Urena's arm, bat help lift Marlins past Braves

Urena's arm, bat help lift Marlins past Braves

ATLANTA -- Jose Urena has become the Marlins' king of the road. The hard-throwing right-hander allowed one run in 6 1/3 innings and added his first career RBI single to boot on Friday night during Miami's 7-1 victory over the Braves at SunTrust Park.

Urena (13-6) improved to 9-1 on the road, and his strong outing helped the Marlins snap a five-game losing streak. Miami has an uphill climb in the National League Wild Card chase. In terms of the NL East, the Marlins remain 19 games back of the Nationals, who lowered their magic number to clinch to three games.

"Our ace," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said of Urena, who opened the season as a long reliever. "I think you'd almost have to at this point. He's kind of been that guy, time-in, time-out. Kept us in the game. It's good to see, honestly, you've watched him develop and get better."

Urena's 9-1 mark away stands out when you consider he is 4-5 at Marlins Park.

"I don't know why," Urena said. "That's the game. Sometimes that's a little weird. I try to do the same as when I'm at home."

The Marlins' starting lineup was without the club's biggest power threat, as Giancarlo Stanton, who had started every game in right field since July 6, was given the night off. Miami received a big boost from Derek Dietrich, who connected for his 10th home run to lead off the third inning off Mike Foltynewicz, who allowed three runs in six innings with eight strikeouts.

Dietrich's solo dinger

"With the early innings, I just kind of get too fast with everything and that is when mechanics get a little off as things start to fly open," Foltynewicz said. "After the third, I started to settle down and stayed in my groove to make some pitches. It was successful there later on."

The Braves' lone offensive outburst came from Freddie Freeman. He belted a solo home run in the fourth inning, his 25th. According to Statcast™, the blast went 393 feet and had a launch angle of 36 degrees, the sixth-highest angle he's hit this season.

But the Braves couldn't keep pace with the Marlins' offense. The bullpen allowed four runs and now owns a National League-highest 4.73 ERA. Since the All-Star break, the Braves' bullpen has allowed 100 earned runs in 171 2/3 innings pitched.

"We were kind of put to the test right there as we wanted to keep it close," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "If we keep it 3-1, then we feel pretty good about our chances coming into the ninth."

The Marlins took advantage as Ichiro Suzuki singled and scored on Miguel Rojas' RBI double in the ninth inning. The hit was Ichiro's 2,500th single, making him the sixth player in MLB history to reach that many, along with Derek Jeter, Eddie Collins, Willie Keeler, Ty Cobb and Pete Rose.

Rojas' RBI double

In the ninth inning, Dee Gordon stole second for his 50th steal of the season. It's his third time reaching at least that many. Gordon and Stanton also are the third teammates in MLB history to reach 50 steals and 50 home runs in the same year.

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Seventh-inning sweat: In relief of Urena, lefty Jarlin Garcia got out of a jam. But not before some nervous moments. Urena was lifted after issuing a one-out walk to Dansby Swanson. Entering to face lefty-hitting Jace Peterson was Garcia, who hit the Braves right fielder, putting two on and one out. Pinch-hitter Adonis Garcia was retired on a slow ground ball to Garcia. Bour made a terrific scoop on Garcia's throw. The Braves threat was thwarted, when with the bases full, Ozzie Albies grounded to second.

Garcia gets out of trouble

"We had our chance there," Snitker said. "We were fighting toward it in the seventh but Urena has been tough on us this year."

At last … a Urena RBI: Urena is a good athlete, possessing good running speed. The Marlins have used him as a pinch-runner this year. But in the second inning, the Miami right-hander helped himself with the bat. Urena drove in the Marlins' second run with a single. It was his first MLB RBI, and it came in his 70th career at-bat. Urena was just 3-for-37 before his two-out hit.

Urena's RBI single

"He's actually gotten better; you'd like for your pitchers to swing the bat a little bit," Mattingly said. "We've seen it against us, guys have hurt us. If you can handle the bat a little bit, you're going to throw a few out there."

"It took a little time, but we made it," Urena said of ending his RBI drought. "That meant a lot, because we took the lead, and we scored two. That was big, because if they score a run, we still would have a lead."

QUOTABLE
"It's him. I expected myself to get 50. I didn't know [about Stanton], I'd never seen it. Which is pretty cool." -- Gordon, on stealing 50 bases in the same season Stanton has 53 home runs

"Toward the end, he was really good when he doesn't overthrow. I don't think he realizes what he really has. Sometimes 95 [mph] with location is better than 100 [mph] just throwing it in there. He is learning. ... We will keep running him out there and hope he can figure it out. He had that stretch and now he has had three pretty good ones. We score five runs and he leaves after six ahead as we try to get a win." -- Snitker, on Foltynewicz's performance

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Ichiro is the sixth player in MLB history with at least 2,500 singles. The other five are Rose (3,215), Cobb (3,053), Collins (2,642), Jeter (2,595) and Keeler (2,536).

Ichiro's 2500th career single

WHAT'S NEXT
Marlins: Game 3 of the four-game set at Atlanta is set for today at 7:10 p.m. ET. Adam Conley (6-7, 5.09 ERA) goes for Miami. Conley is 3-1 with a 3.13 ERA in his career vs. the Braves.

Braves: Max Fried takes the mound against Miami at SunTrust Park as the series continues. Fried is making his second career start after registering his first win against the Cubs in his last outing.

Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.