By The Sports Xchange
ATLANTA — Ace pitcher Jose Fernandez, called upon to pinch hit in the 12th inning, belted a two-run double to help the Miami Marlins break a three-game losing streak with a 7-5 victory over the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field.
The Marlins had runners on first and second, but had used all their position players and opted for Fernandez, the starting pitcher for Saturday. Fernandez, a .222 hitter, pounced on a pitch from loser Casey Kelly (0-3) and split the gap to score Miguel Rojas and J.T. Realmuto.
The winning pitcher was Nick Wittgren (3-1), who worked two scoreless innings. Dustin McGowan pitched a scoreless 12th to earn his first save.
The Marlins improved to 2-4 in extra innings and 7-3 against Atlanta. The Braves are 5-9 in extra innings.
The Braves rallied to tie the game 5-5 in the ninth inning when Tyler Flowers ripped a solo homer, his sixth, to lead off the inning against Miami closer A.J. Ramos.
Atlanta’s Erick Aybar singled and worked his way to third base with one out, but Ramos was able to get out of the jam by striking out Jace Peterson and retiring Chase d’Arnaud of a shallow fly ball.
Ramos had successfully saved his last 33 save opportunities.
The Miami bullpen had worked as planned until Ramos had his hiccup. Kyle Barraclough pitched a perfect sixth. David Phelps worked a scoreless seventh, striking out the side. Newly acquired Fernando Rodney struck out two in pitching a scoreless eighth.
Miami starter Justin Nicolino, who was recalled from Triple-A New Orleans on Friday, lasted only five innings in his return to the major leagues. He allowed four runs on seven hits, a home run, a walk while striking out one.
Atlanta starter Julio Teheran worked 6 2/3 innings and allowed five runs on 11 hits with six strikeouts. Teheran struck out the first two batters in the seventh before giving up a bloop single to Martin Prado and a run-scoring double to Yelich.
He was relieved by Chris Withrow, who allowed the go-ahead hit to Marcell Ozuna (four hits).
The Marlins wasted no time ending Teheran’s 23-inning scoreless streak. Derek Dietrich hit the second pitch of the game into the right-field seats for a solo homer, his fourth of the season and his second to leadoff a game.
With one out, Yelich doubled and Ozuna followed with his 17th home run of the season, giving Miami a 3-0 lead.
Atlanta got two runs in the second inning to cut the lead to 3-2. The Braves strung together four singles from Nick Markakis, Jeff Francouer, Tyler Flowers and Aybar, the last one to produce a run. The second run scored when Teheran grounded into a double play.
The Braves took a 4-3 lead in the fifth when d’Arnaud hit his first career homer, a two-run shot.
NOTES: The Marlins added LHP Justin Nicolino from Triple-A New Orleans and optioned RHP Brian Ellington to open the spot. Miami also designated LHP Jo-Jo Reyes for assignment to clear a spot for RHP Fernando Rodney, who has been acquired from San Diego on Thursday. … Atlanta INF Gordon Beckham will serve a minor league rehab assignment this weekend and could be activated Monday in Philadelphia. … Miami has three players with 15 home runs before the All-Star Game for only the third time in franchise history: Marcell Ozuna (17), Giancarlo Stanton (15) and Justin Bour (15). … Miami ace Jose Fernandez (10-3, 2.28 ERA) starts Saturday’s game. Atlanta’s starter was undetermined.