ATLANTA – Florida led off a game with back-to-back homers for the first time in franchise history, Chris Volstad pitched eight strong innings and the Marlins romped to a 7-1 victory Friday night over the slumping Atlanta Braves.
The NL East leaders lost their fourth in a row, their worst slump since a nine-game skid in April. The last two losses have been especially ugly — Atlanta squandered a 10-1 lead at Colorado and fell 12-10, then got blown out by the Marlins, who have won eight of 10.
Cameron Maybin hit the first pitch of the game into the left-field seats, ending Tommy Hanson's streak of 47 2-3 innings without giving up a homer. Turns out, Florida was just getting started against the right-hander, who had endured a series of tough-luck losses but got just what he deserved in this one.
The next guy up, Logan Morrison, drove a 3-2 pitch into the center-field seats off Hanson (8-10). It was the first career homer for Morrison, coming off a big series in New York, where his cancer-stricken father got to see him play big league games in person for the first time.
Hanson gave up two more runs in the second, including a run-scoring single to Volstad. A botched play by left fielder Eric Hinske — he lost a routine fly ball in the lights, then made a high throw to third for an error — led to an unearned run that made it 5-0 in the third.
The Marlins finished off Hanson in the sixth, leading off with another pair of consecutive homers. Dan Uggla went the opposite way into the right-field seats for his 29th of the season and Gaby Sanchez followed with another drive to center for his 16th homer.
Atlanta manager Bobby Cox finally popped out of the dugout and made the slow walk to the mound while the crowd at Turner Field cheered sarcastically. Hanson gave up eight hits and seven runs (six earned), but those four homers were the real stunner. He had given up only eight long balls in 153 innings coming into the night.
Volstad (8-9) cruised with the big lead. The Braves pushed only one runner past second base until Jason Heyward homered in the eighth to break up the shutout bid. The right-hander allowed six hits, struck out three and didn't walk anyone.
Heyward's 15th homer at least snapped a miserable stretch for the Braves, who had been outscored 18-0 over their previous 13 innings going back to the Colorado debacle.
NOTES: Maybin left in the seventh after straining his left groin on a swing. The Marlins said he was day to day. Mike Stanton finished the game in the leadoff spot. ... Hanson had dominated Florida in three previous career starts, going 3-0 with a 2.19 ERA. ... The Braves optioned LHP Mike Minor to their rookie team in the Gulf Coast League, but merely to go with an extra reliever until Minor makes his next scheduled start Tuesday against the New York Mets. RHP Craig Kimbrel was recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett and pitched a scoreless eighth. ... Braves closer Billy Wagner, who had not pitched in a week, came on in the ninth despite the six-run deficit. He picked up his 1,170th career strikeout, breaking a tie with Jesse Orosco for the most by a left-handed reliever.