Stanton, Marlins back Buehrle in big way in Atlanta

Stanton, Marlins back Buehrle in big way in Atlanta

Stanton, Marlins back Buehrle in big way in Atlanta
ATLANTA -- The Marlins didn't supply Mark Buehrle with much support in his first seven starts, averaging just 2.9 runs. But that certainly wasn't the case Wednesday night.

Giancarlo Stanton gave Buehrle the offensive and defensive backing he needed, as the left-hander worked six innings in the Marlins' 8-4 victory over the Braves at Turner Field.

Miami snapped a seven-game road losing streak against National League East rivals and improved to 12-3 in May after a rocky April.

"It's about offense," Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen said. "The difference from then and now is we're getting big hits."

Stanton supplied one, hitting a two-run homer in seventh inning off reliever Cristhian Martinez to pad the Miami lead. But another highlight catch by the right fielder may have been even more important than his eighth homer.

"It's not just how spectacular the catch was," Guillen said. "The moment is crucial. That was a huge play."

Stanton made a leaping catch at the fence in the Marlins' victory over the Pirates in Miami on Tuesday. This time it was a full-out dive that robbed Jason Heyward of extra bases and prevented the Braves from at least tying the game in the fourth inning.

"I didn't think he had a chance," Buehrle said.

"I just put my head down and ran," Stanton said.

Asked to compare his catches the past two games, Stanton didn't hesitate.

"This one was better," Stanton said. "It saved two runs. ... The other was just a catch."

"That ball goes through, it might be a different game," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said.

Stanton is hitting .328 with seven homers and 15 RBIs in May. But he is hardly the Marlins' only hot hitter.

Omar Infante had three hits the night after getting four. Emilio Bonifacio and Austin Kearns each had two hits and two RBIs.

The Marlins also had four stolen bases, with Jose Reyes scoring when he and Infante pulled off a double steal in a three-run fifth inning that chased Braves starter Mike Minor. Infante had two steals in the game, and Bonifacio got his league-leading 20th.

"It's going to even out," Buehrle said of the sudden change of run support.

The Marlins scored three runs in the fourth inning and then three more in the fifth to help Buehrle improve to 3-4 despite having his ERA rise to 3.17. The Marlins had lost four of Buehrle's previous five starts, scoring one or no runs in three of those games.

Against Atlanta, Buehrle won despite not having a quality start for just the second time this season. He allowed six hits and four runs in six innings, walking one and striking out four.

"I'm disappointed I let them back in the game," said Buehrle, who gave up three runs in the sixth after being handed a 6-1 lead.

But Stanton increased the advantage to four with his two-run blast in the seventh on a Martinez slider, and the Marlins' bullpen got the job done after that. Heath Bell followed Steve Cishek, Randy Choate and Edward Mujica, pitching a perfect ninth inning.

"The Braves are a really good team, and it feels good to come in here and get a win," Bell said. "They're one of the teams to beat."

The game didn't start well for Buehrle or the Marlins.

Tyler Pastornicky led off the first inning with a single, moved to third base on a double by Martin Prado and scored on Freddie Freeman's groundout. But from there, Buehrle blanked the Braves until the sixth inning -- with the help of the run-saving play by Stanton in the fourth.

After the Marlins had taken a 3-1 lead in the top of the frame, Stanton stole a double from Heyward to end the inning and leave Dan Uggla and Brian McCann, who had singled, stranded in scoring position.

The Marlins then scored three times in the fifth inning, chasing Minor. After the double steal scored the first run, Gaby Sanchez had an RBI single against Minor and Bonifacio drove in the third run of the inning with a single off Martinez.

The Braves cut into the lead with three runs against Buehrle in the sixth. Prado led off with a double, Freeman walked and Uggla knocked in the first run with a single. After a wild pitch, McCann and Matt Diaz drove in runs with groundouts.

Minor breezed through the first three innings, allowing just a second-inning walk to Sanchez. But he wasn't much of a mystery to the Marlins in the fourth inning, and couldn't make it through the fifth.

Miami scored the three runs in the fourth thanks to three hits, a hit batter and a walk. The first two outs were fly balls to the warning track in center field, and Buehrle worked a full count before ending the inning with a short flyout.

Kearns delivered a two-run double after Infante led off with a single, and Hanley Ramirez was then hit by a pitch. Bonifacio drove in Kearns for the third run with a single.

Buehrle won both of his starts against the Braves in Interleague Play with the White Sox, going eight innings and allowing three runs in 2004, and pitching six innings and giving up two earned runs in 2010. Both games were in Chicago.

He wasn't as sharp in his first start at Turner Field, but he's now 3-0 against the Braves. He can thank his Marlins teammates, both offensively and defensively, for that.

Guy Curtright is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.