Tim Hudson showed heart in six strong innings and Eric Hinske provided the blow with a go-ahead homer in the seventh, giving the Braves their second straight win over the Marlins, 3-2.
The first six innings belonged to the Marlins. A double and two straight infield singles led to a Florida run in the third. They held that lead through six, with neither team really threatening except a play at the plate in the sixth in which Brian McCann was thrown out. Though Melky Cabrera was up next with two outs, it was obvious McCann needed to be held up considering Dan Uggla received the relay when McCann was rounding third. It becomes common sense at some point.
Luckily the Braves bounced back in the seventh against a tired Anibal Sanchez. Melky singled to lead off the inning and was bunted to second. Brooks Conrad tripled him in to tie the game. With one out, Hinske launched a two-run home run to take a two-run lead, knocking Sanchez from the game. Uggla homered in the eighth but the Braves held on to their one-run lead.
Hinske recorded the two big RBIs on the pinch hit homer, and Conrad had the other on the triple, his first of the season. The only other extra base hit was a double by Derrek Lee, which was his only hit. Melky added two singles.
Hudson did about as well as can be expected on short rest at this point, allowing seven hits and four walks in six innings. Thankfully several of those hits were dinks and only one run came from it. As has been the case this month, he struggled with command, but this time he fought through it and gave the Braves a chance.
The bullpen continued to do good work. Craig Kimbrel struck out the side in the seventh for his fourth win. Peter Moylan gave up the home run to Uggla in the eighth and was taken out after one out. Jonny Venters appeared again and got the final two outs. Billy Wagner walked one and struck out the side in the ninth.
Sanchez kept the Braves scoreless through six, but his final line was 6.2 innings, allowing three runs on seven hits, walking two and striking out six. He was left in too long and the Braves took advantage.
The Braves gained a game on the Padres in the wild card, now sitting 1.5 games ahead. Andrew Miller faces Derek Lowe in the series finale today, starting at 4:35.