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Florida at Atlanta

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Florida (68-66)000002000241
Atlanta (59-75) «01003000x480

McCann homers as Morton breaks through at home for Braves

CBSSports.com wire reports
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ATLANTA -- A home run by the Braves' Brian McCann and a drive by Hanley Ramirez that didn't go out did in the Florida Marlins.

McCann hit a three-run homer, Charlie Morton finally figured out how to pitch at home and Atlanta beat the slumping Marlins 4-2 on Thursday night.

The Marlins are 10-15 in August, haven't won back-to-back games this month and fell six games behind the idle New York Mets in the NL East. Florida begins a three-game series at home against the Mets on Friday.

Asked if the games against the Mets were crucial, Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez replied: "Whether it's urgency, a must, or a need, we've got to win some ball games."

Marlins outfielder Luis Gonzalez agreed.

"Now we have to play the Mets head to head. They're must wins," he said. "It's no secret. We're running out of time. There's no margin for error."

It all could have ended differently if not for a brilliant leaping catch at the left field wall by Atlanta left fielder Brandon Jones in the sixth inning.

"I didn't think I had a chance to get it," Jones said.

With the Marlins trailing 4-0, Dan Uggla led off with a double and came home on a double by John Baker. Pinch-hitter Paul Lo Duca then walked and Ramirez followed with a deep drive that everyone in the stands and dugouts thought was a tying home run.

"That ball, everyone in the stadium and everyone else thought it was out except the left fielder. It's a game of inches," Florida's Gonzalez said.

"I thought the ball was a tape-measure (shot)," Atlanta manager Bobby Cox added. "I didn't even look at it. That catch was the game."

It turned out to be the first of two big defensive plays in the inning.

After Ramirez's out, Gonzalez doubled home Baker to make it 4-2, but Lo Duca was thrown out trying to score and the Marlins had to settle for only two runs.

The victory was only the fourth in 17 games for the Braves, who are a dismal 14-25 since the All-Star break and long ago fell out of playoff contention. It was their first series victory at home since July 4-6, when they won two of three from Houston.

Morton (4-8) had been 0-6 with an 8.18 ERA this season at Turner Field, but the rookie right-hander went six innings and allowed only four hits. It was his first start since allowing five hits and four runs over 1 1/3 innings last Friday in an 18-3 loss at St. Louis.

"I didn't know that," Morton said of his winless streak at home.

Mike Gonzalez came on in the ninth and struck out the side to pick up his seventh save in seven attempts and 37th consecutive save overall. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that's the longest current streak in the majors.

The left-hander has not blown a save since June 25, 2004, against Cincinnati when he was a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The Braves took a 1-0 lead off Anibal Sanchez (2-3) in the second on a run-scoring single by Martin Prado, and made it 4-0 when McCann broke out of a 1-for-16 slump in the fifth inning with his 22nd home run of the season. The 342-foot shot over the right-field fence drove in Josh Anderson, who had walked and stolen second, and Chipper Jones, who was intentionally walked.

Sanchez went five innings and allowed four hits, four runs, walked five and struck out two.

"That was the only hit he got against us," Fredi Gonzalez said. "Pick your poison. It was either Chipper or him. It's a decision you make. Sometimes it works and sometimes it gets you. (McCann is) a major-league hitter and an All-Star and he got us."

Notes

  • Anderson was recalled Wednesday from Triple-A Richmond, started in center field and led off. He went 1-for-2 with a pair of walks and scored a run. He was called up earlier in the season and hit .318 (7-for-22).
  • The Marlins had hit a home run in eight consecutive games.
  • Ramirez needs one stolen base for his third consecutive season with at least 30. And with 28 home runs, he could join Preston Wilson as the only Marlins to join the 30-30 club. Wilson did it in 2000.
 
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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Charlie Morton fires six strong innings and earns his first home win after going 0-6 at Turner Field.  (AP)
Charlie Morton fires six strong innings and earns his first home win after going 0-6 at Turner Field. (AP)

Players of the Game
Atlanta

B. McCann
AB 3
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 3
Florida

L. Gonzalez
AB 4
R 0
H 2
HR 0
RBI 1
 
Florida Marlins
Hanley Ramirez, SS3000101 .295
Luis Gonzalez, LF4021001 .263
    Doug Waechter, P0000000 .167
Jorge Cantu, 3B3000111 .276
Mike Jacobs, 1B3000012 .236
   a- Josh Willingham, PH1000010 .258
Cody Ross, CF-LF4000030 .259
Jeremy Hermida, RF2000110 .253
Dan Uggla, 2B3110011 .261
John Baker, C3111011 .252
Anibal Sanchez, P1000000 .000
   b- Paul Lo Duca, PH0000100 .242
    Logan Kensing, P0000000 .000
    Mark Hendrickson, P0000000 .265
   c- Alfredo Amezaga, PH-CF1000000 .257
Totals2824249  
a-struck out for Jacobs in the 9th
b-walked for Sanchez in the 6th
c-grounded out for Hendrickson in the 8th
Batting
2B - Luis Gonzalez (23, Morton), Dan Uggla (33, Morton), John Baker (6, Morton)
RBI - Luis Gonzalez (41), John Baker (20)
Team LOB - 3
Fielding
DP - H. Ramirez-Uggla-Jacobs, Jacobs-H. Ramirez
E - Anibal Sanchez (3, Throwing)
Florida Marlins
Anibal Sanchez (L,2-3) 5544521 4.46
Logan Kensing 1.1200040 3.83
Mark Hendrickson 0.2000000 5.56
Doug Waechter 1100010 3.45
IBB - Jones by Anibal Sanchez
Pitches-Strikes - Anibal Sanchez 92-49, Logan Kensing 30-18, Doug Waechter 11-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Anibal Sanchez 4-8, Mark Hendrickson 1-0, Doug Waechter 1-1
Batters Faced - Anibal Sanchez 24, Logan Kensing 6, Mark Hendrickson 1, Doug Waechter 4
Atlanta Braves
Josh Anderson, CF2110210 .333
Martin Prado, 1B4021002 .338
Chipper Jones, 3B3120112 .359
Brian McCann, C3113101 .292
Yunel Escobar, SS3000110 .283
Kelly Johnson, 2B4000003 .263
Jeff Francoeur, RF4010010 .232
Brandon Jones, LF3110010 .273
    Julian Tavarez, P0000000 .000
    Jeff Bennett, P0000000 .222
   a- Greg Norton, PH1000011 .256
    Mike Gonzalez, P0000000 .000
Charlie Morton, P2000001 .071
   b- Gregor Blanco, PH-LF1000010 .256
Totals3048457  
a-struck out for J. Bennett in the 8th
b-struck out for Morton in the 6th
Batting
HR - Brian McCann (22, Sanchez)
RBI - Martin Prado (23), Brian McCann 3 (75)
2-OUT RBI - Martin Prado (9)
SB - Josh Anderson (3, 2nd base off Sanchez/Baker)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Jeff Francoeur 1
DP - Jones-Johnson-Prado, Escobar-Johnson-Prado
Atlanta Braves
Charlie Morton (W,4-8) 6422230 6.10
Julian Tavarez (H,2) 1000130 5.58
Jeff Bennett (H,9) 1000100 4.14
Mike Gonzalez (S,7) 1000030 3.38
WP - Julian Tavarez (2)
Pitches-Strikes - Charlie Morton 75-50, Julian Tavarez 21-11, Jeff Bennett 8-4, Mike Gonzalez 15-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Charlie Morton 10-3, Jeff Bennett 2-0
Batters Faced - Charlie Morton 22, Julian Tavarez 4, Jeff Bennett 3, Mike Gonzalez 3
Game Information
Attendance - 20155
Game Time - 2:27
Temperature - 83
Umpires - Home - Derryl Cousins, First Base - Angel Hernandez, Second Base - Eric Cooper, Third Base - Marty Foster