MIAMI — Rick VandenHurk went to the minors for three and a half months and came back this week with a slider that was good enough to baffle the Atlanta Braves.
Not that the Braves fared much better once VandenHurk left — he and three relievers combined to one-hit them 4-0 Tuesday night.
VandenHurk (1-1), recalled Monday from Double-A Carolina, pitched five hitless innings for his first win since Aug. 23. He walked five and left the game after throwing 94 pitches, many of them sliders.
"I used it tonight and just tried to throw something off-speed that I could throw for strikes consistently," VandenHurk said.
He also mixed in a curveball and fastball that topped out at 95 mph.
The Braves were one-hit for the second time in 15 days. It also happened July 7 against Hiroki Kuroda of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
VandenHurk limited the Braves to one hit last June in six shutout innings, and gave up one run in five innings against them in August.
"One time he’s up, the next time he paints the corner. He was very effectively wild," said the Braves’ Jeff Francoeur, who went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts.
The one-hit performance was the best by Florida since Anibal Sanchez threw a no-hitter against Arizona on Sept. 6, 2006. The one-hitter was the ninth for the Marlins, and they’ve thrown four no-hitters.
Once VandenHurk departed, Chipper Jones led off the sixth with a line-drive single up the middle off Joe Nelson, who was self-deprecating afterward, and pretended to blame catcher John Baker.
"Nice pitch selection, you jerk," Nelson told Baker as he walked past him in the clubhouse after the game.
"Nellie screwed up, you know?" Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez said with a smile.
After Jones reached, Nelson retired the next three batters. Renyel Pinto pitched two perfect innings, and Matt Lindstrom followed with a 1-2-3 ninth.
"I was jokingly going to ask Fredi for the scorecard, because I’ve never been part of a one-hitter," Nelson said. "Unfortunately the box score is going to say I was the one who gave it up. You know what? That’s fine. We won the game."
The game’s first hit — Jacobs’ homer — came in the fourth inning on the 151st pitch. Charlie Morton (2-3) walked Jorge Cantu and Dan Uggla, and with two out Jacobs hit his 20th homer.
Florida had only three other hits. Royce Ring walked Baker with the bases loaded to force in a run in the sixth. Hanley Ramirez broke an 0-for-15 slide, his longest hitless streak this season, when he singled in the seventh.
Morton allowed two hits and four runs in 5 2-3 innings.
The Braves were without manager Bobby Cox, who served a one-game suspension for a tirade he threw in Sunday’s loss to the Washington Nationals.
With the game scoreless, VandenHurk got into a jam when he walked three in a row to start the fourth inning. He struck out Francoeur and Johnson, and Mark Kotsay popped out.
"He gave us a chance, and we didn’t take advantage of it," Cox said.
Atlanta’s Mark Teixera hit a ball into the right-field stands barely foul with a runner on in that inning.
VandenHurk was sent to the minors in early April after giving up seven runs in 5 1-3 innings in his first two starts of the season. He was recalled to replace left-hander Andrew Miller, who was placed on the disabled list last week because of a sore knee.
"He’s a pretty big guy, hard thrower, kind of lets it fly, and I think we were maybe a little too aggressive," said Johnson, who went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts. "He’s a guy we had on the hook, and we didn’t do it."
Notes: Braves SS Yunel Escobar (sore left shoulder) was in the lineup for the first time since July 9 and went 0-for-4. ... Marlins C Matt Treanor (hip) took batting practice for the second day in a row. ... Gonzalez said Miller (right knee) looked fine throwing on back to back days.