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Braves win fourth game in a row, and officially have home field advantage for the Wild Card game on October 5th.
After last night's dramatics, today's game seemed a little boring by comparison. However, a win is a win, and Atlanta took care of business Wednesday night with a 3-0 win over the Marlins.
Paul Maholm escaped situations in both the first and second innings with two runners on, and worked 6.2 shutout innings overall. The left-hander fanned six batters while walking none, and recorded 13 swing and misses.
Martin Prado got things going in the bottom of the first inning against Marlins starter Josh Johnson. With one out and two strikes on him, Prado turned on a fastball and launched it into a left field seats to make it a 1-0 game.
Also in the first inning, Jason Heyward walked and proceeded to steal second. That stolen base made him the first Brave to record a 20-20 season (27 home runs, 20 steals) since Andruw Jones in 2000. I'm going to venture that this won't be the only time he'll achieve that.
Jose Constanza walked to begin the third, and moved up to second on a steal. Prado singled to right field, bringing Constanza around and upping Atlanta's advantage to 2-0.
In the sixth, a throwing error allowed Dan Uggla to reach base, and he advanced to third on a single from Brian McCann. With runners on the corners and one out, Paul Maholm attempted a squeeze, but pulled the bat back. The ball bounced off of the catchers glove, and Uggla trotted home, earning him a "steal" of home plate. That unearned run put the Braves up 3-0.
Johnson's final line was 6 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 5 BB, 6 K.
Chad Durbin finished out the seventh inning in relief of Maholm, and Eric O' Flaherty pitched a scoreless eighth. Craig Kimbrel entered in the ninth, and thanks to a wild pitch on strike three to Donovan Solano that allowed him to reach first, Kimbrel struck out four batters in the ninth inning.
He's only the fourth Braves pitcher to strike out four batters in an inning since 1977.
St. Louis lost tonight 2-0, so if the Braves do not win the division, Atlanta officially now has home field advantage for the Wild Card game.