2 Heyward HRs help Braves beat Marlins
MIAMI (AP) -- Jason Heyward's majestic ninth-inning drive sailed into the hard-to-reach seats in center field at Marlins Park. And that wasn't even his hardest-hit ball Thursday night.
Heyward ranked his seventh-inning homer to center No. 1, but both counted the same, and the two solo shots helped the Atlanta Braves beat the Miami Marlins 8-2 to complete a three-game series sweep.
Martin Prado put Atlanta ahead to stay with a two-run homer, and Michael Bourn added a three-run homer in the ninth.
"Our bats came alive," Heyward said.
They were alive the whole series, with Atlanta outscoring Miami 21-3. The Marlins, who began the week in a virtual tie for first place in the NL East, were swept in their new ballpark for the first time.
Many well-struck fly balls have been caught in the park's vast center field this season, but Heyward homered onto the grass beyond the 418-foot sign with two out in the seventh.
"It wasn't a fly ball," he said. "I had to get it perfect. It was more of a line drive."
With the Braves still unbeaten in the new ballpark, Heyward said he likes it just fine. So does Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez.
"It's a fair ballpark," Gonzalez said. "You've got to hit it to get it out. It's a lot better than playing some of the other places where if you bump it forward in the air, you're holding your breath."
Atlanta's four homers were a season high. Giancarlo Stanton hit his 14th homer and Jose Reyes hit his first for the Marlins, but they went 0 for 13 with runners in scoring position and left 11 men on base.
Mike Minor (3-4) needed 103 pitches to get through five innings but allowed only one run, and four relievers completed a nine-hitter. Braves pitchers allowed just 16 hits in the series.
"They came in and whipped our butts in three games," Stanton said. "It's not like we're going downhill from here. A little slip-up. Ain't no problem."
The Braves, who have won six of their past seven games, earned their third road series sweep. Their 20-14 record in away games is the best in the NL.
Mark Buehrle (5-6), who had won his three previous career starts against Atlanta, allowed two runs and three hits in six innings. He took a one-hitter and a 1-0 lead into the sixth, but Bourn singled with two out and Prado hit a 2-2 pitch just inside the left-field foul pole for his fourth homer.
Prado added an RBI single in the eighth.
Flashy glove work helped the Braves preserve a two-run lead in the seventh after a leadoff walk. Heyward made a sliding catch in right field to rob Omar Infante of a hit, and Andrelton Simmons followed with a diving backhand stop to start a 6-4-3 double play.
"For me the whole game was the seventh inning," Gonzalez said. "It's a different game if we don't turn the double play."
Stanton's homer was originally ruled a double when the ball hit just inside the right-field foul pole and bounced back onto the field, but the call was reversed following a replay review.
The game was scoreless when Reyes homered leading off the fifth inning. The ball landed on top of the wall and bounced into the Marlins' bullpen.
That was the only run allowed by Minor. He walked five, allowed four hits and stranded seven to win for the first time in his past eight starts.
"He didn't buckle," Gonzalez said. "There was progress there. A couple of innings they could have put up some big numbers against him."
Minor walked two in the first inning and loaded the bases with two out, but Logan Morrison struck out. Morrison went 0 for 4 and is batting .133 with runners in scoring position.
"We're in a little slump right now," Buehrle said. "That's what happens when you face good teams and good pitching."
NOTES: Marlins OF Austin Kearns said his latest injury isn't serious, and he'll likely be activated this weekend. Kearns was already on the disabled list with a sore right hamstring when he was hit on the left elbow in a game Wednesday during a rehabilitation assignment. ... Bourn's six homers are a career high. ... Marlins RHP Ricky Nolasco, scheduled to face the Rays on Friday, is 2-3 with an 8.51 ERA in five starts against them. ... The Braves begin a nine-game homestand Friday. They've played 23 home games, fewest in the NL.