Braves win 5th straight; Medlen sharp

Associated Press  |  Last updated April 09, 2013
Kris Medlen allowed only an unearned run in seven innings Tuesday night, and the Atlanta Braves earned their fifth consecutive victory by beating the punchless Miami Marlins 3-2. The Braves improved to 7-1, their best start since 2007. The Marlins fell to 1-7 with their fourth consecutive defeat, and they're off to their worst start since the 1998 team began the season 1-11. Evan Gattis hit his second home run, and Justin Upton doubled home a run. Craig Kimbrel pitched around a leadoff walk in the ninth for his fourth save in as many chances to complete a four-hitter. Atlanta has allowed six hits and two runs in the first two games of the series. Announced attendance was 14,222, the smallest crowd at Marlins Park since it opened a year ago, and a reflection of fan disenchantment following the team's offseason payroll purge. Even with a lean budget, owner Jeffrey Loria isn't getting much bang for his buck. In eight games the Marlins have scored 16 runs, with seven coming in their lone win. Against Medlen (1-1), the Marlins went 1 for 7 with runners in scoring position, and they're batting .175 in those situations. Giancarlo Stanton, the NL slugging leader last year, went 0 for 3 to drop his average to .154. Miami trailed 3-1 when Stanton was intentionally walked with one on and two out in the eighth inning, even though the move put the potential tying run on base. Placido Polanco followed with an RBI single, but Greg Dobbs grounded out to end the inning. The Marlins again lost despite some solid pitching, with Wade LeBlanc (0-2) allowing two runs in six innings. Miami starters are 1-5 despite an ERA of 2.56. LeBlanc fell to 0-4 in seven career games against Atlanta. Medlen allowed three hits and walked two. Center fielder B.J. Upton dropped Dobbs' fly leading off the second inning, which led to Miami's first run. Rob Brantly drove it home with a sacrifice fly. Medlen gave up a leadoff double to Polanco in the fourth but escaped with three groundouts. Shortstop Andrelton Simmons saved a run when he made a backhanded grab of Donovan Solano's sharp grounder with a runner at third and threw out the batter. Medlen has allowed no runs in 19 innings in five games at Marlins Park. Miami's offensive ineptitude reached a peak in the ninth. After a leadoff walk, Brantly tried to bunt and popped into a double play. The Braves scored in the first when Simmons singled and Gattis hit a two-out homer. Justin Upton had an RBI double in the eighth, which left his average at .400 and his slugging percentage at 1.100. NOTES: B.J. Upton went hitless and is batting .103. ... Slumping Braves RF Jason Heyward (.083) was given the night off. ... The retractable roof was open for the second night in a row. ... Justin Upton went 0 for 3 against LeBlanc and is 2 for 19 lifetime vs. the left-hander. ... LHP Mike Minor, scheduled to start Wednesday for Atlanta, has a 2.09 ERA in 15 starts since last year's All-Star break.
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