Miami (45-52) at Atlanta (47-51)

Fair Currently: Atlanta, GA
Temp: 70° F
  • Game info: 7:35 pm EDT Tue Jul 25, 2006
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Coming off an impressive road trip, the Atlanta Braves return home looking to continue their climb back into the playoff race when they open a three-game set against the Florida Marlins on Tuesday.

The Braves (47-51) have won nine of 11, hitting .330 with 34 homers in that span while outscoring opponents 100-55.

Adam LaRoche hit two homers and had four RBIs to lead the Braves to a 10-8 win over the Philadelphia Phillies on Monday, closing their nine-game road trip with seven wins.

They took two of three games from the Phillies, as they did against the NL Central-leading St. Louis Cardinals, after opening the trip by sweeping three games from the NL West-leading San Diego Padres. The successful trip moved them within 4 1/2 games of the Cincinnati Reds in the wild card race.

LaRoche batted .395 with six homers and 14 RBIs during the nine-game trek.

“We’re getting it back, this was a huge road trip for us,” LaRoche said. “Personally, I haven’t changed a thing. I’ve just stayed aggressive.”

He’s hit .326 in 15 career games against Florida at Turner Field.

The Braves return home for the first time since the All-Star break and face the Marlins for the first time since being swept in a three-game series at Dolphin Stadium from June 13-16.

Atlanta has only lost once in the last 11 meetings at Turner Field, including a four-game sweep of Florida from May 15-18.

The Braves will give rookie Chuck James (4-0, 3.72 ERA) his first start against the Marlins as he tries to remain perfect as a starter.

The left-hander has won all four of his appearances since joining the rotation but struggled in his last outing, allowing five runs and six hits over five innings in a 10-5 win over the San Diego Padres on July 16. He has received 21 runs of support in his last two outings, while allowing nine runs.

“Giving up five runs, you can’t complain when you’re getting a win out of it,” James said. “If I could give (the win) away, I’d probably give it to the offense.”

James looks to become the first Atlanta rookie to win five starts in a row since Craig McMurtry won six straight in 1983. He is already the first Braves pitcher to win four consecutive games to start his career since Jesse Barnes did it bridging the 1915 and 1916 seasons.

The Marlins (45-52) hope their rookie starter can continue his winning streak in his first start against the Braves. Anibal Sanchez (3-0, 3.41) seeks to win his fourth decision in a row to start his career and extend his scoreless innings streak.

The 22-year-old right-hander allowed one hit in seven innings of a 1-0 win over the Washington Nationals on Wednesday. He has not yielded a run in 18 1-3 straight innings, and has given up only three hits over 14 innings in his last two starts.

“He should be confident with the way he’s thrown,” Marlins manager Joe Girardi said. “I want all our pitchers to have confidence because I think they’re able to relax and make their pitches better. The one thing that comes with that confidence, is he has to work hard. And he’s working hard. I appreciate the way he’s going about his business.”

Dan Uggla homered in the third inning and drove in the winning run in the bottom of the ninth to give Florida a 5-4 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday.

The Marlins closed an 11-game homestand by going 7-4, but now go on the road for eight games in seven days. They are 1 1/2 games behind the Braves in the wild card standings.

Atlanta may be without Chipper Jones (left oblique) and Andruw Jones (back), who have missed the last two games and are listed as day-to-day.

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Starting Pitchers

A. Sánchez Det vs. C. James NYM
10-3 Record 11-4
2.83 ERA 3.78
72 K 91
46 BB 47
1.19 WHIP 1.24