Braves open two-game lead over Marlins

Braves open two-game lead over Marlins

June 1st, 2014 by Jamie Poole in Sports - Professional

Atlanta Braves' Tommy La Stella (7) celebrates with teammate Gerald Laird after they scored on a single by Jason Heyward in their game against the Miami Marlins in Miami on May 31, 2014.

Photo by Associated Press /Times Free Press.

MIAMI - Jason Heyward and Freddie Freeman each drove in a pair of runs to help lead the Atlanta Braves to a 9-5 win over the Miami Marlins on Saturday.

Braves starting pitcher Ervin Santana (5-2) won for the first time since May 10 against the Cubs as he allowed three runs and seven hits in six innings. He struck out four as Atlanta increased its National League East lead over the Marlins to two games with its second win in a row.

Craig Kimbrel got the last two outs for his 15th save of the season, which tied him with John Smoltz for the most saves in franchise history with 154. Kimbrel's save percentage of .901 (154-for-171) ranks third all-time among major league pitchers with at least 150 opportunities.

Derek Dietrich and Casey McGehee each drove in two runs and Christian Yelich had three hits for the Marlins.

Jacob Turner (1-3) took the loss, allowing five runs -- four earned -- in five innings. Six Miami pitchers combined to walk nine batters.

Miami bench coach Rob Leary was ejected in the bottom of the eighth inning by home plate umpire Quinn Wolcott for arguing balls and strikes during an at-bat by Giancarlo Stanton with David Carpenter on the mound. Immediately after the ejection, Stanton singled and McGehee drove him home with a double to pull Miami within 6-4.

Two batters later, Marcell Ozuna brought the Marlins within a run with a base hit. Carpenter exited without recording an out from the four batters he faced.

Shae Simmons struck out slumping Jarrod Saltalamacchia to end the inning with runners on second and first. Saltalamacchia is 1 for his last 21.

The Braves scored three runs in the ninth off A.J. Ramos on Gerald Laird's RBI single, Ramiro Pena's squeeze bunt and B.J. Upton's bases-loaded walk.

Kimbrel came on in the bottom of the ninth with two runners on, and the game appeared to be over on a ground ball by Stanton, but Pena dropped a routine throw to second on a fielder's choice, which loaded the bases for Miami.

Kimbrel retired McGehee on a groundout on a 3-2 pitch to end the game.

The Braves opened the scoring in the third inning with three runs sparked by a two-run double to right by Freeman. Heyward's two-run single in the fourth stretched the Braves' lead to 5-0 as Turner walked three in the inning.

Dietrich's RBI single in the bottom of the fourth put the Marlins on the scoreboard, and his RBI triple in the sixth cut the deficit to 5-2.

McGehee's sacrifice fly pulled Miami within 5-3, but Santana got Garrett Jones to bounce into an inning-ending double play -- one of three double plays induced by Santana.

Tommy La Stella's first major league RBI gave the Braves a 6-3 advantage.

Atlanta will send Aaron Harang (4-4, 3.29 ERA) to the mound in today's series finale against Miami and fellow right-hander Nathan Eovaldi (4-2, 3.36).