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.