MIAMI - The Atlanta Braves have been at their best this year at Marlins Park and were again in the first inning Friday, scoring four runs against Miami ace Jose Fernandez.
"When you score four off of Fernandez in the first inning, you feel pretty darn good, because he doesn't give up four in three starts," Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez said.
But the Braves couldn't hold the lead, their late rally fell short, and they lost in Miami for the first time this year, 12-11.
Fernandez overcame a rough start and became the first pitcher in the modern era to win his first 17 career home decisions. He gave up a homer to Nick Markakis to start the game and tied a career high by allowing six earned runs in five innings.
But the Marlins rallied with four runs in the first, led 11-4 by the fourth inning and totaled 20 hits in the matchup of the majors' two lowest-scoring teams.
"It was definitely an interesting game," said Freddie Freeman, who hit his 18th homer and singled twice for Atlanta.
Hector Olivera and Michael Bourn also had three hits apiece for the Braves, who fell to 6-1 this year at Marlins Park. They're 56-91 everywhere else.
Fernandez (6-0) needed 96 pitches to make it through five innings and qualify for the victory, which made him 17-0 in 26 home starts over his three-year career.
Kyle Barraclough preserved the one-run lead by coming on to retire two batters with the bases loaded in the eighth. A.J. Ramos pitched around a leadoff single in the ninth for his 30th save, while Fernandez watched from the dugout.
"The last two innings I thought I was going to eat my whole finger," he said. "I was pretty nervous."
Fernandez hit 98 mph several times on the radar gun and walked only one. But there were few swings and misses from the Braves, and they reached the right-hander for six runs and nine hits - his highest totals in 10 starts since returning from Tommy John surgery.
His ERA rose from 2.18 to 2.91.
"He threw some pitches over the plate, and we were able to put the barrel on the ball," Freeman said. "That usually doesn't happen against him."
Ryan Weber (0-2) was worse. He allowed seven runs in two-plus innings for the Braves.
"I didn't have anything downhill, no real sink," he said. "The only thing I threw for strikes was my curveball."
Atlanta led after only three pitches from Fernandez when Markakis hit his third homer in 583 at-bats. The next four batters singled, and soon the Braves led 4-0.
Miami quickly answered. The first five batters reached on hits, including Bour, who hit a three-run homer. The Marlins took the lead for good in the third when backup catcher Jeff Mathis greeted reliever Ryan Kelly with a three-run triple.
Freeman reached base four times while playing despite a sore right wrist.
"It's still painful, but I try not to think about it and go out and play," he said. "I'm going out there and giving it my best effort."
Braves RHP Julio Teheran (10-7, 4.20) is scheduled to start Saturday against rookie LHP Justin Nicolino (3-4, 4.50).