Fish Can't Catch Atlanta

Braves top Marlins; Starting pitcher demoted after game

Twice Garret Anderson put the Atlanta Braves ahead, and the second time they stayed there.

Anderson’s first three RBIs this season helped the Braves end a four-game losing streak Wednesday by beating Florida 8-6.

The longtime Angels star, acquired in the offseason, came off the disabled list Tuesday after missing 12 games with a strained quadriceps.

“I’m just happy to be out there playing,” said Anderson, who has only 33 at-bats. “I haven’t played that many games this year, and it’s going to take some time to get into shape. I know I’m going to get hits; that’s something I’ve never worried about.”

Batting cleanup, Anderson drove in the first run with a groundout in the first inning and hit a two-run single in the second to put Atlanta ahead 5-3.

Anderson finished 1 for 4, raising his average to .182.

Chipper Jones and Omar Infante drove in two runs apiece, and Derek Lowe (4-1) won his third start in a row despite giving up six runs in five innings.

Florida’s Jorge Cantu tied a career high with five RBIs. He doubled twice and hit a three-run homer off Lowe.

“I did nothing,” Lowe said. “This is an offensive victory.”

Four Atlanta relievers shut out Florida over the final four innings. Mike Gonzalez pitched a perfect ninth for his fourth save in five chances.

The win came at the start of an eight-game trip for the Braves.

“Winning streaks start under the most innocent of circumstances,” Jones said. “Hopefully this starts one.”

Florida rookie starter Graham Taylor (0-2) lasted only 2 1-3 innings and was optioned after the game to Double-A Jacksonville. The Marlins extended a club-record streak of 19 consecutive games without a win by a starting pitcher, and during that span the starters are 0-9.

“I wouldn’t have believed it,” Florida reliever Dan Meyer said. “I was impressed with the arms we have in the rotation from day one of spring training. For this to happen —- it’s just one of those freak things. I’m sure it can’t last much longer.”

The Marlins began the game out of first place in the NL East for the first time this season, and they played like also-rans. An error by third baseman Emilio Bonifacio helped Atlanta score four unearned runs in the second, and for the second night in a row, Florida had a runner picked off by the catcher.

Lowe gave up seven hits and three walks but turned one hard-hit ball into an out by earning an assist with his foot. Hanley Ramirez’s drive up the middle deflected off Lowe’s right foot to first baseman Yunel Escobar, who made the putout.

“Hanley wasn’t happy with me,” Lowe said.

The Marlins led 3-1 before Bonifacio’s lapse. Jeff Francoeur and David Ross singled to start the inning, and with one out, Bonifacio mishandled a sacrifice bunt by Lowe to load the bases. Infante hit a sacrifice fly, Escobar singled home a run and Anderson hit a two-out, two-run single.

“You’ve got to have that guy in the four hole who is able to sustain rallies,” Jones said. “Hopefully Garret can get on a little bit of a roll. We’ll see.”

The Braves made it 8-3 with three more runs in the third on an RBI single by Infante and a two-out, two-run single by Jones.

“It’s a shame we were behind the 8-ball right off the get-go, because we swung the bats well,” Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez said.

Cantu’s eighth homer gave Florida a 3-1 lead in the first, and he doubled home a run in the third and another in the fifth. He is 7 for 8 lifetime against Lowe.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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