Stanton's 2-run HR helps Marlins beat Braves, 8-4
By CHARLES ODUM
ATLANTA (AP) Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen was more excited about Giancarlo Stanton's glove than his bat.
The right fielder had the biggest hit of the game - a two-run homer, but what really impressed Guillen was his diving catch that saved at least two runs in Miami's 8-4 win over Atlanta Wednesday night.
With Miami leading 3-1 in the fourth, the Braves had runners on second and third with two outs following singles by Dan Uggla and Brian McCann. Jason Heyward hit a drive that looked like a sure two-run double before Stanton, running at full speed toward the foul line, made a diving catch. Stanton landed about one foot in front of the warning track.
"You make a play like that, it's kind of like you hit a home run to win the game," Guillen said. "It's the same thing."
Stanton said at first he didn't realize how hard Heyward hit the ball.
"I just put my head down and ran to a spot and dove for it," he said.
On Tuesday night, Stanton robbed Pittsburgh's Garrett Jones with a leaping catch before hitting the right-field wall.
Stanton said the catch of Heyward's line drive was bigger.
"This one was way better than the one last night," Stanton said. "This one saved two runs. The other one was just a good catch."
His play has helped the Marlins put together an impressive May record.
Miami is 12-3 this month after a slow 8-14 start in April. The Marlins (20-17) moved three games over .500 for the first time this season.
"The difference this month is we get big hits because we're pitching the same," Guillen said.
The Marlins led 6-1 off struggling Braves left-hander Mike Minor before Atlanta scored three runs off Mark Buehrle in the sixth. Stanton's eighth homer, which drove in Kearns after his second double, pushed the lead to 8-4 in the seventh.
Buehrle (3-4) gave up four runs on six hits in six innings with the win in the first meeting of the season between the NL East rivals.
"I was a little disappointed in myself to let them get back in it in the sixth inning after we had a big lead," Buehrle said, adding "I don't feel like I should have won."
Minor (2-3) gave up six runs on six hits in 4 2-3 innings, the fourth straight start he has allowed six or more runs. He gave up three runs in the fourth and three more in the fifth, leaving his ERA at 7.09.
Despite his struggles, manager Fredi Gonzalez said he is sticking with the 24-year-old Minor.
"I thought the first three innings, he did whatever he wanted through that lineup," Gonzalez said, adding "and then it unravels on him. It's a little complex.
"You feel like he's getting it and all of a sudden those type of innings happen to him. ... But that's a young pitcher. We have to be patient with him and get him through those type of innings. I think he'll be better off at the other end, when he gets through those innings."
Kearns had a two-run double in the Marlins' three-run fourth. Minor was knocked out of the game after giving up three hits, including a run-scoring single by Gaby Sanchez, in the fifth. Bonifacio added his second RBI single of the game off reliever Cristhian Martinez.
Buehrle retired 10 straight batters after the double by Prado, who had three hits.
Heath Bell pitched the ninth in a non-save situation for Miami.
Notes: Heyward made his first career start in centerfield. ... The Marlins' record for wins in May is 16 in three seasons, most recently 2008. ... Bourn popped out to left field as a pinch-hitter in the ninth. ... Freeman returned after missing one game with a scratch on his right eye. ... RHP Ricky Nolasco will attempt to take sole possession of the Marlins' record for career wins when he faces RHP Brandon Beachy (4-1), who leads the major leagues with his 1.60 ERA, on Thursday night. Nolasco (4-1) is tied with Dontrelle Willis at 68 wins.
Updated May 16, 2012