Cunningham helps Braves beat Marlins 5-3 in 1st MLB start
MIAMI (AP) While major league RBI leader Giancarlo Stanton and batting leader Dee Gordon padded their stats Friday night, the Atlanta Braves trumped them with an unlikely duo.
Todd Cunningham had three hits in his first big league start, including a tiebreaking single in the eighth inning, and Phil Gosselin contributed three hits to help Atlanta beat the Miami Marlins 5-3.
''We got drafted together and have been through the whole minor league system together,'' said Gosselin, who made only his fifth start of the year. ''It's the first time we played in a big league stadium together. It's pretty special.''
It was good enough to overcome Stanton and Gordon, who accounted for Miami's scoring. Stanton hit two solo home runs, including a tape-measure shot that tied the game in the seventh.
''We lost. They mean nothing,'' he said.
Stanton has 10 homers and a major league-high 35 RBIs.
Gordon went 3 for 5, hiking his average to .433. It was his 11th game with three or more hits.
The Braves won despite twice losing a lead.
''We may have some shortcomings,'' manager Fredi Gonzalez said. ''But we don't have shortcomings in want-to and fight and battling back.''
The score was 3-all when Nick Markakis of the Braves doubled in the eighth off Mike Dunn (0-2), and he scored on Cunningham's single against Bryan Morris.
''I don't get fired up very often,'' Cunningham said, ''but I think I gave a little fist pump or hand clap or something. I was pretty excited.''
Cunningham, called up before the game from Triple-A, scored twice and made a running catch in left field to save a run and rob Martin Prado of a hit.
''Wish they were all this easy,'' Cunningham said.
Gosselin was 3 for 3 before he popped up attempting a suicide squeeze bunt in the seventh, and Eric Young was doubled off third.
''That's why they call it the suicide squeeze,'' Gonzalez said.
The Braves won despite going 4 for 19 with runners in scoring position.
Miami went 1 for 13 with runners in scoring position and stranded 11. Prado left a runner in scoring position in each of his first four at-bats.
''We had lots of chances, especially early, to put some distance in that game and give us a little breathing room,'' manager Mike Redmond said. ''But we weren't able to get the big hit.''
The Marlins' biggest hits came with the bases empty. Stanton hit his second home run through the TV camera box beyond the 418-foot sign in center field - a first at Marlins Park, which opened in 2012.
Jason Grilli - the Braves' sixth pitcher - worked around a walk and a wild pitch in the ninth for his 10th save in 11 chances. Atlanta improved to 4-0 this year at Marlins Park.
An error by shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria led to two unearned runs for Atlanta in the second. They scored when pitcher Julio Teheran singled on a 3-2 pitch with two outs and the bases loaded.
Teheran allowed two runs, one earned, in 5 2/3 innings. Cody Martin (2-2) earned the victory despite allowing one run in his only inning.
Miami's David Phelps delivered his fifth consecutive quality start. He allowed three runs, one earned, in six innings and tied a career high with eight strikeouts.
The fish tank behind the plate at Marlins Parks took a direct shot when Prado broke his bat in the second inning, and the barrel slammed into the aquarium. The resulting thud could be heard in the upper deck - and undoubtedly by the fish.
Marlins: RHP Jarred Cosart's tight right thigh was attributed to cramps after he underwent an MRI. The problem forced him from Wednesday's game against the Dodgers. He is expected to throw a bullpen session Saturday, and barring a setback he will make his next start as scheduled Tuesday against the Diamondbacks.
Cosart's availability will help determine whether the Marlins give another rehabilitation start to RHP Henderson Alvarez (right shoulder and elbow inflammation). If Cosart's turn is skipped, Alvarez would likely replace him.
LHP Alex Wood (1-2, 4.28), who earned his only victory in the second game of the season at Marlins Park, starts Saturday for the Braves against RHP Mat Latos (1-3, 4.72).