MIAMI (SportsDirect Inc.) – As Dee Gordon closes out his first season with the Miami Marlins, the second baseman can enter the offseason knowing he did everything he could have hoped for to make the Marlins contenders. Gordon enters Saturday's middle-contest of a three-game home series against the Atlanta Braves needing seven hits in his final eight games to become the third Miami player to reach 200 hits in a season.
Gordon is hitting .332 on the season, ranking second to Washington's Bryce Harper (.336) in the race for the National League batting crown, and his 54 stolen bases sits three behind league leader Billy Hamilton of Cincinnati. He got plenty of offensive help in the series opener as Miami banged out 20 hits – one off its season high – as the Marlins outslugged Atlanta in a 12-11 shootout. Freddie Freeman stayed hot for the Braves as Atlanta lost for the first time in seven contests at Marlins Park this season. Freeman improved to 9-for-22 with five runs scored, two homers and 10 RBIs in his past seven games while Atlanta third baseman Hector Olivera collected three hits and is 8-for-22 in his last six contests.
TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, FSN South (Atlanta), FSN Florida (Miami)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Braves RH Julio Teheran (10-7, 4.20 ERA) vs. Marlins LH Justin Nicolino (3-4, 4.50)
Teheran has been outstanding in four September starts, posting a 1.67 ERA in continuing his overall strong second half. He carried a perfect game into the seventh inning Sunday against the Phillies, getting a no-decision after allowing one run on five hits in 8 1/3 innings. Teheran is 1-0 with a 2.45 ERA in three starts versus Miami this season and is 5-1 against the Marlins in 11 career starts with a 2.69 ERA.
Nicolino has averaged six innings per appearance in his first 10 major-league starts but has struggled since opening September with a victory over the Braves. He gave up five runs on nine hits in 4 1/3 innings Sept. 7 against Milwaukee and surrendered seven runs on seven hits in 5 2/3 innings Sunday at Washington. Nicolino pitched six shutout innings Sept. 1 in Atlanta, holding the Braves to six hits.
- Atlanta rookie 3B/OF Adonis Garcia doubled home two runs in the eighth inning Friday and has 12 doubles, eight homers and 23 RBIs while batting .278 in 169 at-bats.
- Marlins 1B Justin Boer broke his 0-for-28 skid with a homer, double and single Friday.
- Freeman has belted 10 homers and driven in 41 runs in 87 career appearances against Miami.
PREDICTION: Braves 4, Marlins 2
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