ATLANTA – Andruw Jones led off the eighth inning with a tying homer and Adam LaRoche followed with a two-out shot that gave the Atlanta Braves a 6-5 victory over the Florida Marlins on Wednesday night.

The Marlins, battling back from a 3-0 deficit, went ahead for the first time when Dan Uggla’s solo homer off John Smoltz made it 5-4 in the top half of the eighth.

But the Braves put together their own rally. Jones, who had not started in the last three games because of a sore back, didn’t appear to be in any pain as he sent the first pitch from Logan Kensing deep into the seats in left-center for his 25th homer.

Jones came into the night tied for NL lead with 88 RBIs.

Kensing got the next two hitters, but Florida called on left-hander Taylor Tankersley (1-1) to face the hot-hitting LaRoche. The move didn’t work. On a 3-2 pitch, LaRoche hit a towering drive that cleared the wall in right-center for his 20th homer.

New Braves closer Bob Wickman, making his first appearance at Turner Field, worked a scoreless ninth for his second NL save and 17th overall.

Smoltz (8-5) cruised through the first five innings, facing only one batter above the minimum while the Braves staked him to a three-run lead against Florida starter Josh Johnson.

The Marlins broke through in the sixth, however. Miguel Olivo led off with single, moved up on Johnson’s sacrifice bunt and scored on Alfredo Amezaga’s single up the middle. Uggla doubled to the gap in left-center, bringing Amezaga all the way home, and Michael Jacobs came through with a two-out, run-scoring single that tied the game at 3.

The Braves went back ahead in the bottom half, taking advantage of some shaky defense by the Marlins. Taking his eye off the ball as he set for a possible inning-ending double play, Uggla led a routine grounder deflect off his glove and skid into right field.

The misplay allowed LaRoche to drive in an unearned run with a two-out single, which was kicked away by right fielder Jeremy Hermida for the second error of the inning. That one didn’t cause any more damage – Johnson retired Smoltz on a flyout with the bases loaded.

Trailing again, Florida came right back in the seventh. Joe Borchard hit an opposite field homer deep into the left-field seats, his seventh of the year making it 4-4.

The Braves jumped ahead in the second, stringing together three straight hits against Johnson. Ryan Langerhans doubled in a run, then Smoltz made it 2-0 with a squeeze bunt that brought home LaRoche. Langerhans tried to score all the way from second on the play, but he was easily thrown out at home by Jacobs.

Brian McCann hit his 12th homer for the Braves in the fourth.

Notes: Braves 3B Chipper Jones returned to the lineup after missing three games with a strained side muscle. He went 0-for-3 with a walk, ending a 20-game hitting streak that equaled the longest of his career. … Florida dropped to 4-20 at Turner Field over the last three seasons, including 1-5 this year.

AP-ES-07-26-06 2212EDT



Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.