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Pinch-hit grand slam punctuates Braves' comeback over Marlins

CBSSports.com wire reports
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MIAMI -- The Atlanta Braves enjoyed their best inning of the season by taking advantage of the Florida Marlins' mistakes, including the fat pitch Brooks Conrad hit for a grand slam.

Conrad's second pinch-hit grand slam of the year put the Braves ahead in an eight-run eighth inning, and they rallied past hapless Florida 10-5 Saturday night.

Six of the runs were unearned because of two errors by third baseman Jorge Cantu.

"Like they say in baseball, after the errors come the base hits," said Atlanta's Alex Gonzalez, who reached on one of Cantu's misplays. "Against this team, you can't make a mistake. Somebody is going to pay. That's what happened tonight."

Nine of the first 10 batters reached in the eighth, and the Braves scored off all three Florida pitchers -- Taylor Tankersley, Jhan Marinez and Burke Badenhop.

Conrad homered on Badenhop's sinker down the middle with one out to put the Braves ahead 9-5.

"Stuff like that you can't really expect," Conrad said. "It's just going up there and trying to get a ball off the ground. I got a great pitch to hit and put a pretty good swing on it."

It was his fifth homer, and his third as a pinch-hitter. He hit a pinch-hit, game-ending slam to cap a seven-run ninth inning against Cincinnati on May 20.

Eight runs in an inning were a season high for Atlanta, and the most allowed by Florida.

"It was awesome. It was great. It was huge," Conrad said. "It's the perseverance we have this year. No matter what the situation or how we're playing, we're always going to play hard until the end. We showed that tonight."

But even by the standards of the NL East-leading Braves, the comeback was a rarity. They improved to 4-33 when trailing after seven innings.

Atlanta's Martin Prado led off the game with his 13th home run. Jason Heyward went 3 for 3 with two walks and scored twice.

Dan Uggla homered and drove in three runs for the Marlins, and Michael Stanton also homered. Anibal Sanchez left ahead 5-2 after six innings, but the bullpen and Cantu couldn't protect the lead.

"That's a game we should have won, and we gave it away," Tankersley said.

Cantu declined to talk with reporters.

The collapse came with Florida on the verge of winning for the seventh time in eight games. When the inning ended, the Marlins drew jeers from the crowd of 30,245, their largest at home since May 1.

"We've stolen three or four games on this homestand so far, and it just so happens they stole one from us," Uggla said. "That's baseball."

Manager Edwin Rodriguez was lucky not to have to watch from the dugout. He was ejected for the first time in his career in the fifth inning.

The Braves trailed 5-2 when Heyward led off the eighth with a single. Chipper Jones reached on a throwing error by Cantu, and Tankersley hit Brian McCann with a 71-mph curve to load the bases. Marinez (1-1) came on to walk Troy Glaus and force in a run, then gave up a tying two-run single to Eric Hinske.

Catcher Ronny Paulino fielded a bunt by Gonzalez and threw to third for a forceout, but Cantu's foot missed the base, and the bases were loaded again. To make matters worse, Gonzalez fell leaving the batter's box and would have been an easy out at first, but neither his teammates nor the Marlins saw the stumble.

"I went back to the dugout -- 'Hey, did you see that?' Nobody saw it," Gonzalez said. "I was laying on the grass. I get up and made it to first."

Following a forceout at the plate, Conrad homered. The Braves added their final run on an RBI groundout by Jones.

Atlanta's Kris Medlen, starting for the first time since July 7, gave up seven hits and five runs in six innings. Jesse Chavez (2-1) pitched a perfect seventh.

Notes

  • After the game, the Marlins said Marinez will be placed on the 15-day disabled list Sunday with a right elbow strain. RHP Chris Volstad will be recalled from Triple-A New Orleans to rejoin the rotation, and he'll start Sunday.
  • A 1-5-3 putout: The Marlins' Hanley Ramirez grounded off the foot of Chavez, and the ball deflected to 3B Jones, who threw to first.
 
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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Brooks Conrad hits his second pinch-hit grand slam as part of an eight-run eighth inning.  (US Presswire)
Brooks Conrad hits his second pinch-hit grand slam as part of an eight-run eighth inning. (US Presswire)

Players of the Game
Florida

D. Uggla
AB 5
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 3
Atlanta

B. Conrad
AB 1
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 4
 
Atlanta Braves
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Martin Prado, 2B5221000 .321
Jason Heyward, RF3230200 .273
Chipper Jones, 3B5111011 .252
    Jonny Venters, P0000000 .000
Brian McCann, C3011012 .274
    Matt Diaz, PR-LF1100001 .254
Troy Glaus, 1B3001112 .252
    David Ross, C1000000 .260
Eric Hinske, LF-1B5112010 .274
Alex Gonzalez, SS4110100 .269
Nate McLouth, CF4100015 .169
Kris Medlen, P2000022 .167
   a- Melky Cabrera, PH1000000 .259
    Jesse Chavez, P0000000 .000
   b- Brooks Conrad, PH-3B1114000 .253
Totals3810101047  
a-lined out for Medlen in the 7th
b-homered for J. Chavez in the 8th
Batting
2B - Alex Gonzalez (29, Sanchez)
HR - Martin Prado (13, Sanchez), Brooks Conrad (5, Badenhop)
RBI - Martin Prado (42), Chipper Jones (38), Brian McCann (50), Troy Glaus (61), Eric Hinske 2 (38), Brooks Conrad 4 (20)
2-OUT RBI - Brian McCann (18)
SB - Jason Heyward (7, 2nd base off Sanchez/Paulino)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
DP - A. Gonzalez-Prado-Glaus
Atlanta Braves
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Kris Medlen 6855182 3.57
Jesse Chavez (W,2-1) 1000010 5.80
Jonny Venters 2300120 1.15
HBP - Coghlan (by Kris Medlen)
Pitches-Strikes - Kris Medlen 97-61, Jesse Chavez 18-14, Jonny Venters 40-21
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Kris Medlen 5-4, Jesse Chavez 1-1, Jonny Venters 2-2
Batters Faced - Kris Medlen 27, Jesse Chavez 3, Jonny Venters 10
Florida Marlins
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Chris Coghlan, LF4220010 .266
Gaby Sanchez, 1B5121022 .305
Hanley Ramirez, SS5020023 .291
Dan Uggla, 2B5123004 .275
Jorge Cantu, 3B4010012 .260
Cody Ross, CF3000121 .273
Mike Stanton, RF4111013 .221
Ronny Paulino, C4010010 .274
Anibal Sanchez, P2000010 .172
   a- Bryan Petersen, PH1000001 .100
    Brian Sanches, P0000000 .000
    Taylor Tankersley, P0000000 .000
    Jhan Marinez, P0000000 .000
    Burke Badenhop, P0000000 .000
   b- Wes Helms, PH0000100 .242
Totals375115211  
a-fouled out for Sanchez in the 6th
b-walked for Badenhop in the 9th
Batting
2B - Gaby Sanchez (24, Medlen)
HR - Dan Uggla (18, Medlen), Mike Stanton (7, Medlen)
RBI - Gaby Sanchez (45), Dan Uggla 3 (58), Mike Stanton (24)
2-OUT RBI - Dan Uggla 2 (23), Mike Stanton (13)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
DP - Uggla-H. Ramirez-G. Sanchez
E - Jorge Cantu 2 (14, Throwing)
Florida Marlins
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Anibal Sanchez 6522371 3.59
Brian Sanches (H,9) 1000000 2.60
Taylor Tankersley0132000 7.27
Jhan Marinez (BS,2; L,1-1)0121100 6.75
Burke Badenhop 2331001 5.64
HBP - McCann (by Taylor Tankersley)
WP - Anibal Sanchez (3)
Pitches-Strikes - Anibal Sanchez 100-58, Brian Sanches 13-10, Taylor Tankersley 15-9, Jhan Marinez 10-5, Burke Badenhop 21-12
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Anibal Sanchez 6-4, Brian Sanches 1-2, Taylor Tankersley 1-0, Burke Badenhop 4-3
Batters Faced - Anibal Sanchez 25, Brian Sanches 3, Taylor Tankersley 3, Jhan Marinez 2, Burke Badenhop 10
Game Information
Attendance - 30245
Game Time - 3:01
Temperature - 86
Umpires - Home - Marty Foster, First Base - Gary Cederstrom, Second Base - Ed Hickox, Third Base - Field Culbreth