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Braves pound Marlins for fourth straight win

The SportsXchange

ATLANTA -- Chris Johnson proved again Tuesday that he's not your typical eighth-place hitter.

The Atlanta third baseman went 3-for-3, including a critical two-run double that sparked a four-run rally in the sixth and paved the way for the Braves to beat the Miami Marlins 11-3 on Monday.

Johnson, who improved his batting average to .330, produced his biggest hit in the sixth, when he lined a ball past first baseman Logan Morrison to bring home a pair of runs.

The crucial hit came against Ryan Webb, who entered the game after reliever Dan Jennings (0-1) loaded the bases to start the sixth. Webb struck out Dan Uggla and Reed Johnson and was ahead 0-and-1 when Johnson delivered.

"I haven't been getting guys in when it's been my turn," Johnson said. "I try to pick up guys in front of me. That's what good teams do. Webb's got good stuff and against righties he's tough. I was just trying to get something over the plate."

The Braves added two more runs on infield singles by Jordan Schafer and Andrelton Simmons.

"Johnson had a good at-bat," Miami manager Mike Redmond said. "He flips one down the first-base line and puts it in play. After that the floodgates kind of opened up."

The Braves had 16 hits and won their fourth straight game. The victory enabled Atlanta to stretch its lead in the N.L. East to seven games over Washington.

The beneficiary was Atlanta starter Kris Medlen (6-7), who allowed nine hits and three runs in six innings to win his third straight decision.

"You're not going to go out there and have your best stuff every time," Medlen said. "I realize that. It comes down to heart and relying on your teammates. I gave up some hard-hit balls, but they were outs."

Anthony Varvaro and Alex Wood combined to pitch three scoreless innings of relief.

The Marlins jumped in front 2-0 in the first inning on Logan Morrison's line-drive homer to right. Morrison had been hitless in his last 25 at-bats against the Braves but whacked the first pitch into the stands for his second homer of the season.

"We had some good at-bats early but we couldn't seem to get the big hit," Redmond said.

The Braves cut the lead to 2-1 in the second. Freddie Freeman led off with a double on a fly to right that a diving Giancarlo Stanton missed. Freeman took third on Brian McCann's grounder to second and scored on Dan Uggla's grounder to third base.

The Braves tied the score in the third. Johnson led off with a double that skipped past center fielder Marcell Ozuna. Medlen then executed a near-perfect bunt that third baseman Placido Polanco fielded and made an off-balance throw that got past Morrison and allowed Johnson to score.

The Braves took a 3-2 lead with a run in the fourth. Justin Upton led off with a triple and scored when Freeman's sacrifice fly to left was botched by Juan Pierre and Ozuna, who closed on the ball at the same time with neither making the catch. The ball glanced off Pierre's glove and he was given an error, which allowed Freeman to hustle to third base.

"We were sloppy today in all aspects," Redmond said. "The defense, especially late in the game."

The Marlins tied the game 3-3 in the sixth. Derek Dietrich doubled over Upton's head in left, took third on Adeiny Hechavarria's sacrifice and scored on a two-out single by pinch-hitter Greg Dobbs.

NOTES: The Marlins recalled INF Donovan Solano and optioned OF Jordan Brown to Triple-A New Orleans. Solano was on the 15-day disabled list earlier in the season with a strained left intercostal muscle and was assigned to New Orleans when he was reinstated. He hit in all 17 games in which he played and batted .379 for New Orleans. Brown was batting .200 and been used mainly as a pinch hitter. ... B.J. Upton left the game after striking out in the second inning. He was diagnosed with left forearm muscle spasms and his status is day to day. ... The win is only the fifth of the season for Atlanta when it hasn't hit a home run. ... Ozuna went 0-for-4 and had his 10-game hitting streak snapped.

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