MIAMI — A comfortable win before a small, subdued crowd is as much excitement as the Atlanta Braves want in the final days of the race for a playoff berth.
Rookie Randall Delgado pitched five innings for his first major-league win Tuesday night, and the Braves put the brakes on their recent skid by beating the Florida Marlins 4-0.
Atlanta began the night leading St. Louis by 2½ games in the NL wild-card race after blowing a ninth-inning lead to lose Monday.
“It was an important victory for the team,” said Delgado (1-1). “There was a little pressure, but after a couple of innings I forgot about that.”
The 21-year-old right-hander, making his sixth career start, pitched around five hits and lowered his ERA to 2.70.
“What impresses you about him is he expects to go out there and do that,” catcher Brian McCann said. “He’s not intimidated. To have that mindset at a young age is very, very impressive.”
The announced attendance was 21,733 fans, and with the turnout perhaps half that total, Florida gave fans little to cheer about. Cristhian Martinez and Anthony Vavaro both retired six consecutive batters to complete the 16th shutout for Atlanta, which ties for third-most in the majors.
The Braves won for only the seventh time in their past 19 games.
“Tonight was a big game,” McCann said. “There are always teams fighting for that playoff spot; that’s why this time of year is the best time in sports. We sit at the top of the wild card. We’ve just got to continue to win games.”
Freddie Freeman hit his 20th home run. Alex Gonzalez hit his 15th but left the game in the sixth inning with a strained right calf. His status is day to day.
Martin Prado drove in a run and had three of the Braves’ 11 hits. Michael Bourn contributed his 56th stolen base, most in the majors, and his 34th double.
The Marlins went 0 for 3 with runners in scoring position, leaving them 0 for 11 in the series in those situations. Florida fell to 1-7 at home against Atlanta this year.