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Braves use big seventh inning to top Marlins
Atlanta Braves’ second baseman Martin Prado, left, dives for a throw as Florida Marlins’ Hanley Ramirez (2) steals second base during the third inning on Wednesday in Miami. - photo by Wilfredo Lee

MIAMI, Fla. — Yunel Escobar picked a good time to break out of his slump.

Escobar was hitless in his last 15 at-bats before stepping to the plate in the seventh inning Wednesday night.

He led off with the single, one of two he had in a six-run inning that lifted the Braves past the Florida Marlins 7-3.

“This might be the game that sparks everything and helps me move forward,” said Escobar, who had three hits in his previous 36 at-bats since coming off the disabled list on May 15. “I know the team counts on my offensive production.”

Troy Glaus drove in two runs during the inning and Escobar added another single as the Braves sent 11 men to the plate, recorded five hits — all singles — and drew three walks.

“We just couldn’t get through that seventh inning,” Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez said.

With the Marlins leading 2-1 heading into the pivotal inning, Burke Badenhop (0-5) relieved starter Nate Robertson, who struck out five in six innings, and gave up singles to the first two batters before Nate McLouth sacrificed.

“You create a mess out there with a one-run lead against a good ball club, that’s not what you want,” Badenhop said. “You don’t want runners on and have crazy things happen.”

Dan Meyer relieved and walked Eric Hinske to load the bases. Brian Sanches came on and gave up a sacrifice fly to Martin Prado that tied the game.

Sanches walked the next two batters and allowed three straight run-scoring singles, including a two-run hit by Glaus. Escobar’s second single of the inning gave the Braves a 7-2 lead.

Tommy Hanson (4-3) picked up the win, allowing two runs over six innings. He struck out four and walked five.

“I’ve always said he’s tough and he can figure things out,” Braves manager Bobby Cox said. “A normal young kid would bend and break. He didn’t break.”

The Marlins pulled within 7-3 on an RBI single by Ronny Paulino, but left two runners on in the eighth and Billy Wagner pitched a perfect ninth.

Hanley Ramirez lined a fastball over the right-field fence for his eighth home run to give the Marlins a 1-0 lead in the first. Hanson walked the next three batters before striking out Paulino to end the inning.

“After I walked three guys, I tried to get back in the zone and make pitches again,” Hanson said.

Hanson settled down after the first and helped his own cause by delivering a sacrifice fly in the fifth that scored Melky Cabrera, who singled, advanced on a passed ball, then moved to third on a deep fly ball.

The Marlins made it 2-1 on a hit by Jorge Cantu after Hanson intentionally walked Ramirez to load the bases. Cantu’s single to left scored Robertson, but Cabrera easily threw out Gaby Sanchez at the plate to limit the damage.

“(I’m thinking) I’m probably going to be out, I’m not thinking why did they send me or anything like that,” Sanchez said of being waved home by third base coach Joe Espada. “He’s the coach and he’s going to use his judgment.”

Ramirez homered, singled, walked and stole a base for the Marlins.

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