Install

Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Braves Blunders Make Florida Shine

ATLANTA -- The Florida Marlins are aware of the Atlanta Braves' impressive accomplishments, because the Marlins have been on the planet in the '90s and they watch ESPN.


But the Marlins are concerned about their own legacy. And thanks to some luck Tuesday night against a four-time Cy Young Award winner, the Marlins added another victory to their playoff history.


Continuing their impressive first postseason run, the fifth-year Marlins defeated the Braves, 5-3, in Game 1 of the National League championship series.


The Marlins improved to 4-0 in the playoffs by defeating Atlanta ace Greg Maddux with an assist from the Braves, who played one of their worst games of the season defensively at the wrong time. Moises Alou provided the key hit with a bases-loaded double in the first inning that silenced the crowd of 49,244 at Turner Field.


"This is obviously another big win for us," Marlin Manager Jim Leyland said. "Any time you face Maddux, any time you face any of their starters, you are going to have to be fortunate. You're going to have to get the right bounce like we did on the ball early."


That bouncing ball was the key.


The Braves committed two errors that led to all of the Marlins' runs being unearned. Maddux pitched six innings, giving up five hits, striking out seven and uncharacteristically walking three, one intentionally.


Florida starter Kevin Brown got the win, giving up five hits and three earned runs in six innings.


The Marlins got the right bounce often, beginning in the first inning.


With one out, Edgar Renteria singled to center and stole second. Then Gary Sheffield walked, shocking Brave fans. Maddux walked only 20 batters all season.


But after Bobby Bonilla struck out, Jeff Conine hit a grounder directly at first baseman Fred McGriff and it seemed Maddux would get out of the inning.


McGriff mishandled the ball as it rolled between his legs, but Marlin third-base coach Rich Donnelly held Renteria at third.


Alou came through with another clutch, two-out hit for the Marlins, who had many in sweeping the San Francisco Giants in the division series. The ball bounced past third baseman Chipper Jones for a three-run double.


Maddux struck out Charles Johnson to wind up striking out the side, but the Marlins had scored three unearned runs. "It was just one of those things," Maddux said. "The ball just kind of caught Chipper in a tough spot. He usually makes that play."


Alou began the championship series in a slump despite getting the game-winning hit in the bottom of the ninth in Game 2 of the division series against San Francisco. He had three hits in 14 at-bats in the playoffs when he faced Maddux in the first Tuesday.


"I never felt any pressure because we won the other games," Alou said. "My teammates had picked me up and now I had the chance to help them. I didn't crush the ball, but I caught a break."


Luck, however, wasn't on the Braves' side Tuesday.


In the third, Sheffield led off with a fly ball to right-center that center fielder Kenny Lofton dropped for a three-base error.


Bonilla walked, which came back to frustrate Maddux again.


With two on and one out, Alou grounded out to score Sheffield, giving him his fourth RBI. Johnson drove in the Marlins' fifth unearned run with a double to left.