two. Keep pounding the strike zone.”
The score was 9-1 before Upton homered in the eighth. He begins May batting .326 with eight homers and 18 RBIs.
“The first thing I’m going to do when I see him Thursday is say, ‘It’s still April,’” Gonzalez said. “I’ll keep reminding him every day it’s April, because he’s had some gigantic Aprils in his career.”
Harang had allowed a total of three runs in his first five starts, but the Marlins scored four against him with four consecutive hits to start the second inning. Garrett Jones singled home the first run, and Ozuna followed with his fourth homer.
Hechavarria tripled and Yelich hit a two-run homer in the fourth to make it 7-0.
The nine runs allowed by Harang matched his career high. He fell to 5-5 in 15 starts against the Marlins with an ERA of 6.54.
Eovaldi allowed a double by Jason Heyward to start the game, then held the Braves hitless until the sixth.
NOTES: Braves RHP Gavin Floyd is ready to come off the disabled list after recovering from elbow surgery a year ago, but Gonzalez was noncommittal regarding how he will be used. Floyd isn’t scheduled to start this week. ... Marlins INF Rafael Furcal (hamstring) took grounders before the game is scheduled to resume his rehabilitation assignment this weekend with Triple-A New Orleans. ... Miami RHP Jose Fernandez estimated that in his victory Tuesday he threw 30 changeups, twice his previous high. ... Santana (3-0, 1.95 ERA) starts tonight for the Braves against Miami’s Henderson Alvarez (1-2, 2.73).