Delgado pitches, hits Braves past Marlins

MIAMI (AP) — Young right-hander Randall Delgado and

the Atlanta Braves bullpen made their manager look

smart.

Delgado contributed an RBI batting in the No. 8

spot, and after manager Fredi Gonzalez gave him a quick hook in the

seventh inning, three relievers combined to complete a two-hitter and

help the Braves beat the Miami Marlins 2-1.

“It all

worked out, so the second guessing is for tomorrow,” Gonzalez

said.

Delgado led 2-1 and had thrown only 80 pitches

when he departed after allowing his only walk with one out in the

seventh. Gonzalez liked the matchups he could get out of the bullpen,

and he didn’t want his starter facing the heart of the Marlins’ order

for a fourth time.

The strategy worked: Braves

relievers retired all eight batters they faced. Craig Kimbrel pitched

the ninth for his NL-leading 17th save in 18

chances.

Gonzalez batted his pitcher eighth for the

second night in a row, and that strategy paid off, too. With two out and

runners on the corners in the fourth inning, Delgado singled on a hit

and run for his first RBI of the year, making the score

2-0.

“I thought it was going to come back and bite us

there,” Gonzalez said. “We started the runner, put the ball in play and

got lucky with a hit through the hole.”

Atlanta

pitcher Tim Hudson drove in two runs from eighth spot

Tuesday.

Delgado (4-5) had a career-high seven

strikeouts and won for only the second time in his past nine

starts.

“I felt very great tonight,” Delgado

said.

“Our pitching was phenomenal,” Gonzalez said.

“We had good solid defense, nothing flashy, made all the routine plays

and just got enough runs. Games like these where the pitchers give you a

good effort and keep the opposition from putting a big number up —

we’ve won four or five like this.”

In the first two

games of the series, the Braves have allowed one run and seven hits.

They’ve won five of their past six games, and their 19-14 road record is

the best in the NL.

Braves first baseman Freddie

Freeman left the game with a bruised left index finger. He singled home

Atlanta’s first run in the fourth inning, then was hurt trying to break

up a double play when he was hit at close range by Hanley Ramirez’s

relay throw.

Freeman was called out for interference

and departed. His finger was put in a splint, and X-rays are planned

Thursday.

“It doesn’t feel good right now,” he said.

“My hand was in the wrong place at the wrong

time.”

Brian McCann had three of the Braves’ six hits

and scored a run.

“I worked the count a little bit,”

McCann said. “When I got my pitch, I didn’t

miss.”

Josh Johnson (3-4) lost for the first time in

his past four decisions even though he went a season-high 7 2-3 innings

and allowed two runs.

“The good thing out of all this

is the way J.J. threw the ball,” Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen said.

“That’s a step forward. That’s the first time I’ve seen him throw the

ball like that. His velocity and command were a lot

better.”

Delgado retired the first 12 batters before

Giancarlo Stanton doubled to lead off the fifth. He scored the Marlins’

first run of the series on a two-out single by Bryan Petersen — only

his second RBI this season.

That was the Marlins’

final hit. Jose Reyes went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts, ending the

longest active hitting streak in the majors at 15

games.

“Their pitcher was better than we were,”

Guillen said. “Sometimes you’ve got to tip your

hat.”

NOTES: Marlins OF Austin

Kearns (hamstring) was hit on the elbow in a game Wednesday during a

rehabilitation assignment, which may delay his return from the disabled

list. … The Braves have won nine of their past 11 games in Miami. …

Kimbrel has 34 strikeouts in 21 innings. … Miami’s Logan Morrison is

batting .368 in day games and .142 at night. … The Marlins’ bullpen

has allowed only five home runs, fewest in the majors.