Even when Kris Medlen felt out of sorts in the early going, he protected a lead for the Atlanta Braves. And when the right-hander finally found his groove, outs came quickly.
Medlen allowed only an unearned run in seven innings Tuesday night, and the Braves earned their fifth consecutive victory by beating the punchless Miami Marlins 3-2.
Announced attendance was 14,222, the smallest crowd at Marlins Park since it opened a year ago.
Medlen, who went 10-1 last year but lost his first start this season, retired the final 10 batters he faced and needed only 24 pitches in his last three innings.
“Once the adrenaline wore off, I was able to calm down and make some better pitches,” he said. “That felt like the old me. I was just mixing in pitches better and executing better. I felt like I was all over the place the first couple of innings.”
The Braves improved to 7-1, their best start since 2007. The Marlins fell to 1-7 with their fourth consecutive defeat, and they’re off to their worst start since the 1998 team began the season 1-11.
Atlanta’s Evan Gattis hit his second home run, and Justin Upton doubled home a run.
Craig Kimbrel pitched around a leadoff walk in the ninth for his fourth save in as many chances to complete a four-hitter. Atlanta has allowed six hits and two runs in the first two games of the series.
PHILLIES 8, METS 3: Michael Young and Ryan Howard homered, Cliff Lee came within one out of a complete game and Philadelphia beat New York. John Mayberry Jr. also went deep for Philadelphia and Young had three hits, missing the cycle by a double. Lee (2-0) allowed three runs — two earned — and eight hits. He struck out six in 8 2-3 innings. The 2008 AL Cy Young Award winner didn’t win his second game until July 31 last year. John Buck hit his fourth homer in eight games for the Mets.
PADRES 9, DODGERS 3: Will Venable homered and hit a bases-loaded triple for San Diego to help the Padres win their home opener against Los Angeles. Venable tied his career high with four RBIs. He homered in the first and his two-out triple highlighted a five-run eighth against three Dodgers relievers. The Padres sent 11 batters to the plate that inning, five of whom walked. Luke Gregerson (1-0) got the last out of the seventh, the only batter he faced, for the win.
CUBS 6, BREWERS 3: Pinch-hitter Scott Hairston had a go-ahead sacrifice fly in the eighth inning and David DeJesus added a two-run single, lifting Chicago over Milwaukee. Carlos Marmol (1-1) pitched a scoreless eighth. Kyuji Fujikawa worked a scoreless ninth for his second save, stranding two runners when he got Jonathan Lucroy to pop out. One day after being demoted as the Brewers’ closer, John Axford (0-2) took the loss after giving up three runs in two-thirds of an inning. Brewers manager Ron Roenicke was in the dugout after spending part of the day at a hospital emergency room because of back pain.
CARDINALS 5, REDS 1: Lance Lynn (1-0) struck out 10 in six sharp innings and rookie Matt Adams connected for his first career pinch-hit homer as St. Louis beat Cincinnati. Reds starter Bronson Arroyo (1-1) retired the first 15 batters. The Cardinals broke through in the sixth, with Adams hitting a two-run homer and Allen Craig and Carlos Beltran also driving in runs. Brandon Phillips had a sacrifice fly and Shin-Soo Choo had two hits for Cincinnati.
GIANTS 9, ROCKIES 6: Angel Pagan hit a tiebreaking single in the eighth inning to cap San Francisco’s rally from a four-run deficit and the Giants went on to beat Colorado for the eighth straight time. Brandon Crawford hit a three-run homer to start the comeback and Hunter Pence had a pair of RBI singles for the Giants. Dexter Fowler and Josh Rutledge each drove in two runs in a five-run second inning against Tim Lincecum, and Troy Tulowitzki added a solo homer to help the Rockies build a 6-2 lead. But the Giants scored four runs in the sixth to tie the game and then won it in the eighth against Matt Belisle (0-1).
NATIONALS 8, WHITE SOX 7: Adam LaRoche ended an 0-for-15 start to the season with homers in consecutive at-bats, Jayson Werth and Ian Desmond also homered, and Washington opened the series by edging Chicago. Werth and LaRoche hit two-run shots off Jake Peavy (1-1) in the sixth, an inning after Desmond went deep. LaRoche added a solo homer off Matt Thornton in the eighth. That allowed Washington to hold on even though Alex Rios hit a two-run shot off closer Rafael Soriano with two outs in the ninth. Soriano got Paul Konerko to fly out to end it and record his third save in four chances.
YANKEES 14, INDIANS 1: Robinson Cano hit one of New York’s five homers and drove in five runs, Andy Pettitte pitched seven solid innings and the Yankees romped over Cleveland, which had starter Carlos Carrasco ejected from his first appearance since 2011. The 40-year-old Pettitte (2-0) allowed one run and five hits in his second strong start. Cano hit a two-run double in the second off Carrasco (0-1) and connected for his third homer in two days in the fourth. Following Cano’s two-run homer, Carrasco, who just served a five-game suspension for throwing at a hitter in 2011, drilled Kevin Youkilis in the shoulder with a pitch and got tossed. He missed all of last season with an elbow injury.
TIGERS 7, BLUE JAYS 3: Reigning AL MVP Miguel Cabrera hit his first homer of the season and drove in four runs, left fielder Don Kelly made a home run-robbing catch and Detroit beat Toronto. The Blue Jays, who spent millions during the winter to upgrade their roster, fell to 2-5 for their worst start since 2004. Torii Hunter had three hits, including the 2,000th of his career, and Alex Avila homered for the Tigers. Anibal Sanchez (1-0) struck out eight in seven innings to earn the win. Brandon Morrow (0-1) gave up five runs and nine hits in 3 2-3 innings.
RANGERS 6, RAYS 1: Nick Tepesch pitched into the eighth inning in his major league debut, Lance Berkman had a key two-run single among three hits and Texas beat Tampa Bay. Tepesch retired 12 straight batters before hesitating to pick up a slow roller from Kelly Johnson that went for a one-out single in the eighth. The 24-year-old right-hander left to a standing ovation after Desmond Jennings followed with his second double of the game. Tepesch (1-0) allowed four hits and a run with three walks and five strikeouts.
ROYALS 7, TWINS 4: Jeremy Guthrie won his career-best seventh straight decision, dating to last season, and Alcides Escobar had three hits and an RBI as Kansas City beat Minnesota. The Royals, who had not scored in the first two innings in their first seven games, sent nine to the plate in a five-run first. Mike Pelfrey (1-1) gave up hits to the first five batters he faced. Joe Mauer, Josh Willingham and Eduardo Escobar each hit solo homers to keep the Twins close. Greg Holland picked up the save, but not before walking two and giving up a single to Escobar, his third hit, to load the bases. He struck out Mauer to end the game.
ATHLETICS 9, ANGELS 5: Pinch-hitter John Jaso had a go-ahead, three-run homer in the seventh inning, and Oakland blew a four-run lead before rallying to beat Los Angeles. Brandon Moss had three hits and drove in four runs, delivering an early two-run single before adding a two-run homer after Jaso’s shot. Coco Crisp also hit his fourth homer for the A’s, who have won six straight after an 0-2 start. Josh Hamilton went 0-for-4 with a sacrifice fly in his home debut for the big-budget Angels, who dropped to 2-5. Prior to the game, the Angels learned they will be without ace Jered Weaver, who will miss at least a month with a broken elbow.
ASTROS 16, MARINERS 9: Jose Altuve drove in four runs and hit one of Houston’s five homers, and the Astros broke out of their offensive slump in a big way against Seattle. After totaling nine runs during a six-game losing streak, the Astros scored nine in two innings and won for the first time since opening night. The smallest crowd in Safeco Field history (10,745) saw the Astros batter rookie starter Brandon Maurer (0-2) and continue their outburst against reliever Kameron Loe. By the time Loe was replaced after the third inning, the Astros led 11-0 and had 13 hits. Chris Carter homered twice for his first multi-homer game. J.D. Martinez and Marwin Gonzalez also connected for Houston.
The Astros entered the night with just two homers and 17 runs all season.