Freeman's three RBIs lead rallying Braves
Sizzling first baseman homers; Pastornicky logs four hits
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Chipper Jones brought out the lineup card prior to Thursday's game between the Braves and Marlins, a nod to the star's announcement he'd be retiring at season's end. The Braves' great then watched as the team's other starting corner infielder, Freddie Freeman, did his best to give his teammate a victory.
Freeman has now hit in five of his last six games, doubling, homering and singling to drive in three runs as the Braves and Marlins played to a 5-5 standoff in 10 innings at Champion Stadium.
Nick Green's RBI double in the ninth off Dusty Hughes had broken a 4-4 deadlock and given the Marlins the lead, but in the bottom of the frame, Jordan Parraz led off with a double, moved to third on Martin Prado's sacrifice bunt and scored the tying run on a passed ball charged to Luke Montz.
Jose Reyes was signed by the Marlins to inject some energy at the top of the lineup, and he did just that. The shortstop doubled to open the game, moved to third on a wild pitch by Braves starter Brandon Beachy, and scored on Omar Infante's sacrifice fly.
The lead didn't last long as the Braves tied it up in the home half of the first. Freeman's double scored Prado from first base.
Reyes started another rally in the third with a one-out single off of Beachy. Infante's single moved him to third and Hanley Ramirez, who had two hits on the day, had an infield single to load the bases. John Buck singled in Reyes to give the Marlins a 2-1 lead. Bryan Petersen's fielder's choice gave Miami a two-run cushion. Terry Tiffee's solo homer in the fourth made it 4-1.
Beachy went five innings, allowing four earned runs on nine hits. He walked one and struck out five.
The Braves cut into the lead in the bottom of the fourth, when Eric Hinske led off with a double against Marlins starter Ricky Nolasco. He scored on Tyler Pastornicky's two-out squibber in front of home plate, an infield single for the rookie shortstop. Pastornicky finished with four hits.
Nolasco pitched into the fifth for the Marlins, leaving with one out and Prado on first base. Chad Gaudin came in and served up Freeman's homer, a two-run shot that tied the game. The double and home run were Freeman's first extra-base hits of the spring.
"Obviously, I wanted to go at least five, but I was having trouble putting guys away when I got ahead," said Nolasco, who was charged with three earned runs total on five hits and two walks, while striking out three. "Those are things that we're here for, to work on those things and try to get pitches sharp."
Up next for the Braves: Mike Minor will put his scoreless streak on the line when the Braves play host to the New York Mets on Friday at 1:05 p.m. ET. The left-hander has made four appearances, spanning 14 innings, without allowing a run, as he competes for a spot in Atlanta's rotation. Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez will continue to give his regulars extended playing time, including a return to the lineup by Jones, who didn't play Thursday following his announcement that he will retire at the end of the 2012 season.