Braves-Marlins Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated June 04, 2012
The Miami Marlins are just percentage points out of first place in the NL East race. The Atlanta Braves aren't far behind. Jose Reyes looks to extend the longest active hitting streak in the majors as the Marlins welcome the Braves to their new stadium for the first time Tuesday night. Miami (31-23) is three-thousandths of a percentage point behind Washington in the East. Both teams are one-half game ahead of third-place New York, while Atlanta (29-25) is two back and last-place Philadelphia trails by four games. The Marlins are 23-9 since May 1 and have won seven of nine after beating the Phillies 5-1 on Sunday. Reyes is providing a spark as he finally appears to be getting comfortable in his first season with Miami. The shortstop had two hits Sunday, extending his hitting streak to 14 games for his longest since an 18-game run with the Mets from May 15-June 2, 2008. Reyes has a .373 average with five doubles, six RBIs, seven runs and six stolen bases during the hit streak. "He's swinging the bat good and hitting the ball hard," manager Ozzie Guillen said. "Even the outs, he's (hitting the ball) square. I didn't expect anything less from him. This kid's a great hitter." Reyes is hitting .349 in his last 17 meetings with the Braves but was 1 for 9 as the division rivals split a two-game set at Atlanta from May 16-17. Giancarlo Stanton may benefit from opening a nine-game homestand, as the right fielder is hitting .340 with seven homers and 26 RBIs at Marlins Park compared to .253 on the road. Stanton hit .209 with four homers in 15 career home meetings against the Braves, but this will be the first time he'll face them at the new stadium. Miami has lost seven of the last nine when hosting Atlanta. Anibal Sanchez (3-3, 2.57 ERA) may also be looking forward to facing the Braves at a new venue after going 1-4 with a 7.11 ERA in seven matchups at the Marlins' old stadium. He's 0-5 with a 6.23 ERA in his last six overall starts against Atlanta. The right-hander enters this meeting after allowing an unearned run and three hits in seven innings of a 3-1 win over the Nationals last Tuesday. He had lost each of his previous three starts behind a 4.66 ERA. The Braves will try to get to Sanchez again as they look to win for the fourth time in five games following a season-high eight-game slide. They split a rain-shortened two-game series over the weekend at Washington, winning 3-2 on Sunday. "It's nice to get back and just get a good rhythm going," catcher David Ross told the team's official website. Martin Prado is batting .398 with 10 doubles and 16 runs over the last 24 games, and he went 5 for 8 with three doubles and a triple against the Marlins last month. Prado is 12 for 27 with one homer off Sanchez. Atlanta's Tim Hudson (3-2, 4.60) is hoping to find more success in Miami after going 7-1 with a 2.76 ERA in 11 starts at the Marlins' previous venue. The right-hander has struggled in his last two outings overall, going 0-1 with an 8.76 ERA while surrendering 14 hits in 12 1-3 innings.
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