Braves 3, Marlins 1
ATLANTA -- Buddy Carlyle had just pitched the best game of his journeyman career. So, what was his reward when he got back to the Atlanta clubhouse?
A return trip to a place he knows all too well -- the minor leagues.
Carlyle, scuffling along with his seventh organization, allowed only one hit in seven innings for his first win since 1999, leading Atlanta past the Florida Marlins 3-1 on Tuesday in a doubleheader opener.
Carlyle barely had time to savor the win -- just the second of his career -- before he was given the bad news by manager Bobby Cox.
"I can't say I'm not disappointed," said Carlyle, who was optioned to Richmond. "We play the game to be in a clubhouse like this. Obviously, I'm disappointed. But there's nothing I can do about it."
If nothing else, he's much more appreciative of this win than the first one, which came with San Diego nearly eight years ago.
"When you're young and stupid, you don't realize how fortunate you are to be up here," Carlyle said. "This win means 10,000 times more than the other one. I know what a privilege it is to play at this level."
The right-hander went 7 years, 269 days between wins, the longest among active pitchers until he was farmed out, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Aaron Boone had the lone hit off Carlyle, a third-inning homer that stood until the seventh. The Braves finally broke through with back-to-back homers, starting with Jarrod Saltalamacchia's two-run shot. Five pitches later, pinch-hitter Chris Woodward went deep, too.
"I was thinking the last thing I need to do is hit the ball on the ground for a double play," Saltalamacchia said. "Hit it in the gap somewhere and give us a chance to tie the ballgame. The first pitch I saw, I liked. So I swung."
Florida's Sergio Mitre, pitching with a sore right hamstring, gave the Marlins more than they hoped for by throwing five scoreless innings. He left after 58 pitches, allowing four hits, striking out three and extending his streak without allowing an earned run to 23 2/3 innings.
"I wish I could have stayed out there longer," he said. "We were just trying to be careful."
After Saltalamacchia hit his second career homer off Renyel Pinto (0-3), one of the first players to congratulate the rookie catcher was Carlyle.
Carlyle was only 21 when he earned his first win with San Diego, but his rapid rise to the majors quickly stalled. He bounced from one organization to another, including a stint in the Marlins' system last season, and also pitched two years in Japan.
Now 29, Carlyle signed with the Braves as a minor league free agent during the winter and started the season at Triple-A Richmond. When the Braves' rotation was hit by injuries, the right-hander was called up to fill the void.
"I've been playing a long time," Carlyle said. "I went through a lot of different places to get back here."
He was roughed up in his first Atlanta start, giving up five runs over four innings in a loss to Philadelphia. Carlyle made the most of his second chance when the Braves met the Marlins in the makeup of an April 14 rainout before the regularly scheduled game in the evening.
Not even a 26-minute rain delay, which halted the game in the top of the eighth, was enough to dampen Carlyle's performance.
His only big mistake came in the third, when he served up a 2-2 pitch that Boone drove over the left-field wall. That one hit held for much of the game.
Carlyle walked three, but two of them were thrown out by Saltalamacchia attempting to steal second and the other was erased on a double play in the seventh.
"I didn't throw a lot of great pitches," Carlyle conceded. "They hit some line drives that were right at somebody. Salty made a couple of nice throws from behind the plate. And that was a big double play in the seventh. I was laboring a little bit."
Boone was the only player to get as far as second against Carlyle. In addition to his homer, he was hit by a pitch and bunted to second by Mitre, but Carlyle retired the next two hitters. ... The Braves hit back-to-back homers for the second time this season. ... Woodward's pinch-hit homer was the second of his career. His first came in 2005.