Braves lose Jones but beat Marlins 9-4

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MIAMI (AP)—By the time Chipper Jones pulled up lame, the Atlanta Braves already had plenty of runs for Tim Hudson.

Then Hudson departed with a tender elbow.

Jones strained his left hamstring, and Hudson left after six shutout innings with tightness in his right elbow, tempering the glow of the Braves’ 9-4 victory over the Florida Marlins on Wednesday night.

That’s how the season has gone for the fourth-place Braves, who are struggling to stay in the NL East race.

“We just haven’t had many opportunities to feel good about ourselves and how we’re playing,” Jones said.

Jones, the major league’s batting leader at .369, was hurt running out a grounder in the fourth inning and immediately left the game. He said he hopes to avoid the disabled list but may miss the start of a series against division co-leader Philadelphia beginning Friday.

Hudson (11-7) said he felt tightness on the inside of his upper forearm at the elbow, but he doesn’t expect to miss a start.

“Over the course of the game, the forearm started tightening up a little bit,” he said. “I don’t foresee it being that big of a deal. It doesn’t feel too bad. It just feels like tight muscles.”

Hudson said he threw eight to 10 splitters, more than in recent games, which may have put stress on his arm. The pitch was effective, and so was the rest of his repertoire—he allowed three hits and walked one, but departed after throwing just 68 pitches.

“Obviously you’re a little worried about Huddy,” Jones said. “Hopefully that will turn out to be something very minor.”

Jones said he hurt his hamstring a couple of steps before reaching the base.

“It’s sore right now,” he said. “I don’t know what the timetable is going to be. Hopefully it feels a lot better and I’ll be able to get in there in a couple of days. As of right now it doesn’t look good.”

The Braves, who are 2-10 without Jones, are off Thursday.

Florida finished its homestand 3-3 and missed a chance to forge a three-way tie atop the division with Philadelphia and the New York Mets.

Ricky Nolasco (10-6) allowed eight hits and five runs in five innings. He fell to 0-3 in three starts against Atlanta this year with an ERA of 10.57, while his ERA against all other teams is 3.10.

“I just tried to do what I do best, but I didn’t do what I do best tonight,” Nolasco said. “It just backfired on me and kind of played into their hands.”

The Braves, who managed one hit Tuesday, had eight after four innings against Nolasco. Hudson singled and scored the game’s first run. Gregor Blanco had four hits, scored three runs and drove in three, and Yunel Escobar had two doubles and three RBIs.

Florida leads the NL with 28 come-from-behind wins, but there was no rallying against Hudson and four relievers. The score was 9-0 before Luis Gonzalez hit a three-run homer in the ninth off Buddy Carlyle.

The Marlins head for Wrigley Field in a scoring slump. Dan Uggla went 0-for-4 and is 1-for-22 since his miserable performance in the All-Star game. Hanley Ramirez is in a 2-for-21 skid. Josh Willingham, who was given the night off, is batting .167 since coming off the disabled list June 24.

“We’ve definitely got to turn it up and start playing some better baseball,” Uggla said as he packed a bag with bats. “The way I’ve been hitting, I’d like to burn them all.”

The Braves’ attack has been sputtering, too, but Hudson got it going with a leadoff single in the third, and Blanco reached when his sacrifice bunt went for a hit. Escobar doubled home a run, and Blanco scored on a groundout by Jones.

The Braves added three runs to make it 5-0 in the fourth. Jeff Francoeur and Kelly Johnson doubled, Blanco hit a two-out RBI single, and Escobar followed with a run-scoring double.

Blanco hit a two-run triple in the eighth.


After the game, the Marlins optioned RHP Ryan Tucker to Double-A Carolina and activated RHP Justin Miller. … Blanco got the last word in a fourth-inning quarrel with plate umpire Doug Eddings. After hitting an RBI single, Blanco looked back over his right shoulder and hollered at Eddings while running to first base.

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