Up one run in the bottom of the ninth, Craig Kimbrel had an 0-2 count on Emilio Bonafacio. Bonafacio hit a high chopper to Chipper Jones, who lost the ball in the lights at the Marlins' multipurpose stadium they share with the Miami Dolphins.
Two pitches later, former Brave Omar Infante deposited the game-winning homer in the left field seats.
"I didn’t get my job done today. I’m not very happy about today, but like I said, there’s nothing I can do about it now. The game’s over. Come in tomorrow and do our jobs," Kimbrel said.
The Braves blew their opportunity to right the ship after a brutal loss Sunday against the New York Mets after a seventh inning rally that started with them trailing 4-1. Dan Uggla started the inning with a solo homer off Ricky Nolasco, and though Nolasco recorded two outs, he was yanked after giving up a single and two walks to load the bases. Michael Bourn then reached on a broken bat infield single and Martin Prado walked to tie the game.
Jones then appeared to set up Infante as the goat when Jones hit a sharp grounder that Infante could not handle to give Atlanta the lead.
Venters then recovered from his rough outing Sunday for his usual perfect eighth inning, but the wheels came off in dramatic fashion with two outs in the ninth.
"We took advantage of some of their mistakes, and we felt like tonight was going to be our night to win one that maybe we should have lost," Jones said. "One strike away, and you lose a ground ball in the lights."
The moral victory the Braves can take is that Nolasco needed only 37 pitches and was perfect through four innings. They were not even on the board until Jason Heyward blasted a solo shot that cut the two-run lead the Marlins had acquired via two Mike Stanton home runs off Mike Minor.
Stanton hit a majestic shot in the first inning into the upper deck in left field. He waited until the third inning to own Minor again with a liner over the left-center field wall.
With the St. Louis Cardinals' win, the Braves' lead has been sliced down to 2.5 games, and they are risking blowing a 9.5 game lead in three weeks when they were seemingly a lock for the playoffs at the beginning of the month.
Randall Delgado (0-1, 3.24) will look to reverse Atlanta's luck opposite Florida's Anibal Sanchez (8-8, 3.62 ERA) at 7:10 EDT Tuesday.
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