Marlins 20, Braves 1

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MIAMI (AP)—Mike Lowell and the Florida Marlins were enjoying a record-setting night when, suddenly, a bat flew into the stands and a horrific scene unfolded.

In the seventh inning of the Marlins’ 20-1 win over Atlanta on Tuesday night, a bat slipped from the hands of Atlanta’s Darren Bragg and struck an unidentified photographer.

“I saw a lot of blood,” Lowell said. “I know the other camera people were ducking. The guy was really laid out on the stretcher.”

The man, working beyond the first-base dugout, sustained lacerations to the face but never lost consciousness, the Marlins said. He was airlifted to a hospital and there was no immediate word on his condition.

The game was held up for 18 minutes while the photographer was tended to by medical personnel.

Bragg was visibly shaken afterward.

“I’m told that he’s OK, and I’m glad about that,” Bragg said. “I felt terrible when it happened. I found out right away that they were calling for a stretcher, and I knew that was a bad situation.”

The Marlins set a team record for runs and matched a team mark with 25 hits, with Miguel Cabrera, Ivan Rodriguez and Luis Castillo each getting four. The 20-year-old Cabrera drove in four runs and scored four times.

Lowell drove in three runs, a few hours after the Marlins said they would not be trading their star third baseman. Ramon Castro also homered as the Marlins won for the sixth straight time at home.

The accomplishments paled after the scene in the seventh inning, however.

“It’s disappointing that on a night when we have 20 runs, we’re probably more concerned about how he turns out,” Florida manager Jack McKeon said. “It’s a freaky situation. The guy really got nailed. I feel sorry for him, and I hope he turns out all right.”

The game was eerily reminiscent of the Marlins’ 25-8 loss last Friday against the Red Sox in Boston. In that game, Marlins relief pitcher Kevin Olsen was injured when he was hit in the head by a line drive and suffered a concussion and received six stitches to his right ear.

Josh Beckett (3-3) won in his first start in nearly two months following an elbow injury. He pitched three-hit ball for six innings, allowing only an unearned run in a 91-pitch effort.

It was Beckett’s first start since May 7, when he was pulled after one inning against the Giants because of a stiff right elbow.

The Marlins won for the ninth time in 12 and moved above .500 (43-42) for the first time since April 26.

“We had our hitting shoes on,” McKeon said. “We were on the other side of that rout last week. We weren’t trying to run up the score. It’s hard to ask guys to stop hitting and scoring.”

Braves starter Mike Hampton (3-5) was tagged for nine runs and 10 hits in four innings.

The Marlins are paying the Braves $30 million the next three years for Hampton’s salary, including $9 million of his $11 million contract this year. It’s part of a quirky trade that first landed Hampton in Florida before allowing him to move on to Atlanta.

The Marlins scored seven runs in the second, beginning with Cabrera’s leadoff homer, a 440-foot shot to center to snap a 1-all tie.

That was just the beginning of the outburst against Hampton, who had won his previous six starts against the Marlins.

Lowell had an RBI double, Alex Gonzalez hit a two-run single and Rodriguez singled home a run.

Florida added two more runs in the fourth after Rodriguez and Lowell led off with doubles.

“I threw pitches down the middle of the plate, and they put some good swings on them,” Hampton said. “That’s what good hitters do. It wasn’t there tonight. You battle and try to keep your team in the game, but tonight I wasn’tgood enough.”

Notes

Marlins OF Juan Encarnacion missed his second straight start because of a strained right hamstring. Brian Banks, who started in right field, committed an error on Rafael Furcal’s leadoff single, leading to an unearned run. … Rodriguez has at least one RBI in each of his last eight games, a career-high streak. … Cabrera’s home run snapped an 0-for-19 streak. … Hampton had notallowed a home run in his previous five starts.

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