ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 13: Brian McCann #16 of the Atlanta Braves celebrates with Chipper Jones #10 after hitting a three-run homer in the sixth inning against the Florida Marlins Turner Field on September 13, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Early signs indicated the Braves could be in for another long game of lost opportunity. Michael Bourn singled in the first inning off Brad Hand and stole two bases; a walk to Freddie Freeman put the Braves in prime scoring position, but as was the case too often in Monday's game, no one scored. The leadoff hitter reached base in each of the first three innings, but were stranded each time. Hand kept the Braves off the scoreboard for five innings, allowing only four hits and retired 10 in a row at one point.
However, Mike Minor matched zeros with Hand through the first four innings, striking out five, but ran into trouble in the fifth. A leadoff walk to Donnie Murphy led to an RBI single by Emilio Bonifacio, giving the Marlins a 1-0 lead. Minor left the game after 5.1 innings, having thrown only 88 pitches.
The lead was short-lived because the Braves were able to put together a rally in the sixth. A one-out walk to Dan Uggla followed by a Matt Diaz single brought Brian McCann to the plate, and he crushed a home run to center to give the Braves a 3-1 lead. Hand departed one hitter later; he allowed seven hits and struck out five.
The attack continued in the seventh against Brian Sanches. Chipper Jones led off with a single, then Freddie Freeman drew a walk to allow Dan Uggla to smash his 34th home run of the year, setting a new season high for him.
The Braves added a run in the eighth on Michael Bourn's sacrifice fly, all but ensuring a much-needed win. Peter Moylan earned the victory, his second of the year.
Alex Gonzalez had another three-hit game, marking the first time he's had consecutive three-hit games since July 2006.
The magic number is down to 10.