Marlins’ David Phelps returns from DL, but Braves make most of his return, put heat on standings

>> Click here to view on a mobile device Miami pitcher David Phelps allowed two runs in three innings, and the Atlanta Braves downed the Miami Marlins 6-3 in the opener of a key…

Marlins’ David Phelps returns from DL, but Braves make most of his return, put heat on standings

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Miami pitcher David Phelps allowed two runs in three innings, and the Atlanta Braves downed the Miami Marlins 6-3 in the opener of a key four-game series at Marlins Park.

Charlie Culberson and Kurt Suzuki each drove in two runs for the Braves, who have won the first two of the series, which continues Friday.

Atlanta, now 15-2 at Marlins Park this season, fell behind 3-1 in the first inning, but won by holding Miami to two runs in the final four innings.

A two-run homer by Nicholas Castellanos, his eighth homer in his last nine games, highlighted a three-run third inning for the Marlins.

Atlanta picked up two insurance runs in the sixth, on a bloop single by Culberson that scored Brandon Phillips, who was on first base.

The loss dropped Miami to 6-17 since May 11, when the team climbed back into playoff contention by reeling off 11 consecutive wins.

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The Braves went ahead 1-0 in the second on a single by first baseman Freddie Freeman, who has been struggling at the plate but knocked in a run during the rally.

Miami cut into the deficit in the third. After Jose Urena walked the first two batters, he sacrificed them into scoring position with a bunt. Justin Bour grounded into a double play, driving in Justin Bour to tie the game.

Emilio Bonifacio, starting at first base because of an illness, later drove in Urena with a triple to right field, giving the Marlins a 3-1 lead.

McCutchen, now in his 11th season, collected his first RBI since April 21, when he drove in a run against Cincinnati.

McCutchen went 1-for-4, scored a run and hit a double.

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Atlanta regained the lead in the bottom of the inning, when Culberson led off with a double. After Jason Heyward grounded into a fielder’s choice, Culberson advanced to third on a wild pitch. After the Braves were unsuccessful in two tries to run runners over, Culberson scored on an infield single by Kurt Suzuki.

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Phelps surrendered two runs in the third to put the Braves in front 4-3. Marlins starter Paul Clemens had retired the first two batters of the inning before Justin Bour singled into center field. Clemens hit B.J. Upton with a pitch and then struck out Joey Terdoslavich to make it first and third. But Freeman worked the count full and lined a double to right field, scoring the game’s first run.

Marlins reliever Luke Gregerson came on to face Phillips, who bounced a single up the middle to put runners on the corners. But Bour struck out swinging at a pitch in the dirt to end the inning.

Marlins manager Don Mattingly pulled Clemens after facing only four batters in the third. The Miami right-hander walked Ramos to lead off the fourth and then surrendered RBI hits to Heyward and

Culberson to make it 6-3.

Clemens did not factor into the decision, as the Braves loaded the bases in the eighth but were unable to push across a run. Marlins reliever Carlos Avilan began the inning by intentionally walking Freeman, and hit Simmons to force in a run before walking A.J. Pierzynski to bring the tying run to the plate.

Miami’s bullpen gave up a run in the ninth but recorded its second save of the season.

Phelps struck out three, but allowed six hits, including a double and an RBI single to McCutchen.

Be sure to join Washington Post beat writer Jeff Seidel for Thursday morning’s doubleheader. Seidel and anchor Todd Dybas will be streaming the games live on Pregame.com. Read all postgame coverage here.

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