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Braves win Florida series

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Posted: August 29, 2007 10:39 p.m.
Updated: September 13, 2007 5:00 a.m.

    MIAMI — Matt Diaz homered twice and the Atlanta Braves salvaged a win at the end of a disappointing trip Wednesday, beating Dontrelle Willis and the Florida Marlins 7-4.

    Diaz’s two-run homer in the third inning bounced off the top of the scoreboard and back onto the field. Third-base umpire Doug Eddings signaled homer, putting Atlanta ahead to stay.

    Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez disputed the call, but the ground rules at Dolphin Stadium say a ball must hit below the upper edge of the scoreboard to be in play.

    Diaz added a solo homer in the fourth, giving him 12 this season.

    Atlanta rookie Yunel Escobar homered leading off the first inning for the first time, and he scored three times.

    The Braves, who hurt their playoff chances by going 4-6 on a 10-day trip, return home to face the NL East-leading New York Mets this weekend. The last-place Marlins lost for the 13th time in their past 15 games.

    Willis (8-14) allowed six runs in 5 1-3 innings, hiking his ERA to 5.07. He has won only once in his past 17 starts.

    Willis was better at the plate, hitting his second homer in the second. Teammate Dan Uggla hit his 27th homer, matching his rookie total last year.

    Buddy Carlyle (8-5), who had lost his past three starts, gave up both homers but departed after five innings with a 7-3 lead.

    Rafael Soriano pitched 1 1-3 perfect innings for his sixth save in nine chances to complete a six-hitter. Atlanta had 13 hits.

    Diaz pulled a pitch over the 330-foot sign down the left field line in the fourth.

    He also doubled in the Braves’ two-run sixth and finished 3-for-5, hiking his average to .354.

    The multihomer game was Diaz’s first, and he improved his career average against the Marlins to .433 with four homers.

    Willis’ shutout lasted until his third pitch, when Escobar hit his third homer.

    Atlanta scratched out a run in the second. Chris Woodward walked with two out, took second on a wild pitch and came home when Corky Miller singled for his second RBI this year.

    Hanley Ramirez led off the Florida first with a triple and scored on Miguel Cabrera’s sacrifice fly. Jeremy Hermida doubled in the sixth and later scored on a groundout to cut Atlanta’s lead to 7-4.

Notes: Willis has both home runs by Marlins pitchers this year, and they’ve both come this month. ... Willis has given up a career-high 25 homers. ... Diaz improved his average against Willis to .417 (10-for-24) . ... Cabrera went 0-for-2 and is in a 6-for-47 slump.

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