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Walk-off homer downs Atlanta


Walk-off homer downs Atlanta
MIAMI --- With the Marlins facing the prospect of being knocked three games behind the Braves in both the wild-card and the NL East standings Wednesday night, they came back fighting.

First with each other --- as Hanley Ramirez and Dan Uggla got into a clubhouse argument before the game. Then it was very nearly literally with the Braves after Matt Diaz jawed at Marlins reliever Tim Wood for hitting him with a pitch in the seventh inning.

Ultimately the Marlins took it out on the scoreboard, defeating the Braves 8-7 on a walk-off home run by Wes Helms. It was their second walk-off win against the Braves this season.

That swing made a winner out of Leo Nunez, even though he had given up the tying home run to Yunel Escobar in the top of the ninth. The home run by Helms ended a streak of six scoreless outings by reliever Mike Gonzalez.

The Marlins pulled within a game of the Braves in third place in the division and fourth in the wild-card race. The Braves , now up 2-1 in this series which ends today, dropped to 3 1/2 games behind the Rockies in the wild-card race, pending the outcome of the Rockies-Mets game.

The Marlins came back from deficits of 2-0 and 3-2 to open up a 7-3 lead on the Braves with a five-run sixth inning. Kris Medlen inherited a bases-loaded situation left by Javier Vazquez, and Brett Carroll greeted Medlen with a pinch-hit, bases-clearing double.

The Braves rallied back when Chipper Jones hit a bases-loaded double of his own to bring the Braves to within 7-6. Jones had been given the start off to rest his back and clear his head, but came through when called on as a pinch hitter. It was only his seventh hit in his past 54 at-bats.

Pinch hitter Greg Norton couldn't shake his own problems though and struck out for the key second out with Jones at third base. Diaz then was hit in the arm by Wood's pitch to load the bases for Martin Prado, who flew out to center.

Vazquez seemed to be pitching uphill but still finding a way to get by. That all changed in the sixth inning.

He wriggled out of a bases-loaded jam in the first inning, but wasn't so fortunate in the sixth. Medlen gave up a three-run double down the first baseline by Carroll on his second pitch. All three runs were charged to Vazquez. Medlen then gave up two of his own after allowing four hits to the six batters he faced.

Vazquez was charged with five runs in 5 1/3 innings. He struck out seven and has 199 this season.

Vazquez, who took a no-decision, has a five-game losing streak against the Marlins dating to 2003 when he was with the Expos. The Marlins have scored 16 runs in 25 1/3 innings off him in four meetings this season.

The Marlins made him work Wednesday. Vazquez had piled up 100 pitches by the time he walked Cody Ross to lead off the sixth inning.

Next for Braves

Who: at Marlins

When: 7:10 p.m. today

TV; radio: SPSO; 640, 96.1



Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: September 3, 2009

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