Omar Infante hit a two-run triple in the seventh and Kenshin Kawakami pitched six effective innings to carry the Atlanta Braves past the Florida Marlins on Monday night, 5-2 in a matchup between NL wild-card contenders.
Marlins ace Josh Johnson did not allow a hit until the sixth inning when Matt Diaz lined a 2-2 slider to center field with two outs.
David Ross, Adam LaRoche, and Yunel Escobar each drove in a run for the Braves in the opener of a four-game series.
With the win, Atlanta (69-62) moved within three games of wild-card co-leaders San Francisco (72-59) and Colorado (72-59), both of which were idle on Monday. Florida (68-63) has lost four of five to fall four games back.
In the seventh, Chipper Jones and Escobar singled off Johnson (13-4) ahead of Infante's triple to deep center field with two outs. Ross then made it 3-1 with a base hit up the middle, forcing Johnson out of the game.
Johnson allowed three runs and five hits in 6 2-3 innings. He struck out eight and walked three.
Kawakami (7-10) quietly kept the Braves in the game as he allowed one run and six hits in six innings. He threw 51 of his 75 pitches for strikes and struck out five without walking a batter.
LaRoche and Escobar each drove in a run with back-to-back base hits to right field off Dan Meyer in the eighth to stretch Atlanta's lead to 5-1.
The Marlins took a 1-0 lead in the second inning when Jorge Cantu led off with a double down the left-field line and scored on a sacrifice fly to center by Dan Uggla.
Uggla added an RBI double in the ninth.
NOTES: Marlins 1B Nick Johnson (strained hamstring) could be activated for the weekend series against the Nationals. The Marlins anticipate adding help to their bullpen when rosters expand on Tuesday. The top three hitters in the Marlins lineup went 1 for 12 with five strikeouts. The Braves are 26-17 after the All-Star Break, third-best in the National League behind St. Louis (28-13) and Philadelphia (27-15). Diaz has the highest career batting average (.423) at Land Shark Stadium amongst players with at least 75 plate appearances.