Braves spoil Marlins’ rally, beat Florida 16-14

Published 11:39 am Wednesday, September 3, 2008

MIAMI – Long out of contention for the NL East title, the Atlanta Braves are making sure the Florida Marlins join them.

Pinch-hitter Ruben Gotay had an RBI double in the ninth inning and the Braves spoiled a seven-run Marlins rally to beat Florida 16-14 on Tuesday night.

“We were mad after we lost the lead,” Gotay said. “It’s not easy to sit there and watch your team lose the lead and wait on the bench for one at-bat. I was just happy I could do my part and keep the hitting going.”

Kelly Johnson had four hits and four RBIs, and Omar Infante had four hits and two RBIs for the Braves, who had a season high in runs. Atlanta, which snapped a four-game losing streak, scored 14 runs against the Reds on May 4.

Alfredo Amezega had a career-high five RBIs for the Marlins, who have not won consecutive games since July 30-31. The Marlins are eight games behind first-place New York in the NL East.

“We were ready to swing the bats — them and us,” Amezega said. “They were luckier than us.”

No lead was safe in the game that featured 30 runs, 36 hits and 14 pitchers.

“If you’re going to play one of those, it’s best to come out on top,” Braves manager Bobby Cox said. “We couldn’t stop them one inning. Luckily, they couldn’t stop us either.”

Florida came back from a 10-3 deficit to take a 13-10 lead, and had it held, it would have been by far the biggest comeback win this season for Florida. The Marlins had rallied from three-run deficits five times this season.

With the score tied at 14 in the ninth, Gotay singled in Martin Prado for the go-ahead run. Johnson added an RBI single off reliever Matt Lindstrom (3-3).

“Anytime you see 30 runs put up on the board something’s fishy,” Lindstrom said. “Things like that don’t happen very often.”

Mike Gonzalez pitched a perfect ninth for his eighth save in as many chances.

Mike Jacobs hit his 28th homer in a three-run first as the Marlins took a 3-1 lead.

Jeff Francoeur’s three-run homer in the third put the Braves ahead 6-3. It was the fourth of the season for Francoeur.

The Braves hit three doubles in the fourth off reliever Mark Hendrickson, part of a four-run inning that stretched the lead to 10-3.

Amezega had a bases-clearing triple, and Dan Uggla hit a two-run homer to cap a six-run Marlins fourth that made it 10-9. The home run was Uggla’s 29th.

Florida tied the game 10-all on an RBI pinch hit by Paul Lo Duca, and John Baker scored on a wild pitch by reliever Blaine Boyer in the fifth to put the Marlins ahead 11-10. Amezega’s two-run single later in the inning gave Florida a 13-10 lead.

Greg Norton’s two-run double off reliever Joe Nelson helped Atlanta retake the lead, 14-13, in a four-run sixth.

Baker hit an RBI single in the eighth off Jorge Julio (1-0) to tie the game at 14. It was the first appearance of the year for Julio, who was called up earlier Tuesday from Triple-A Richmond.

Florida starter Anibal Sanchez was roughed up in his second straight outing, both against Atlanta. He lasted three innings, giving up six runs and eight hits.

Braves starter Charlie Morton went 3 1-3 innings and left the game with a 10-7 lead.

Notes: Braves 3B Chipper Jones, who was scratched with a twisted right knee, said after the game he injured himself taking fielding practice. He said he should be fine in a few days. Infante started in his place and had two throwing errors. … Marlins SS Hanley Ramirez stole his 30th and 31st bases of the season in the first inning after reaching on an error by Infante. Ramirez has stolen at least 30 bases in three straight seasons.