ATLANTA (AP) — The Atlanta Braves are back home where they have the best record in the majors. Now they need to start hitting.
Omar Infante singled home the winning run with two outs in the 11th inning and the Atlanta Braves kept up their push for the NL wild-card spot, beating the Florida Marlins 2-1 Monday night.
The Braves took a half-game lead over San Diego for the wild card. The Padres lost 1-0 to the Chicago Cubs.
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Philadelphia’s 8-0 win earlier in the evening eliminated Atlanta in the NL East.
The Braves had lost five of their previous six games, scoring a total of nine runs in that span. They barely scored enough to win this time at Turner Field, where they have the best home record in the majors at 53-23.
“We played a good game, but obviously we’d like to swing the bats a little better,” said Brian McCann, who had a solo home run for Atlanta’s other run.
“Tonight our pitching staff stepped up. They were awesome,” he said.
Nate McLouth opened the 11th with a walk and moved up on a sacrifice by Alex Gonzalez. Rick Ankiel walked and both runners moved up on a wild pitch. Pinch-hitter Freddie Freeman struck out before Infante hit a 3-2 pitch from Jose Veras (3-3) down the left-field line.
“It’s 3-and-2. I’m just trying to make contact. I know he throws a good slider and a good fastball. “So I look for both. He threw the slider,” Infante said.
“He’s done that all year. It was a great at-bat,” McCann said.
“It doesn’t shock me. He’s led the league in hitting nearly all year,” Atlanta manager Bobby Cox said of Infante, who is hitting .327 but needs 19 plate appearances to reach the required 502 at-bats to qualify for a batting title.
“He was the right guy,” Cox said.
“We didn’t want to walk him,” Florida manager Edwin Rodriguez said. “that was a great at-bat for him.”
Mike Dunn (2-0) picked up the win getting the final out in the 11th after Peter Moylan got the first two.
The Braves had a chance to win it in the ninth, but Jason Heyward bounced out weakly to pitcher Brian Sanches with the bases loaded and two outs.
The Marlins tied it at 1 on a double in the seventh by Brad Davis that scored Mike Stanton, who had singled and stolen second off Braves starter Tommy Hanson.
Hanson allowed five hits, no walks, and struck out three in 7 2-3 innings. He had pitched 15 scoreless innings before Florida’s run.
The Braves led 1-0 on a solo home run by McCann in the fourth inning off Alex Sanabia. It was his 21st.
Sanabia pitched seven innings and gave up five hits, didn’t walk a batter and struck out five in the game delayed 1 hour, 6 minutes by rain.
Notes: Atlanta RHP Jair Jurrjens, out since his last start on Sept. 14 with a right knee injury, took some anti-inflammatory medication before the game. If that doesn’t work, he’ll have another MRI exam. He is likely to miss the rest of the regular season. … Braves 3B Martin Prado sustained a left hip pointer while swinging at a pitch in the fifth inning and left the game. He was listed day to day, but Cox said Prado would definitely be out a while. … The Braves will start Tim Hudson on Tuesday night and Derek Lowe on Wednesday, both on three days’ rest. … Florida SS Hanley Ramirez did not start for the sixth straight game because of a sore left elbow. He said Monday night his right elbow hurts, too. He pinch-ran in the eighth.