|Atlanta (86-64) «||0||0||0||0||0||0||4||0||x||4||5||0|
ATLANTA -- Alex Gonzalez isn't too concerned about the pressure of a wild-card race.
"You have to leave it outside," he said. "You have to do your job. This time of the season, for me, pressure doesn't work."
Gonzalez hit a three-run homer and Martin Prado bunted in a run during a four-run seventh inning as the revived Atlanta Braves beat the Florida Marlins 4-1 on Wednesday to maintain their lead in the NL wild-card race.
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Atlanta has won two straight following a season-high four-game losing streak. The victory kept the Braves 4½ games ahead of St. Louis, which won 3-2 at Pittsburgh.
"We know we've got a great team," Gonzalez said. "We've got a great leader [in manager Fredi Gonzalez]. We've got great pitching. We've got a great bullpen. I just go out there and do the best I can."
Five Braves combined on a four-hitter, and the Marlins didn't get a hit after the third or a runner after the fifth.
Cristhian Martinez, Eric O'Flaherty (2-4), Jonny Venters and rookie Craig Kimbrel each pitched a perfect inning, with Kimbrel striking out the side for his major league-leading 44th save in 49 chances.
O'Flaherty lowered his ERA two points to 1.05 ERA, best among major-league relievers.
"It's not easy against their bullpen," Florida first baseman Gaby Sanchez said. "They've done a heck of a job the whole year. It's not fun going up there and having to face them."
Dan Uggla walked with one out and went to third on Brian McCann's single, the Braves' third hit. Prado squared as Nolasco released a pitch, and the ball bounced softly inside the first-base line as Uggla scored without a play. Prado wound up with a bunt single.
"I was trying to go to first the whole time," Nolasco said. "I just didn't field it cleanly. It should've been an out. Obviously, I didn't make the play. I'm pretty sure Martin thought it was an out, too, until I bobbled it. He started running after that. It's frustrating."
Fredi Gonzalez credited Prado with being fundamentally sound to keep the inning alive.
"That was a hell of an execution on his part," the manager said. "Just trying to get a run. We were running and we were able to execute."
When Prado got the safety squeeze sign from third-base coach Brian Snitker, he was only hoping Nolasco would throw a fastball.
"It's been a while since I got a bunt down," Prado said. "In that situation, you can't be too late and you can't be too early or they find out what you're doing. I always get tough pitches to bunt, like sliders. Finally, I got a fastball."
Alex Gonzalez connected on an 0-2 count with two outs, his 13th of the year. He went 2 for 3 and finished the series 8 for 11 (.727) with five RBI against his former team.
"The last couple weeks, we've been kind of tight," he said. "But I try to do the best I can to take it day by day, inning by inning. Try to do the little things."
|Players of the Game|
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|Emilio Bonifacio, RF||4||0||0||0||0||3||0||.291|
|Bryan Petersen, CF||3||0||0||0||1||0||0||.275|
|Omar Infante, 2B||4||0||1||0||0||0||1||.279|
|Greg Dobbs, LF||4||1||1||1||0||1||1||.285|
|Gaby Sanchez, 1B||4||0||0||0||0||0||0||.266|
|Donnie Murphy, SS||3||0||1||0||0||1||0||.152|
|a- John Baker, PH||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||.200|
|Matt Dominguez, 3B||2||0||0||0||1||1||1||.261|
|Brett Hayes, C||3||0||1||0||0||1||1||.222|
|Ricky Nolasco, P||3||0||0||0||0||1||2||.093|
|Mike Dunn, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a-struck out for Murphy in the 9th|
|HR - Greg Dobbs (8, Delgado)|
|RBI - Greg Dobbs (49)|
|Team LOB - 5|
|DP - Infante-Murphy-G. Sanchez|
|Ricky Nolasco (L,10-11)||7||5||4||4||2||5||1||4.42|
|WP - Ricky Nolasco (5)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Ricky Nolasco 95-60, Mike Dunn 12-6|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Ricky Nolasco 8-7, Mike Dunn 1-1|
|Batters Faced - Ricky Nolasco 27, Mike Dunn 3|
|Michael Bourn, CF||3||0||0||0||1||1||0||.299|
|Chipper Jones, 3B||4||0||0||0||0||1||2||.283|
|Freddie Freeman, 1B||4||0||0||0||0||1||0||.292|
|Dan Uggla, 2B||2||1||0||0||1||0||0||.235|
|Brian McCann, C||3||1||1||0||0||0||0||.278|
|Martin Prado, LF||3||1||2||1||0||0||0||.263|
|Jason Heyward, RF||3||0||0||0||0||1||3||.221|
|Alex Gonzalez, SS||3||1||2||3||0||1||0||.238|
|Randall Delgado, P||1||0||0||0||0||1||1||.000|
|Cristhian Martinez, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.333|
|a- Brooks Conrad, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.237|
|Eric O'Flaherty, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|b- Jose Constanza, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.317|
|Jonny Venters, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Craig Kimbrel, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a-grounded out for Cr. Martinez in the 6th|
|b-grounded out for O'Flaherty in the 7th|
|HR - Alex Gonzalez (13, Nolasco)|
|RBI - Martin Prado (53), Alex Gonzalez 3 (53)|
|2-OUT RBI - Alex Gonzalez 3 (20)|
|Team LOB - 2|
|Eric O'Flaherty (W,2-4)||1||0||0||0||0||2||0||1.05|
|Jonny Venters (H,32)||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||1.52|
|Craig Kimbrel (S,44)||1||0||0||0||0||2||0||1.73|
|Pitches-Strikes - Randall Delgado 101-63, Cristhian Martinez 7-6, Eric O'Flaherty 12-9, Jonny Venters 15-8, Craig Kimbrel 12-8|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Randall Delgado 3-8, Cristhian Martinez 1-1, Eric O'Flaherty 1-0, Jonny Venters 3-0|
|Batters Faced - Randall Delgado 21, Cristhian Martinez 3, Eric O'Flaherty 3, Jonny Venters 3, Craig Kimbrel 3|
|Attendance - 22245|
|Game Time - 2:22|
|Temperature - 85|
|Umpires - Home - Jerry Layne, First Base - Bob Davidson, Second Base - Hunter Wendelstedt, Third Base - Brian Knight|