(SportsNetwork.com) - The Miami Marlins will try to sweep the Atlanta Braves in a three-game series at home for the first time in almost eight years as the NL East rivals square off on Thursday night.
The Marlins have broken out their bats over the first two games of this set and matched it with solid pitching to move to 13-14 on the year. Jose Fernandez hurled eight scoreless innings in Tuesday's 9-0 win before Nathan Eovaldi scattered a run over seven frames of last night's 9-3 decision.
Eovaldi yielded three hits and fanned five.
"Just attack, stay on them and keep attacking. Get the guys back into the dugout and fast as possible," Eovaldi said. "We got a big lead and I wasn't afraid to give up a run or two. You just have to keep pounding the strike zone."
That big lead came thanks to a three-run homer off the bat of Marcell Ozuna and Christian Yelich's two-run shot. Garrett Jones added a pair of RBI as well.
All the damage came off Atlanta starter Aaron Harang, who came into the game with an MLB-leading 0.85 earned run average, but saw that jump to 2.97 after giving up all nine runs over 4 2/3 frames.
"Pitch here, pitch there and all of a sudden he gets into better counts. I think he got frustrated," said Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez. "As a competitor and a pitcher pitching pretty good, you don't like to give up a lot of runs."
Atlanta, which got a late two-run homer from Justin Upton, had won four in a row before this series, while Miami has won three of its last four.
The Marlins sit 11-4 at home compared to 2-10 on the road and will try for their first three-game sweep over the Braves as the hosting club since June 13-15, 2006.
Miami did take all three games of a series in Atlanta from April 14-16, but are just 6-15 all-time at Marlins Park versus the Braves.
Henderson Alvarez hopes to pitch the Marlins to the sweep and extend his unbeaten streak to four straight games, a run that follows an 0-2 start.
The right-hander has sandwiched a pair of no-decisions around a two-hit shutout of Seattle on April 19. Alvarez followed up that outing against the New York Mets on Friday, giving up two runs on six hits and two walks over six innings.
Alvarez, 24, is 0-2 with a 6.86 ERA in his career versus the Braves, while Ervin Santana will counter looking to beat the Marlins for the first time. He is 0-2 with a 6.59 ERA against them.
The 31-year-old righty is undefeated on the year at 3-0 with a 1.95 ERA for the Braves and had allowed just two runs over his first three starts before yielding four in a 5-4 win over Cincinnati on Friday. Santana struck out seven over 6 2/3 innings.