ATLANTA – Jarrod Saltalamacchia knows most teams don’t get many chances to beat Atlanta Braves closer Craig Kimbrel.
Saltalamacchia drove in the go-ahead run in the ninth inning, Henderson Alvarez won for the first time in three starts and the Miami Marlins beat the Braves 3-2 on Thursday night.
“He threw me a lot of sliders tonight, which is not what he’s done in the past, but I’d swung over a slider two nights ago and struck out,” Saltalamacchia said. “I don’t blame him. He made a mistake and I was able to do something with it.”
In taking three of four games, the Marlins won just their second series in the last 10 against the Braves at Turner Field.
Alvarez (7-5) gave up six hits, two runs and one walk with four strikeouts in eight innings. The Marlins are 13-3 in his last 16 starts.
Kimbrel (0-2), pitching in a non-save situation with the score tied 2-2 to begin the ninth, struck out Garrett Jones and had Marcell Ozuna struck out, too, but the ball, a wild pitch, rolled a few feet from the plate after bouncing off catcher Evan Gattis’ shin guards and Ozuna reached safely.
With Saltalamacchia batting, Ozuna advanced to second on another wild pitch and scored on the RBI single to center, easily beating B.J. Upton’s throw to the plate.
Saltalamacchia went 3-for-4 with two doubles.
“I think it’s my third time facing him,” Saltalamacchia said. “He’s an All-Star closer. He’s got great stuff and really has a great idea of what he’s doing out there. In that situation, I’m just trying to not get too big, put a ball in play.”
Kimbrel, a four-time NL All-Star, allowed one hit and one run and struck out two. He blamed himself for the wild pitches.
“That’s part of baseball,” Kimbrel said. “Not everything goes perfect every time you go out there. You’ve just got to find a way to get through it and unfortunately we didn’t do it tonight.”
Phillies 2, Giants 1
In Philadelphia, starter Cole Hamels pitched eight strong innings and Chase Utley had a tiebreaking single in the fifth inning of a win over the Giants.
Hamels got the better of Tim Hudson in a matchup between starters who have combined for seven All-Star appearances. The Phillies left-hander gave up six hits while striking out 10 and walking one.
Padres 13, Cubs 3
In Chicago, Tyson Ross struck out a career-high 11, and light-hitting San Diego broke out for a season-best nine runs in the sixth inning in a rout of the Cubs.
Ross allowed one run, five hits and one walk in six innings to reach a career high in wins. He went 3-2 in five July starts, but gave up just four earned runs in 35 innings.
Brewers 9, Mets 1
In Milwaukee, Matt Garza allowed two hits over eight innings to rebound from a horrendous outing, and Ryan Braun hit one of the Brewers’ three homers.
Jonathan Lucroy and Khris Davis also connected for Milwaukee, which took a 6-0 lead after three innings against Dillon Gee to win its fourth consecutive game.
Daisuke Matsuzaka allowed three runs in two innings of relief for New York.