The Atlanta Braves lineup is capable of piling up the runs, and they’ll need to stay hot if they want to keep their playoff hopes alive.
The Braves look to build off a big offensive night when they continue their three-game series with the Florida Marlins on Tuesday night.
Atlanta (77-73) defeated Florida 11-6 in Monday’s series opener, piling up 10 runs in the first five innings. Andruw Jones hit a three-run homer and Jeff Francoeur also drove in three runs to reach 100 RBIs for the second year in a row.
“That’s a goal that most players like to achieve,” Francoeur said, now in his third season. “I’ve got to thank the guys hitting in front of me. Those guys get on base all the time. They’re doing a lot of the work for me.”
Chipper Jones went 3-for-4 with two runs and two RBIs to raise his NL-leading average to .339. He’s hitting .388 (19-for-49) with five homers in 12 games against Florida (65-85) this season. Shortstop Edgar Renteria went 1-for-4 with a run and remains in the mix for the batting title at .333.
Atlanta, which ranks third in the NL with 761 runs, has scored at least seven in 10 of its last 12 wins. The Braves will need to keep lighting up the scoreboard if they hope to avoid missing the postseason in consecutive years for the first time since 1989-90.
With 12 games remaining, Atlanta is 6 1/2 games behind the NL East-leading New York Mets and 5 1/2 in back of San Diego for the wild card.
“Until somebody says you’re finished, you’ve got to go at it the best way you know how,” said Braves ace John Smoltz, who earned his 14th win Monday. “We haven’t been on a winning streak in a while. We’ve somehow got to do that.”
Atlanta has won five of its last seven against Florida to even the season series at eight games apiece. The Marlins, who are in last place in the East, have dropped two straight after matching a season high with four straight wins.
Mike Jacobs and Cody Ross homered for the Marlins, who have scored 41 runs over their last six games. Hanley Ramirez went 2-for-5 and is batting .394 (13-for-33) with four homers during an eight-game hitting streak.
Braves rookie starter Jo-Jo Reyes (0-2, 7.75 ERA) will be trying to keep the Marlins’ offense in check. His last start came on Aug. 26, when he allowed four runs - two earned - in six innings of a 4-1 loss at St. Louis.
The left-hander has made one relief appearance since then, giving up one run in 3 1-3 innings of Atlanta’s 5-2 loss to Philadelphia on Sept. 4. He has never faced the Marlins.
Florida counters with another rookie in Chris Seddon (0-0, 10.50). His lone start came last Tuesday, when he allowed seven runs in three innings of Florida’s 13-8 win over Washington.
“I didn’t really throw some stuff where I really wanted to, but I felt good, though,” Seddon told the Marlins’ official Web site.
Seddon also allowed one unearned run in one inning of relief in Florida’s 10-2 win over Colorado on Saturday. He has never faced Atlanta.