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B.J. Upton's RBI in 11th lifts Braves past Marlins

The SportsXchange

ATLANTA -- With 10 this season and two in four games, the Atlanta Braves are getting used to celebrating walk-off victories.

B.J. Upton - enduring a difficult season -- was the hero this time, driving in the winning run with two outs in the 11th inning to give the Braves a 5-4 victory over the Miami Marlins on Saturday night at Turner Field.

Upton, who had hit a two-run homer earlier, smacked a liner to right-center field for on a 1-1 pitch from reliever Ryan Webb for his fourth straight hit, and pinch-runner Paul Janish scored the winning run.

Upton, batting just .195 even with the four-hit outing, had been in a 4-for-42 slump with one RBI after striking out his first two times up.

"It was a start," the center fielder said. "I've been working hard all season and I'm finally beginning to see some consistent results. Tonight was my night, I guess."

Chris Johnson had opened the 11th with his fourth hit before being replaced by Janish. Dan Uggla was walked with two outs, bringing up Upton.

"He's starting to heat up a little bit, which is a good time," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "He had tough months, but they say it is what you do at the end of the season that everyone remembers."

The Braves mobbed Upton at first base, just like they had Johnson after his walk-off against the Indians on Wednesday.

"My teammates have been behind me all year and it's meant a lot to me," said Upton, who also had a walk-off hit June 4 against Pittsburgh.

The victory was the sixth straight for the first-place Braves, who finished August 20-7 and improved to 49-18 at home.

The Marlins have lost six in a row.

Miami took a 4-3 lead on Logan Morrison's RBI single in the top of the seventh, but the Braves tied it in the bottom of the inning on Brian McCann's run-scoring hit before leaving the bases loaded when reliever A.J. Ramos struck out Andrelton Simmons.

Atlanta stranded 15 runners, wasting chances to win in the ninth and 10th innings.

"We left a small village out there," Gonzalez said.

The Braves had tied it 3-3 in the sixth as Upton connected with a 2-1 fastball from Marlins starter Jacob Turner and lined a two-run homer to left field. It was the center fielder's first homer since June 15 and his ninth of the season.

Turner, who has yet to win a road start in 13 career outings, allowed three runs (two earned) and four hits in 5 2/3 innings while tying the Marlins record of three errors in a game set by Gary Sheffield as a third baseman in the final game of the 1993 season.

Braves starter Mike Minor allowed five hits in seven innings, but two were the homers as Justin Ruggiano and Giancarlo Stanton connected. Minor struck out six and walked one.

Minor hadn't allowed a homer in his previous five games, but Ruggiano quickly gave the Marlins a lead with a two-run blast in the first inning. The outfielder connected with a 3-2 fastball and hit an opposite-field drive to right for his 16th homer.

After Turner's first error of the game, on a muffed throw, led to an unearned run for the Braves in the bottom of the inning, the Marlins took Minor deep again in the fourth. Stanton, leading off, also went to the opposite field, lining a 1-1 fastball over the fence in right for his 18th homer.

Turner made two errors on the same play in the fifth, bobbling Jordan Schafer's bunt and then throwing the ball away. But he got out of a bases-loaded jam by getting Johnson to pop out.

"I was good to get some early runs, but we can't stop there," Ruggiano said. "We just got to turn the page and act like we're winning."

NOTES: Marlins rookie RHP Jose Fernandez, 10-6 with a 2.33 ERA after having his five-game winning streak snapped by the Braves in the series opener, will be shut down for the season after two more starts, both in Miami. He will face the Nationals next Friday with two extra days of rest and then have a rematch with the Braves on Sept. 11. ... Braves rookie C/OF Evan Gattis, who had just one of his 15 homers since the All-Star break, was hitless in his last 17 at-bats and playing rarely when sent down to Triple-A Gwinnett after Friday night's game. He will be recalled on Tuesday after Gwinnett's season ends. ... OF Justin Upton (bruised hand) was out of the Braves' lineup for the second straight game, but pinch hit in the 10th inning. ... Braves rookie LHP Alex Wood, who led major league starters with a 0.90 ERA in August, will face the Marlins on Sunday in the series finale. Wood (3-2, 2.27 ERA) will be opposed by RHP Nathan Eovaldi (2-5, 3.76). Eovaldi has lost five straight decisions and is winless since July 12.
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