Marlins Avoid Sweep, Top Braves - NBC 6 South Florida

Marlins Avoid Sweep, Top Braves

Florida tops Atlanta 3-1



    Marlins Avoid Sweep, Top Braves
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    Brett Hayes congratulates Leo Nunez after their 3-1 win over the Atlanta Braves.

    The Florida Marlins didn't pull off a trade.

    Still, they managed to have a little deadline fun Sunday.

    After Leo Nunez wrapped up a 3-1 victory over the Atlanta Braves, manager Jack McKeon called the reliever into his office. Nunez froze, believing he had been dealt. Instead, it was just a joke instigated by teammate Hanley Ramirez.

    "Having a little fun," McKeon quipped.

    Ricky Nolasco scattered 12 hits, Emilio Bonifacio homered and the Marlins avoided a sweep on a day when the Braves made the biggest splash, completing a trade for speedy Houston outfielder Michael Bourn ahead of the deadline for non-waiver deals.

    The Braves could've used him right away, especially when fill-in Jose Constanza got thrown out twice on the basepaths.

    "As an offense, we should've capitalized a little more," third baseman Brooks Conrad said. "It doesn't feel good to lose a game like that where you have so many opportunities to get runs in."

    Florida handed the Braves the 10,000th loss in franchise history.

    "We'll go down in the history books for that," McKeon said.

    Atlanta outhit the Marlins 13-7 but left 10 runners on base, becoming only the second team in big league history with 10,000 losses. The Phillies reached that mark in 2007.

    The Braves picked up their 10,000th win a couple of weeks ago, including their time in Boston and Milwaukee.

    "The 10,000th win wasn't a big deal to anyone in this clubhouse," catcher David Ross said. "Same with 10,000 losses. The one thing that tells me is baseball is basically a .500 game over long periods of time. When you have a chance to be good, you need to take advantage of it -- like this year."

    That's just what the Braves had in mind when they traded Jordan Schafer and three minor league pitchers to acquire Bourn, a two-time Gold Glove winner who leads the NL in stolen bases.

    He had to fly in from Milwaukee and won't join the Braves until they open a series at Washington on Monday.

    Struggling on offense and plagued by injuries, Bourn's new teammates can't wait for him to arrive.

    "He's a great player," Dan Uggla said. "He's going to create a lot of opportunities for us to score some runs."

    As it was, Nolasco (8-7) pitched out of trouble for 6 2-3 innings, retiring the side in order only once. Nunez came on in the ninth for his 30th save in 33 chances.

    "I kept getting singled to death," Nolasco said. "A couple big double plays helped. I'd rather give up 12 hits and no walks than eight hits and four walks. I just want to make them put the ball in play."

    The Marlins are still 91/2 games behind Atlanta in the wild-card race and 151/2 behind Philadelphia in the NL East. Those two division rivals both made major deals in the last week, the Phillies acquiring Hunter Pence from the Astros.

    "It just makes it tougher to catch up with those guys," McKeon acknowledged.

    Atlanta starter Tommy Hanson (11-6) gave up all three Florida runs in six innings.

    "I expect to go out and do a lot better than that," he said.

    The Braves jumped ahead in the first when Constanza led off with a double, moved to third on Martin Prado's single and came home when Freddie Freeman grounded into a double play.

    Florida tied it in the second, manufacturing a run after Hanley Ramirez led off with a walk. He stole second, tagged and went to third on a flyout and came home on Mike Stanton's single to center.

    In the third, the Marlins went ahead for good. Omar Infante reached on an infield single and sprinted all the way around to score when Greg Dobbs doubled into the right-field corner, the ball sticking against the wall.

    Bonifacio provided an insurance run in the fifth, leading off with his second homer of the year.

    Constanza, in what was likely his last extensive playing time with the Braves before Bourn arrives, had three hits but a rough day on the basepaths.

    In the fifth, he put down a bunt and reached on a throwing error to first. Trying to take a couple of extra bases while the Marlins chased down the loose ball, he was thrown out on a headfirst slide at third.

    Then, in the seventh, he made a terrible mental blunder. Constanza led off with a single to left, only to get doubled off on Prado's soft liner to second baseman Infante.

    But Constanza was hardly alone. The Braves started the sixth with two straight hits, putting runners at first and third with no outs. Alex Gonzalez popped up -- slamming his bat in disgust -- and Nolasco struck out J.C. Boscan and pinch-hitter Chipper Jones.

    Jones, who hasn't started in nearly a week because of a strained quadriceps, received a big cheer from the crowd when he popped out of the dugout. Those quickly turned to groans when he fanned on three pitches.