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Braves 4, Marlins 3: Walk-off wonders win in 11th
Atlanta Braves’ Omar Infante (4), second from right, celebrates with teammates Eric Hinske (20), left, and Martin Prado, right, after driving in the game-winning run with a two-run base hit in the 11th inning Friday against the Florida Marlins. - photo by John Bazemore

Braves vs. Marlins

When: 4 p.m. Saturday
Where: Turner Field, Atlanta
Pitchers: Braves, RHP Tommy Hanson (7-5, 4.50); Marlins, RHP Anibal Sanchez (7-4, 3.18)
TV, radio: Fox; 99.3 FM, 1240 AM

ATLANTA — Atlanta Braves manager Bobby Cox likes his team’s chances when Omar Infante is batting in a pressure situation.
“O’s good against right-handers,” Cox said. “He was down two strikes. That was a tough, tough situation.”

Infante’s two-run single with no outs in the 11th inning helped Atlanta rally for a 4-3 victory over the Florida Marlins on Friday night, the Braves’ 15th final at-bat win.

The Braves have won two straight overall and five of seven. Atlanta leads the major leagues with a 29-9 home record. Florida has dropped two straight and six of eight.

Infante’s single to left-center off Marlins closer Leo Nunez (3-2) scored Brian McCann from third and Brandon Hicks, who was pinch-running for Troy Glaus, from second.

“It was a tough loss,” Marlins interim manager Edwin Rodriguez said. “We had the right guy on the mound. It was a tough way to lose.”

Over his last four seasons, Infante’s .355 average leads the majors among qualifying batters, a span of 242 at-bats, with runners in scoring position.

“We’re at the point in the season,” Braves starter Kris Medlen said, “where we kind of expect this.”

Braves closer Billy Wagner blew his first save in 13 chances when Gaby Sanchez’s ninth homer tied it at 2-2.

“He couldn’t have missed it,” Wagner said. “It was a fastball down the middle.”

In the 11th, pinch-hitter Wes Helms led off with a single against Jonny Venters (3-0) and advanced to third when first baseman Glaus made a throwing error after fielding Chris Coghlan’s bunt attempt.

After Sanchez lined out and Hanley Ramirez was intentionally walked, Helms scored even though pinch-hitter Brian Barden struck out while trying to execute a squeeze bunt.

Helms was running home on the play and would have been tagged out, but Venters dropped the ball to give the Marlins a 3-2 lead.

“I think I just took my eye off the ball,” Venters said. “I just missed it.”

Clay Hensley held the Braves scoreless in the ninth and 10th.

In the seventh, Martin Prado faced two strikes and two outs when he reached out and poked an RBI single with one hand on the bat to give the Braves their first lead at 2-1.

Gregor Blanco, who walked and advanced to second on a grounder, scored from second against reliever Brian Sanches.

Florida starter Josh Johnson allowed six hits, one run and no walks with eight strikeouts. The Marlins’ ace is 5-2 with a 0.89 ERA in his last 10 starts, but Florida has combined to score just 13 runs in the right-hander’s last seven outings.

Johnson, who began the night tied for the majors’ best ERA at 1.83, finished with his shortest outing since he pitched six scoreless innings of a 13-0 road win over the Chicago White Sox on May 23.

“J.J. pitched a hell of a game,” Rodriguez said. “He deserved to win, but we have to score some runs.”

After stranding a runner at third in three of the first four innings, Johnson allowed the Braves to tie at 1-1 on Gregor Blanco’s triple and Prado’s two-out RBI single.

Ramirez, whose 13th homer gave the Marlins a 1-0 lead in the first, led off the seventh with a single and advanced to third on a one-out single by Dan Uggla that chased Medlen.

“We have a long way to go,” Ramirez said. “We’re doing better every day. We do what we have to do.”

Reliever Peter Moylan ended the threat on Cody Ross’ double-play grounder.

Medlen, who lowered his ERA to 3.01, received no decision after allowing six hits, one run, one walk and striking out five in 6 1-3 innings. The Braves have won nine of Medlen’s 10 starts.

Takashi Saito pitched scoreless eighth for Atlanta. Tim Wood pitched a scoreless eighth for the Marlins.

Wagner, whose last blown save occurred May 19 in a 5-4, ninth-inning home win over Cincinnati, didn’t feel so bad after Infante’s big hit.

“You’re going to have those mental letdowns,” Wagner said. “It’s a good feeling to know you’re teammates will pick you up.”

NOTES: Coghlan led off the game with a single but was thrown out at second on Sanchez’s flyball. The scoring went 8-4-6-1-4. ... Hensley, who faced four batters in the scoreless ninth, was activated from the 15-day disabled list after missing 17 games with a strained neck. To make room for Hensley on the 25-man roster, Florida outrighted RHP Scott Strickland to Triple-A New Orleans.
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