Eovaldi plays up to competition vs. Braves

Eovaldi plays up to competition vs. Braves

JUPITER, Fla. -- A high-stakes feeling Wednesday night brought out the best in Marlins right-hander Nathan Eovaldi.

Up against much of the best of what the division rival Braves have to offer -- and under the lights at Roger Dean Stadium -- Eovaldi was excellent in five innings, scattering just three hits and one run (a Freddie Freeman home run). He struck out four and did not walk a batter.

"Playing under the lights, that's just a different atmosphere," Eovaldi said. "We're so used to playing under the lights, and being able to get out there and get a start, that's just fun. They had their good lineup out there, and luckily I was locating my pitches for the most part and getting ahead in the count."

After Freeman led off the second with the deep blast to right field, B.J. Upton doubled. But Eovaldi was able to limit the damage by retiring the next three hitters in order.

"No walks, that was a huge part of it, too," the righty said. "Working ahead, getting relatively quick outs. Staying ahead in counts."

After throwing 70 pitches on Wednesday (49 strikes), Eovaldi said he expects to get up to around 85 in his next outing.

"I felt really good," Eovaldi said. "That last inning I kind of fell behind, not getting that first-pitch strike, but still felt really good."

Joey Nowak is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @joeynowak.& This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.