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Florida at Atlanta

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Florida100000000180
Atlanta «00215010x9110

Braves 9, Marlins 1

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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ATLANTA -- Less than two weeks ago, the Atlanta Braves were on the verge of falling 10 games behind in the NL East.

Well, look who's back in the thick of things.

Yep, the team that's won 14 consecutive division titles.

Jeff Francoeur hit two more homers, Jorge Sosa picked up his first win and Atlanta finally had an easy one against the Florida Marlins, winning 9-1 Thursday to complete a four-game sweep.

With their ninth victory in 11 games, the Braves (21-20) moved above .500 for the first time since April 7 and closed within 3½ games of the first-place New York Mets in NL East.

Francoeur, who came up to the Braves a year ago at midseason, is getting an idea of how they do things in Atlanta.

"From what I hear, we've always been a slow-starting team," the 22-year-old outfielder said after extending his career-best hitting streak to 16 games. "I've never been through it myself, but hopefully we're coming together now."

On May 7, the Braves were nine games back and trying to avoid getting swept by New York. They won that game 13-3, sparking the streak that turned the East into the expected three-team race. Second-place Philadelphia is only 1½ games ahead of Atlanta.

"We can't worry about those guys," Andruw Jones said. "We've just got to worry about ourselves."

They had no worries against the Marlins.

Chipper Jones, who hit a walk-off three-run homer in the 11th inning the previous night, picked up three more RBI. His two-run single in the fifth gave the Braves a 5-1 lead, then Francoeur and Matt Diaz put it out reach by homering on consecutive pitches.

Francoeur wasn't done. He homered again in the seventh, his 10th of the season, and looks like the player who made such a dazzling debut last season.

Actually, Francoeur feels like he's a much better hitter than he was during his brilliant rookie season.

"I'm seeing tougher pitches to hit," he said. "Last year, I was getting a lot of fastballs. This year, I'm working the count. My second homer came on a 2-2 slider. Last year, I probably would have grounded out on that pitch."

Sosa (1-5) was one of baseball's biggest surprises last year, when he went 13-3 with a 2.55 ERA. But he's been a major disappointment this season, coming into Thursday's start with a 6.52 ERA and well aware of speculation that he'll be yanked from the rotation as soon as everyone gets healthy.

The last-place Marlins, who are on pace to go 46-116, were just what Sosa needed to turn things around. He gave up a homer to Reggie Abercrombie on the seventh pitch of the game, but bounced back to go a season-high 6 2/3 innings.

Sosa allowed six hits, struck out eight and didn't walk anyone.

"I'm very relaxed now," he said through an interpreter. "I was concentrating on making my pitches in the lower part, nothing high. My curve was working perfectly, my slider was good, too, and my fastball was real fast, 95 miles per hour. That's a good combination."

Like Sosa, Francoeur got off to a miserable start this season, with only two hits in his first 36 at-bats. He's turned things around by going 26-of-74 (.351) with six homers during his hitting streak.

He kept it going with a leadoff double in the fourth, then hit a two-run homer off Scott Olsen (2-3) the next inning to make it 7-1.

The next pitch was Olsen's last. Diaz lined his second homer in three days into the left-field seats, knocking out the Marlins starter with a dismal line: 4 2/3 innings, eight hits and eight runs.

Diaz, who platoons in left field with Ryan Langerhans, is on a 16-of-26 roll and already has a career-best 11 RBI. He also made the best defensive play of the game, cutting off a liner into the left-field corner and throwing out Michael Jacobs trying to stretch the hit into a double.

"This is the most fun I've had since I was playing high school ball," Diaz said.

The Marlins are having no fun at all, though it's to be expected after they dumped all their high-salaried players and fielded a team that would probably be better off with another year of Triple-A experience.

Atlanta rallied to win the first three games of the series, overcoming a five-run deficit on Monday before pulling off nearly identical wins the next two nights. Both times, the Braves tied it up in the ninth, then won in the 11th after Florida went ahead in the top half.

"Tomorrow is a new day, a new series and new faces," Marlins manager Joe Girardi said. "We'll bounce back. We have no choice."

Notes

Francoeur had his second two-homer game of the season and third of his young major league career, which is still less than a year old. ... The consecutive homers by Francoeur and Diaz marked the third time this year the Braves have gone back to back. ... Florida dropped to 3-19 at Turner Field since the beginning of the 2004 season. ... Compounding the Marlins' misery: right fielder Joe Borchard lost a routine fly ball in the sun, giving Diaz a gift triple in the seventh. ... Marcus Giles scored for the Braves on a wild pitch in the third.

 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Players of the Game
Atlanta

J. Francoeur
AB 4
R 3
H 3
HR 2
RBI 3
Atlanta

J. Sosa
IP 6.2
H 6
ER 1
BB 0
K 8
 
Florida Marlins
Dan Uggla, 2B4000030 .312
Reggie Abercrombie, CF4111000 .250
Miguel Cabrera, 3B4020020 .333
Josh Willingham, LF4010011 .285
Joe Borchard, RF4000002 .217
    Renyel Pinto, P0000000 .000
Mike Jacobs, 1B4020000 .221
Matt Treanor, C2010010 .229
   a- Miguel Olivo, PH-C1000000 .240
Robert Andino, SS4010012 .111
Scott Olsen, P2000012 .000
    Matt Herges, P0000000 .000
   b- Wes Helms, PH1000002 .239
    Todd Wellemeyer, P0000000 .000
    Chris Aguila, RF0000000 .230
Totals34181099 
a-hit by pitch for Treanor in the 7th
b-flied out for Herges in the 7th
Batting
2B - Miguel Cabrera (15, Sosa), Robert Andino (1, Sosa)
HR - Reggie Abercrombie (3, Sosa)
RBI - Reggie Abercrombie (11)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
DP - Cabrera-Uggla-Jacobs
Florida Marlins
Scott Olsen (L,2-3) 4.2888272 6.55
Matt Herges 1.1000100 5.48
Todd Wellemeyer 1211011 4.82
Renyel Pinto 1100110 0.00
WP - Scott Olsen (2)
Pitches-Strikes - Scott Olsen 87-56, Matt Herges 17-10, Todd Wellemeyer 19-12, Renyel Pinto 20-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Scott Olsen 3-4, Matt Herges 3-1, Todd Wellemeyer 1-1, Renyel Pinto 1-0
Batters Faced - Scott Olsen 24, Matt Herges 5, Todd Wellemeyer 5, Renyel Pinto 4
Atlanta Braves
Marcus Giles, 2B4220112 .242
    Pete Orr, 2B0000000 .213
Edgar Renteria, SS4110112 .333
    Macay McBride, P0000000 .000
Chipper Jones, 3B3113011 .292
Andruw Jones, CF4000023 .278
    Ryan Langerhans, CF0000000 .261
Jeff Francoeur, RF4333000 .269
Matt Diaz, LF4121001 .386
Brian Jordan, 1B1001100 .283
    Adam LaRoche, 1B1000011 .231
Brian McCann, C3110111 .353
Jorge Sosa, P3000021 .111
    Chad Paronto, P0000000 .000
   a- Wilson Betemit, PH-SS1010000 .274
Totals3291184912 
a-singled for Paronto in the 8th
Batting
2B - Marcus Giles (10, Olsen), Chipper Jones (7, Olsen), Jeff Francoeur (5, Olsen)
3B - Matt Diaz (3, Wellemeyer)
HR - Jeff Francoeur 2 (10, Olsen, Wellemeyer), Matt Diaz (2, Olsen)
SF - Chipper Jones (2), Brian Jordan (2)
RBI - Chipper Jones 3 (22), Jeff Francoeur 3 (36), Matt Diaz (11), Brian Jordan (9)
2-OUT RBI - Jeff Francoeur 3 (20), Matt Diaz (4)
Team LOB - 5
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Matt Diaz 1
Atlanta Braves
Jorge Sosa (W,1-5) 6.2611081 5.55
Chad Paronto 1.1200010 1.23
Macay McBride 1000000 3.86
HBP - Olivo (by Jorge Sosa)
Pitches-Strikes - Jorge Sosa 102-70, Chad Paronto 26-18, Macay McBride 9-5
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jorge Sosa 3-8, Chad Paronto 1-2
Batters Faced - Jorge Sosa 26, Chad Paronto 6, Macay McBride 3
Game Information
Attendance - 29996
Game Time - 2:45
Temperature - 78
Umpires - Home - Gary Darling, First Base - Larry Poncino, Second Base - Bruce Dreckman, Third Base - Brian Knight