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Alex Gonzalez Powers Atlanta Braves to 8-5 Victory Over Florida Marlins

August 9th, 2011 at 12:08 PM
By Jonathan McCullough

Derek Lowe rebounded from a month-long rough stretch to pitch six strong innings, and the Atlanta Braves offense provided plenty of run support in an 8-5 win over the Florida Marlins.

Coming into Monday night's game against the Marlins, Lowe's last quality start was June 29 against the Seattle Mariners. After giving up two runs in six innings, some of Lowe's frustrations were alleviated.

“Started a little slow," Lowe said of his start. "The call of the night was clearly the sinker in to Gaby Sanchez in the first inning. To be able to get a big double play there, it gives you confidence, it really does. Especially the way I’ve been pitching. I’ve never been a ‘here we go again’ type guy. But you give up early runs in this game and who knows what happens? So that was a key to the whole game."

The Braves took the lead in the second inning when Michael Bourn utilized his speed to beat out an infield single and drive in the first run of the game. After a ground-rule double by Martin Prado put another run on the board, Freddie Freeman staked Lowe to a 4-0 lead with a two-run single.

The Marlins clawed back in the bottom of the third inning and cut the lead in half to make it 4-2. That's where the score would stay until Alex Gonzalez hit a three-run home run in the fifth inning, essentially sealing the victory.

When the Atlanta Braves traded for Alex Gonzalez last season, they knew they were getting a great defensive shortstop. During the past week, he has displayed some offensive prowess as well. Gonzalez's homer extended his hitting streak to nine games.

“Honestly, nobody even cares what he does with the bat," Dan Uggla said of his teammate. "Anything he does with the bat is a bonus. And I think people don’t give him his much credit as he deserves for his offensive abilities, because he’s a good hitter as well."

As for Uggla, he extended his hitting streak to 29 games with an infield single. He is now two games shy of the Atlanta record and one shy of matching the longest streak in the majors this season.

The Marlins did make the game a little too interesting in the bottom of the ninth inning. Scott Proctor continued his struggles as he gave up two runs and was only able to get one out. After Proctor left with a man on first base, Craig Kimbrel came in and struck out the next two batters to record his 35th save of the season. He is now five saves shy of matching the major league rookie record.

Manager Fredi Gonzalez earned his third ejection of the season arguing balls and strikes in the fourth inning. Freeman was also tossed in the eighth inning for throwing his helmet and bat after a strikeout. It was Freeman's first career ejection.

The Braves will send Brandon Beachy (5-2, 3.49 ERA) to the mound against Clay Hensley (1-4, 4.46 ERA) Tuesday night at 7:10 EDT.

Tags: Alex Gonzalez, Atlanta, Atlanta Braves, Craig Kimbrel, Dan Uggla, Derek Lowe, Freddie Freeman, Martin Prado, Michael Bourn, MLB

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