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Braves hand Marlins another setback

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MIAMI (AP) - Rob Brantly angrily spiked his helmet in the ninth inning, one of the few times the Miami Marlins made solid contact Tuesday night.

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The display of temper came after Brantly tried to bunt and popped into a double play, ending Miami's final threat in a 3-2 loss to the Atlanta Braves.

``We try to get the bunt down to try to avoid the double play, and we still get the double play,'' manager Mike Redmond said. ``Guys are getting frustrated. They're tired of getting outs, and you saw that.''

The punchless 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. The Marlins have scored 16 runs, with seven coming in their lone win.

``When you are not winning, you are going to get frustrated,'' said Placido Polanco, who had two of Miami's four hits in the latest loss. ``We're all here to win, and we're not winning right now. We just have to put a couple of hits together and start scoring runs.''

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.

Kris Medlen allowed only an unearned run in seven innings for the Braves, who earned their fifth consecutive victory. The Braves improved to 7-1, their best start since 2007.

Atlanta's Evan Gattis hit his second home run, and Justin Upton doubled home a run.

Craig Kimbrel pitched around a leadoff walk in the ninth, helped by Brantly's poor bunt, and earned his fourth save in as many chances. Atlanta has allowed six hits and two runs in the first two games of the series.

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.

``Just don't panic,'' Redmond said. ``We just need that one big hit from one of these guys, any of them, and get this thing turned around.''

Miami trailed 3-1 when Stanton was intentionally walked with one on and two outs in the eighth inning, even though the move put the potential tying run on base. Polanco followed with an RBI single, but Greg Dobbs grounded out to end the inning.

The Marlins lost again 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.

``Unfortunately, when you run into a guy like Medlen, you have to keep the game closer than that,'' LeBlanc said.

Medlen, who relies on pinpoint control, allowed three hits and walked two.

``I can't be too mad about the walks,'' he said. ``I don't play fantasy baseball. I wouldn't be on my own team if I did, and I don't care. We won, so we're good.''

Center fielder B.J. Upton dropped Dobbs' fly leading off the second inning, which led to Miami's first run. 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.

That was Miami's last threat against Medlen.

``He got sharper,'' Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. ``His stuff was moving everywhere. He did a fantastic job.''

The Braves scored in the first when Simmons singled and Gattis hit a two-out homer. Gattis is batting .368 in his rookie season.

``It has been awesome,'' he said. ``It has been a dream come true. It has been amazing. It has been everything I've wanted it to be. I'm still pinching myself.''

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.

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2014
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved

  
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