ATLANTA – Marcus Giles hit a tying two-run homer, then drove in the go-ahead run with a seventh-inning sacrifice fly as the Atlanta Braves moved closer to another division title Sunday with a 5-3 victory over the fading Florida Marlins.

Atlanta (89-67) swept the three-game series and lowered its magic number for clinching the NL East to two. The Braves began play five games ahead of Philadelphia in the division as they seek their 14th straight division title.

Florida’s A.J. Burnett (12-12) couldn’t hold an early 3-0 lead as his losing streak stretched to a career-worst six games. The Marlins have lost nine of 11 and started the day five games behind Houston in the wild-card race.

With the score tied at 3, Burnett walked pinch-hitter Pete Orr to lead off the seventh inning – Burnett’s fourth walk of the game. Rafael Furcal then dropped a bunt down the third-base line. Catcher Matt Treanor’s throw toward first bounced up the right-field line for an error, putting runners at second and third.

Marlins manager Jack McKeon brought in Randy Messenger, who gave up Giles’ fly to center that gave the Braves a 4-3 lead. Furcal advanced to third on the play and scored on Andruw Jones’ grounder to short, pushing the lead to 5-3.

Burnett won seven straight starts from July 19 to Aug. 15, but the hard-throwing right-hander was 0-5 with a 5.85 ERA in six starts leading to Sunday’s game.

Burnett gave up five runs, four earned, and six hits in six-plus innings. He had eight strikeouts.

Blaine Boyer (4-2) recorded one out in the seventh for the win. Kyle Farnsworth pitched a perfect ninth for his 10th save in 10 chances with the Braves.

Atlanta’s Jorge Sosa, who had been 4-0 with a 1.42 ERA in four September starts, couldn’t take advantage of his opportunity to match John Smoltz for the team lead with 14 wins.

Sosa gave up seven hits and three runs in five innings with four walks – two intentional.

Sosa trailed before recording an out. Juan Pierre led off the first inning with a triple past a diving Jones in left-center, and Jeff Conine followed with a run-scoring single.

The Marlins pushed the lead to 3-0 in the third on three hits and three walks – two intentional. Sosa had to duck to dodge a line-drive single by Burnett. One out later, Conine walked and was caught in a rundown between home and third after Burnett scored on Carlos Delgado’s double to center.

Delgado advanced to third on the rundown and, following an intentional walk to Miguel Cabrera, scored on Mike Lowell’s double to left.

The Braves managed one run in the fourth when Chipper Jones walked, moved to third on a single by Adam LaRoche and scored on Jeff Francoeur’s fly ball to the right-field wall.

Giles snapped a 2-for-22 slump with his game-tying homer off Burnett with two outs in the fifth. Giles’ 13th homer landed in the Braves’ bullpen behind the right-field wall and drove in Brian McCann, who led off the inning with a single.

Notes: Burnett, a career .128 hitter who carried a .123 batting average into the game, had two hits. … Burnett has not won a road game since Aug. 4 at St. Louis. … Attendance was 48,147, the second straight sellout in the series. … The Braves moved to 10-5 against the Marlins this season.

AP-ES-09-25-05 1615EDT


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