MIAMI (AP) – Pinch-hitter Lenny Harris had a two-run homer in the eighth inning that led Florida over the NL East champion Atlanta Braves 5-2 Friday night and assured the Marlins of finishing at .500 or better.

Matt Treanor’s run-scoring single in the sixth off John Thomson (4-6) put Florida ahead 3-2. Braves closer Kyle Farnsworth walked Jeremy Hermida in the eighth and, one out later, Harris connected for his fifth career pinch-homer.

Florida (81-79) will finish with a .500-or-higher record for the third straight season, a first for the franchise, which started play in 1993. It also meant that none of the five NL East teams will have losing records.

Atlanta has lost two straight since clinching a record 14th straight division title Tuesday night.

Ron Villone (2-2) got two outs in the sixth for the win, and Todd Jones pitched the ninth for his 39th save in 43 chances.

Rookie Josh Johnson made his first major league start, taking the slot of A.J. Burnett, who was banished from the team Monday by manager Jack McKeon. That move came after a day after Burnett lost his sixth straight decision, then said the Marlins play scared because McKeon and his staff are too negative.

Braves manager Bobby Cox had already replaced the first three hitters in his starting lineup – Rafael Furcal, Marcus Giles and Chipper Jones – when he sent Ryan Langerhans in to pinch run for Andruw Jones, who was hit by a pitch in the sixth.

Johnson, who threw four shutout innings Saturday at Atlanta, left after he loaded the bases with a walk to Adam LaRoche. Villone relieved and pinch-hitter Brian Jordan hit a sacrifice fly that tied the score 2-2.

Johnson allowed two runs and four hits in 5 1-3 innings, struck out seven and walked four.

Mike Lowell hit a leadoff double in the bottom half off Thomson. One out later, Matt Treanor hit an RBI single to put the Marlins back on top and chase Thomson, who allowed three runs – two earned – and nine hits in 5 1-3 innings.

Florida opened the scoring in the third. With runners on first and third and no one out, Thomson fielded Carlos Delgado’s grounder back to the mound and immediately turned and threw to shortstop Rafael Furcal, who threw to first to complete the double play as Juan Pierre came home from third.

Notes: Johnson struck out the side in the second. … Marlins 3B Miguel Cabrera reached into the stands to catch Wilson Betamit’s foul pop to end the seventh. … It was Harris’ fifth career pinch hit homer, his first homer since Sept. 23, 2004, which was also as a pinch hitter.

AP-ES-09-30-05 2310EDT


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