MIAMI (AP) — This time, the Atlanta Braves got a little help from Mother Nature in getting to the Florida Marlins bullpen.
They took advantage.
Martin Prado had three hits and drove in two runs, leading the Atlanta Braves to an 8-3 win over the Florida Marlins on Thursday night.
Chipper Jones and Yunel Escobar each reached base four times and drove in a run in a game delayed by rain 1 hour, 17 minutes. The Braves led 3-2 when the tarp came out after the fourth inning, then scored five runs when Ricky Nolasco didn't return to the mound after the rain stopped.
"That's the stuff you have to deal with here," Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "We both lost our starters and had to go the bullpen. You try to push it because nobody wants to lose their starters, but you can't control Mother Nature, not yet anyway."
The Braves have won seven of nine.
"I knew it was a long shot," Hudson said. "I went out there and started getting loose again and Bobby (Cox) came out and said, 'What are you doing?' I said, 'I'm getting ready to pitch.' He said, 'The heck you are.' But it was best."
The Marlins lost for the fifth time in seven games when they failed to take advantage of the Braves' season high-tying four errors. The bullpen has allowed 11 runs in eight innings the last two games against the Braves, both losses.
Jason Heyward tripled and scored on a double by Jones in the first inning for the early lead against Nolasco.
The Marlins responded in the bottom half as Hanley Ramirez was hit by a pitch, stole second base and scored on a hit by Jorge Cantu.
Atlanta took a 3-1 lead in the fourth as Escobar singled with two outs. David Ross followed with a double into the left-field corner scoring Escobar. Tim Hudson then reached on an infield hit and Prado drove home Ross for the two-run advantage.
With rain falling, the Marlins put together a threat in the bottom half. Cody Ross and Ronny Paulino singled before Cameron Maybin walked to load the bases with one out. Nolasco stepped to the plate and drove in a run with a single up the middle to cut the lead to 3-2. Chris Coghlan struck out and Gaby Sanchez hit a fly to center to end the inning.
"That saved us," Braves manager Bobby Cox said. "(Hudson) was slipping on the mound. It was hard. The ball was wet plus the humidity and your own perspiration let alone the rain. I don't know how he did it to be honest."
Home plate umpire Dana DeMuth then called for the tarp. Both teams replaced their starting pitchers following the delay.
Nolasco (4-4) allowed three runs and eight hits. He was relieved by Jay Buente, making his major league debut. Buente pitched a scoreless fifth before getting into trouble in the sixth. Prado delivered an RBI single to make it 4-2.
"I've been struggling the last week so I tried to have a different approach," Prado said. "Fortunately for me I got a couple of RBIs that was important for my team."
Buente was relieved by Taylor Tankersley, who had not pitched in the majors since July 29, 2008. Tankersley was able to get out of the jam.
Escobar hit an RBI double for a 5-2 edge. The Marlins pulled to 5-3 on a groundout by Ramirez, but the Braves stretched the lead to 8-3 in the eighth as they had two hits and five walks in the inning off Dan Meyer.
"I walked a run in, which I think is absolutely embarrassing," said Meyer, who was designated for assignment after the game. "It's just not right. I can't expect 24 guys to play hard for me when I'm out there just sinking."
Takashi Saito and Billy Wagner pitched a scoreless 2 2-3 innings.
NOTES: Braves C Brian McCann was not in the lineup after straining his right quadriceps while running the bases in Wednesday. Jones passed Eddie Mathews with his 1,377th walk for the franchise lead. The triple by Heyward was the first on the road for the Braves this season. They were the last team in the majors to accomplish the road feat. This is the third game at Sun Life Stadium that has been delayed due to rain. The Marlins dropped to 5-19 when their opponent scores first. ... Jorge Sosa will be selected from Triple-A New Orleans to replace Meyer.
(This version CORRECTS Braves 8, Marlins 3. Optional. corrects to four times in 4th graf.)