Marlins 5, Braves 4(12)

The Florida Marlins seemed to enjoy spoiling Atlanta’s hopes of
moving closer to a playoff berth.

They’re hoping to have more success in the role as they approach
the end of a disappointing season.

Mike Stanton’s pinch-hit single in the 12th inning drove in the
go-ahead run and Florida beat Atlanta 5-4 on Monday night to extend
the NL wild card-leading Braves’ slump.

The Marlins still have five more games left against Atlanta,
including three games at Florida on Sept. 19-21.

”If you don’t get the opportunity to play in the playoffs, it’s
fun to see how we can affect the outcome,” said Florida’s Donnie
Murphy.

The Marlins won despite holding their three starting
outfielders, including Stanton, out of the lineup for the third
straight game.

Manager Jack McKeon said left fielder Logan Morrison, who has a
bruised left knee, will miss the series. Morrison was having an MRI
on the knee on Monday.

Mike Cameron, the regular in center field, struck out as a
pinch-hitter in the 10th. Cameron and Stanton have strained right
hamstrings.

Right-hander Javier Vazquez replaced Stanton as a
pinch-runner.

Despite the injuries, the Marlins have won four straight. McKeon
joked that his starting outfielders may have difficulty regaining
their jobs.

”The guys are playing good,” McKeon said. ”I hate to break
this lineup up.”

Clay Hensley (4-6) pitched two scoreless innings for the win.
Leo Nunez pitched the 12th for his 35th save.

Chris Volstad gave up two runs and seven hits and a walk in five
innings.

Braves rookie right-hander Anthony Varvaro (0-2) walked John
Buck to lead off the 12th. Pinch-runner Brett Hayes moved to second
on Bryan Peterson’s sacrifice before Varvaro issued an intentional
walk to Murphy.

Stanton lined a 1-2 pitch from Cristhian Martinez into left
field to drive in Hayes. He said he approached the at-bat as if he
was starting a new game.

”It’s kind of like my first inning,” Stanton said, adding that
pinch-hitting means ”it’s usually more important situations.”

McKeon said he was tempted to use Stanton as a pinch-hitter
earlier in the game.

”I tried to use him two or three times during the game,”
McKeon said. ”I was debating.”

The Braves, coming off a 2-6 road trip, have lost four straight
and nine of 12. They still lead St. Louis by 4 1/2 games in the
wild-card race.

”We’re still in a good spot despite coming off a losing road
trip and losing this one the way we did,” said Brandon Beachy, who
struck out 10, one shy of his career high, but gave up four runs
and nine hits in 5 1-3 innings.

”We’re still confident in our abilities,” Beachy said.

”We’ve got a 4 1/2-game lead with 14 left in the season. We
should definitely make the playoffs and once that happens we can
regroup and refocus and get things done.”

The Braves had an assist from Pittsburgh, which beat St. Louis
6-5 on Monday night to keep the Cardinals from gaining ground in
the wild-card race.

The Braves couldn’t score in the ninth after loading the bases
with one out. Michael Bourn, who led off the inning with a double
to the left-field wall, was stranded on third as Steve Cishek
struck out Brian McCann on a called third strike before ending the
threat on Martin Prado’s groundout.

The frustrations continued when the Braves stranded runners in
each of the next three innings. McCann struck out in the 11th with
a runner on second.

”I came up twice with a chance to dictate the outcome and came
up empty both times,” McCann said, adding he had ”two horrible
at-bats.”

Nunez walked Jason Heyward to lead off the 12th. Heyward moved
to second on Jack Wilson’s sacrifice. Nunez struck out pinch-hitter
J.C. Boscan and ended the game on Bourn’s grounder to second.

Alex Gonzalez, rejuvenated after a three-day break to rest his
sore lower back, had three hits and drove in two runs, including a
single off Edward Mujica in the eighth that drove in Heyward for a
4-4 tie.

Florida’s Omar Infante had three hits, including a triple in the
first.

Matt Dominguez drove in Bryan Peterson with a single up the
middle in the sixth for his first RBI in the major leagues.
Dominguez scored on a wild pitch from Arodys Vizcaino to give
Florida a 4-2 lead.

NOTES: Braves RHP Tommy Hanson, on the disabled list with right
shoulder tendinitis, said he had normal soreness after throwing in
the bullpen for the first time in St. Louis. He is set for another
bullpen session on Wednesday. … Two rookie left-handers,
Atlanta’s Mike Minor and Florida’s Brad Hand, are scheduled to
pitch in Tuesday night’s game. Minor gave up nine hits and six runs
in four innings in his only previous start against Florida on Sept.
5, 2010. Hand is 0-2 against Atlanta this season and gave up seven
runs in an 8-4 loss to the Braves at Florida on Aug. 8.