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Gonzalez's blast lifts Braves past Florida

Sep 14, 2011 - 11:49 PM Atlanta, GA (Sports Network) - Alex Gonzalez hit a three-run home run to cap a four-run seventh inning, helping Atlanta take a 4-1 decision over Florida in the finale of a three-game series.

Martin Prado added a pair of hits and knocked in the other run for the Braves, who took two of three in the set.

"Struggling...I hate when the people say that. We had our first four-game losing streak this season, so I don't see that as struggling," said Prado when asked if he thought his team was having trouble down the stretch. "We just had a couple bad days. I've got so much confidence in my team, and I know we're coming back. I have faith in everybody here."

Atlanta starter Randall Delgado allowed four hits and one run over five innings, but was pulled after throwing 101 pitches. Eric O'Flaherty (2-4) earned the win by hurling a scoreless top of the seventh.

Craig Kimbrel posted his 44th save of the year with a perfect ninth, as Atlanta remained 4 1/2 games ahead of St. Louis for the lead in the wild card standings.

Greg Dobbs homered for the Marlins, who dropped the final two games in the series after winning four straight overall.

Ricky Nolasco (10-11), who was working on a two-hitter through six innings, was ultimately charged in the loss with five hits and four runs over seven frames.

Nolasco allowed just two hits and three baserunners through the first six to keep the Marlins ahead 1-0, but the right-hander fell apart in the next inning.

He walked Dan Uggla with one down and Brian McCann followed with a base hit to put runners on the corners. Prado then laid down a bunt up the first-base line with Uggla going on contact, and when Nolasco couldn't get a grip on the ball, Prado reached first and the tying run scored.

Jason Heyward lined out, but Gonzalez launched a three-run shot to left for a 4-1 Braves advantage.

"Looking for a breaking ball. That's a pitch he struck me out on before," said Gonzalez on his approach to the key at-bat. "He just hung it. I put a good swing on it and ended up hitting a homer."

Jonny Venters made sure the lead held up by retiring the side in order in the eighth, and Kimbrel followed suit to end the contest.

Dobbs' leadoff homer to right in the second put the Marlins on the board. Two batters later, Donnie Murphy singled and he advanced to second on Brett Hayes' two-out hit, but Nolasco grounded out to end the rally.

"Listen, this year there's been a lot of negatives. Lots of disappointment," Hayes said. "I just think as a team we're trying to take these last two weeks and trying to be as positive as possible. Trying to take the good things we do and take it into next season."

Game Notes

Atlanta leads the season series 11-4, having won five of nine meetings against the Marlins in Georgia...There is one more set scheduled between the clubs, in south Florida, from September 19-21...Gonzalez finished 8-for-11 in series with one homer, three doubles and five RBI...The Marlins head to Philadelphia for a make-up doubleheader on Thursday, while the Braves remain home to host the Mets starting Friday.