ATLANTA (AP)—Florida closer Kevin Gregg was disgusted with himself.
“It stinks,” he said. “You can’t lose games like that when you’re running out of time. You can’t let games like that get away.”
With the bases loaded and one out, Gregor Blanco grounded into what could have been a game-ending double play. But shortstop Hanley Ramirez was unable to pull the ball from his glove as Mark Kotsay slid into second, and Jeff Francoeur scored to make it 9-all.
Escobar then singled into shallow right field against Gregg (6-7), who has eight blown saves in 37 chances.
“Part of this game is you can’t assume a double play, but that’s what we were looking for,” Gregg said. “It was a situation I should not have put myself in. We have 30 games remaining. Anything’s possible. Look at the Mets last year.”
Ramirez refused to answer questions from reporters, but according to Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez, the $70 million shortstop told coach Andy Fox that he couldn’t get the ball out of his glove.
“I kept expecting to see the ball go across the infield,” Gonzalez said, “but it didn’t.”
Florida, which began the night 5 1/2 games behind first-place New York in the NL East, overcame a 3-0 first-inning deficit and led 8-4 in the eighth. But the Marlins were done in by eight walks.
Gregg struck out Chipper Jones with the bases loaded to end the eighth, then faced eight batters in the ninth, allowing five hits and a walk. Omar Infante singled and scored on a double by Martin Prado, who came home on Francoeur’s single to make it 9-8.
“It was fun,” said Blanco, whose team had lost 12 of 14. “We had a lot of fun today. We didn’t have any pressure.”
“It’s a tough loss, but there are still plenty of games to play,” Gonzalez said. “This late in the season, every loss is hard.”
Braves starter Jair Jurrjens gave up six runs, six hits and two walks in a season-low three innings. Though the rookie right-hander avoided losing his third straight start, Jurrjens is 1-3 with 6.00 ERA in five starts this month.
“I didn’t have my control at all today,” Jurrjens said. “My changeup was just floating in the air. My arm feels good, but every pitch was up. Some calls weren’t on my side, and I feel behind.”
Florida starter Scott Olsen allowed four runs, five hits and three walks in 5 1-3 innings. Since July 19, the left-hander is 0-4 with a 5.27 in seven starts.
But Gregg blamed himself for failing to make the most of nine runs scored by the Marlins, who have yet to win consecutive games in August.
“I executed every pitch to Chipper (in the eighth),” Gregg said. “I got out of that inning and came back in the ninth, and you saw what happened.”
Jones played in his 2,000th game, most in Atlanta history. He ranks third in franchise history behind Hank Aaron (3,076) and Eddie Mathews (2,223). … Sammons’ RBI single in the sixth ended an 0-for-17 streak.