Big fifth propels Braves to sixth straight win

Big fifth propels Braves to sixth straight win

Big fifth propels Braves to sixth straight win
ATLANTA -- As the losses continued to mount, the Braves found it more difficult to explain the futility they were experiencing on Mondays. But thanks to another of Tommy Hanson's fortunate outings and Jason Heyward's latest multihit performance, they can put this maddening trend in their past.

Heyward homered for the second straight day and sparked a four-run uprising that backed Hanson's latest stress-filled performance and propelled the Braves toward an 8-2 win over the Marlins on Monday night at Turner Field.

"I think everybody chipped in at one point tonight," third baseman Chipper Jones said. "It was a good team win."

In addition to extending their winning streak to six games, the Braves won on a Monday for the first time since Aug. 22, 2011. They totaled 18 runs and batted .186 while losing each of the previous 12 Monday games they played this season.

Per Jones' suggestion, the position players attempted to buck this trend by entering the game with their pant legs up and their stirrups showing.

"I figured if it was brought to everyone's attention, we might play a little harder," Jones said. "It didn't work last Monday. But it's my job to change things up when they're not going good around here."

Also aiding their cause was the fact that Hanson once again proved to be a successful escape artist. Five days after notching one of the most unique wins of his young career, he limited the Marlins to one run despite allowing six hits and issuing three walks in five innings in establishing a career high with his 12th win.

Hanson's outing was not nearly as ugly as the one he produced last week, when he surrendered one run despite issuing seven walks and allowing seven stolen bases. But it seems safe to assume that the Marlins have seen him wiggle out of far too many jams over the past week.

"It's been a battle lately," Hanson said, "but I felt a lot better today with my fastball command. Hopefully I can just keep going forward and keep getting better."

The Marlins made it apparent that they were going to run against Hanson during the early stages. But Donnie Murphy was thrown out attempting to steal second base in the first inning, and Bryan Petersen's stolen base in the second inning was neutralized when Marlins starter Mark Buehrle struck out.

Jose Reyes accounted for the Marlins' first run when he notched his second double of the game with two outs in the fifth inning. But that rally was killed when Martin Prado's strong throw to the plate denied Reyes' bid to score from second base on Carlos Lee's single.

"[Prado] never quit on the play and made a throw right on the money," Jones said. "[Brian McCann] made a great deke at home plate and a great pick before he got the tag down. That was a momentum shifter. [Reyes scoring] ties the game and who knows? It might get Tommy out of the game at that point. But it kept us on top and we were able to chip away and finally put it away."

Heyward gave the Braves an early lead when he drilled a solo home run off Buehrle in the third inning. The 22-year-old right fielder also homered in Sunday's win over the Phillies. It's the first time since July 21 and 22, 2011, that he homered on consecutive days.

Buehrle was charged with six runs on eight hits and four walks in a season-short 4 1/3 innings. It's the second straight start that the veteran left-hander has issued the Braves four walks. He reached four in just 22 of his 386 career starts.

Paul Janish drew a one-out walk that led to Michael Bourn's decisive two-out single in the fourth inning. Buehrle also walked McCann just before seeing his outing end with Dan Uggla planting a two-run double in front of Petersen in left field with one out in the fifth inning.

Juan Francisco gave the Braves reason to feel good about their bench by capping the fifth inning with a two-run, opposite-field single. He now has seven hits and six RBIs in his past 14 at-bats.

"The reason they are where they are is because they're playing well," Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen said. "Their defense is good. Their offense has been on fire. Today we should have taken advantage of their pitcher early in the game, and we didn't."

Mark Bowman is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.