Marlins 6, Braves 4

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MIAMI (AP)—A rain delay of more than three hours was worth the wait for the Florida Marlins.

Josh Willingham and pinch-hitter Lenny Harris both had two-run singles in the eighth inning, rallying Florida over the Atlanta Braves 6-4 Saturday night.

Trailing 4-2 with two out and a runner on first in the eighth, Jeremy Hermida lifted a high pop to short where Wilson Betemit watched the ball drop. It was ruled a hit.

“I don’t know what Wilson was thinking, there was nobody near him,” manager Bobby Cox said. “He tried to tell me, but I couldn’t quite understand what he was saying.”

Betemit didn’t see third baseman Andy Marte move to cover third base.

“I thought Marte was right there,” Betemit said. “But I have to catch the ball. He wasn’t even close.”

Dan Kolb (3-8) replaced Macay McBride and walked Mike Lowell to load the bases. Willingham followed with a soft line-drive single to right and Harris hit a hard grounder past first baseman Adam LaRoche.

“It’s fun, but it would be more fun to be on the other side and going to the playoffs,” said Harris, who had a pinch-hit homer in Friday night’s win.

Chris Resop (2-0) pitched a scoreless eighth and Todd Jones got the last three outs for his 40th save in 44 chances. Jones became the fourth Marlins pitcher to reach 40 saves in a season.

“It’s a big honor,” Jones said. “It shows I’ve been durable all year and I threw the ball pretty good.”

Braves starter Jorge Sosa faced one batter before rain forced a delay of 3 hours, 10 minutes. When play resumed, Chuck James relieved and allowed three hits, two walks and struck out two in 3 2-3 innings. James also had his first career hit and RBI.

“I’m batting a thousand in the big leagues,” James said. “I never thought that day would come. It kind of stung a little bit. I got it off the end of the bat, but I’ll take that.”

Ismael Valdez replaced Marlins starter Jason Vargas to start the second. Valdez surrendered three runs, five hits, three walks and struck out one in five innings.

Hermida’s third homer cut Florida’s deficit to 3-2 in the sixth. He followed Miguel Cabrera’s two-out double with a 404-foot shot over the right-field wall.

Ryan Langerhans’ two-run home run with two out in the fourth gave Atlanta a 3-0 lead. Langerhans, who replaced center fielder Andruw Jones following the rain delay, hit Valdez’s 1-2 pitch 401 feet to right-center for his eighth home run.

James’ first career hit, a run-scoring single, gave Atlanta a 1-0 lead in the third. The two-out single to center scored Langerhans, who was hit by a pitch and took second on an intentional walk to Chipper Jones.

Pinch-hitter LaRoche had a two-out, RBI single in the seventh to give Atlanta a 4-2 lead.


RF The victory gave the Marlins their third consecutive winning season and fourth overall. … Jeff Francoeur was the only player in the Braves’ starting lineup to play the entire game. … Armando Benitez (47, 2004), Bryan Harvey (45, 1993) and Antonio Alfonseca (45, 2000) were the other Florida pitchers to have 40-save seasons. … The Marlins announced fans attending the game could buy a ticket to Sunday’s season finale or any Monday thru Thursday game (except opening day) in 2006 for $1. … Following the rain delay, the game restarted at 9:27 p.m.

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