Jesus Luzardo pitched six scoreless innings and matched his career high with 12 strikeouts to lead the host Miami Marlins to a 4-0 win over Atlanta on Monday, preventing the Braves from clinching the National League East title.
Atlanta’s magic number to clinch its fifth straight division championship remained at one. The New York Mets had their scheduled Monday game against the visiting Washington Nationals postponed due to rain. An Atlanta win or a New York loss would give the title and No. 2 NL playoff seed to the Braves.
Luzardo (4-7) allowed four hits and one walk while fanning a dozen. He also struck out 12 on April 12 against the Los Angeles Angels. It was Luzardo’s first win since Aug. 7, ending a nine-start stretch in which he went 0-3 despite a respectable 3.71 ERA.
The Marlins improved to 5-12 against the Braves, with Luzardo having earned two of the victories.
Miami relievers Jeff Brigham, Bryan Hoeing and Richard Bleier tossed one perfect inning apiece to nail down the Marlins’ 10th shutout of the season.
The offense was largely provided by Bryan De La Cruz. The center fielder went 3-for-4 with an RBI double and a two-run homer. In 23 games since being recalled from Triple-A Jacksonville on Sept. 7, he is batting .390 (30-for-77) with 15 runs, nine doubles, six homers and 22 RBIs.
The losing pitcher was Bryce Elder (2-4), who surrendered four runs on six hits and one walk in five innings. He struck out five. Elder finishes the season 0-2 with a 2.78 ERA in four starts against Miami.
The Marlins scored two runs in the first inning on a single by Jon Berti and run-scoring doubles by De La Cruz and Jesus Sanchez.
Miami made it 4-0 in the third when De La Cruz hit a two-run shot that just eluded center fielder Michael Harris II, hit the top of the fence and bounced over for his 13th home run.
The Braves had won eight straight games against the Marlins and swept the teams’ two most recent series.