Braves
Marlins
5 - 6 Final/10
  for this game

Willingham's career effort sinks Braves

Jul 1, 2007 - 11:56 PM MIAMI (Ticker) -- Josh Willingham could not have picked a better time to record a new career high.

Willingham singled home the winning run in the 10th inning as the Florida Marlins overcame the loss of a late lead for a 6-5 victory over the Atlanta Braves in the finale of a three-game series on Sunday.

The final hit secured a career-best 5-for-5 effort for Willingham, who drove in a pair of runs and scored once. It was the 11th time in club history that a player had a five-hit game and the first since Miguel Cabrera achieved the feat against the Philadelphia Phillies on April 28.

"I don't remember the last time (I got five hits in a game)," Willingham said. "It wasn't in the majors, that's for sure. There were so many twists and turns in that game. You think we're going to win that game up 4-1 going into the eighth. ... To get a hit and win the game was really great."

"I don't think anybody doesn't need (to go) five for five," Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "It took me a month to get five hits when I played, but that was a great day for the 'Hammer.'"

Cabrera began the 10th inning with a single off Rafael Soriano (2-1), who further complicated his plight when he fielded a grounder by Jason Wood and unleashed a wild throw to second base, putting runners at first and second with no outs.

Willingham, who opened the scoring with an RBI single in the fourth, lined a 1-0 pitch near the line in left field to score pinch runner Brett Carroll.

Willingham only picked up his fifth hit after looking to lay down a sacrifice bunt on the first pitch he saw.

"It was a bunt situation," he said. "I didn't get to bunt so I tried to clear my head, and I got in a good hitter's count where I was pretty sure a fastball was coming so that helps."

Lee Gardner (2-2) worked around two hits in a scoreless top of the 10th inning for the win.

Florida actually had a 4-0 lead after six innings, but Atlanta scored once in the seventh and twice in both the eighth and ninth innings to take its first lead.

However, Miguel Olivo continued to be a major thorn in the side of Braves closer Bob Wickman as he hammered a hanging slider to left field for his seventh home run of the season in the ninth for a 5-5 tie.

"I got a good pitch to hit, a breaking ball hanging," Olivo said. "It was the same pitch (he threw me) last night, a backdoor slider."

With the blast, Olivo improved to 5-for-5 with two homers lifetime against Wickman, who suffered his fourth blown save.

"I haven't had a guy rough me up all year like (Miguel Olivo) has," Wickman said. "It's probably time to look at the drawing board. I seem to pitch good against him at home but for some reason here I can't seem to bury the slider like I want to and he beat me on it."

In the ninth, rookie Yunel Escobar became the latest Brave to bedevil the Marlins' bullpen, driving in the tying and go-ahead runs on a single with two outs.

After working through a jam created by Armando Benitez in the eighth, Florida closer Kevin Gregg proved to be his own worst enemy in the ninth due to wildness, as he absorbed his first blown save in 16 chances this season.

The righthander retired the first two batters in the ninth while nursing a 4-3 lead before walking pinch hitter Scott Thorman. Gregg also unleashed the first of two wild pitches, enabling pinch runner Willie Harris to reach second before deciding to intentionally walk pinch hitter Brian McCann.

The second wild delivery put runners at second and third before the 24-year-old Escobar lined a single into right field that gave Atlanta a 5-4 lead.

"We won," Gregg said when asked if his confidence was shaken. "That's the important thing. Not me. I'll be fine This is a huge win for this team."

The two-run hit by Escobar signaled the 14th and 15th runs scored by the Braves off the relief corps of the Marlins in the three-game series.

"We were on the verge of losing five of six when they got that big hit by Escobar," Willingham said. "To get a win like this hopefully it'll springboard us on this road trip."

Florida grabbed the four-run lead behind three RBI by Jeremy Hermida, including a two-run homer in the fourth following an 89-minute rain delay.

Hermida had been in a major slump before his offensive outburst, going hitless in his first 11 at-bats of the series and batting just .115 (3-for-26) in a nine-game homestand prior to connecting on his seventh home run.

The 23-year-old outfielder also singled home a run in the sixth.

"It's about time to be honest with you," Hermida said. "I've been scuffing a little bit, it feels good to be able to come through and help get the win.

"I always joke as he (Willingham) goes, I go. That's a great day - 5-for-5 - you don't see that a whole lot. I don't know how much better you can get than that."

Atlanta began its rally in the seventh, as Andruw Jones connected on his 13th homer of the season.

The Braves got two more runs in the eighth against Benitez, with Kelly Johnson delivering a single and Escobar doubling before Edgar Renteria poked a single into right to cut the deficit to 4-3 with no outs.

Although it did grab the lead, Atlanta was unable to secure its first sweep of at least three games from the Marlins in Miami for the first time since May 2-4, 1995.

"We were in a good situation but that's baseball," McCann said. "We had a couple of guys on (base) and they did that (too). It was a dogfight. We went at them and they went at us and, unfortunately, we came out on the losing end."








  • NL
    FINAL 10
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
    - - - - - - - - -
    ATLANTA 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 2
    FLORIDA 0 0 0 3 0 1 0 0 1
    10 R H E
    -- - - -
    ATLANTA 0 5 11 0
    FLORIDA 1 6 13 0 (FINAL 10)

    BATTERIES: ATL

    Jul 1 5:53 PM


  • NL
    AT FLORIDA - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY JOSH WILLINGHAM SCORED BRETT CARROLL.
    FINAL SCORE: FLORIDA 6, ATLANTA 5

    Braves vs. MarlinsJul 1 5:53 PM
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    AT FLORIDA - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY MIGUEL OLIVO (7) TO LEFT WITH 0 OUT IN THE
    9TH OFF BOB WICKMAN.
    CURRENT SCORE: ATLANTA 5, FLORIDA 5
    DUE UP FOR FLORIDA: A AMEZAGA (.256, 0-FOR-3)

    Braves vs. MarlinsJul 1 5:23 PM
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    AT FLORIDA - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY YUNEL ESCOBAR SCORED WILLIE HARRIS AND PETE ORR.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, Y ESCOBAR ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ATLANTA 5
    FLORIDA 4 TOP, 9TH
    DUE UP FOR ATLANTA: E RENTERIA (.325, 1-FOR-4, 2 RBI)

    Braves vs. MarlinsJul 1 5:18 PM
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    AT FLORIDA - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY EDGAR RENTERIA SCORED KELLY JOHNSON AND YUNEL
    ESCOBAR.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, E RENTERIA ON FIRST, 0 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ATLANTA 3
    FLORIDA 4 TOP, 8TH
    DUE UP FOR ATLANTA: C JONES (.324, 0-FOR-3)

    Braves vs. MarlinsJul 1 4:45 PM


  • NL
    AT FLORIDA - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY ANDRUW JONES (13) TO LEFT WITH 0 OUT IN
    THE 7TH OFF MATT LINDSTROM.
    CURRENT SCORE: ATLANTA 1, FLORIDA 4
    DUE UP FOR ATLANTA: J FRANCOEUR (.288, 0-FOR-2)

    Braves vs. MarlinsJul 1 4:17 PM


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    AT FLORIDA - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY JEREMY HERMIDA SCORED MIGUEL CABRERA.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, J HERMIDA ON SECOND, J WILLINGHAM ON THIRD, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ATLANTA 0
    FLORIDA 4 BOTTOM, 6TH
    DUE UP FOR FLORIDA: M OLIVO (.244, 0-FOR-2)

    Braves vs. MarlinsJul 1 4:11 PM


  • NL
    AT FLORIDA - SCORING UPDATE
    TWO-RUN HOME RUN BY JEREMY HERMIDA (7) TO RIGHT CENTER WITH
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    CURRENT SCORE: ATLANTA 0, FLORIDA 3
    DUE UP FOR FLORIDA: M OLIVO (.245, 0-FOR-1)

    Braves vs. MarlinsJul 1 3:35 PM


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    AT FLORIDA - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY JOSH WILLINGHAM SCORED MIKE JACOBS.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, J WILLINGHAM ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ATLANTA 0
    FLORIDA 1 BOTTOM, 4TH
    DUE UP FOR FLORIDA: J HERMIDA (.215, 0-FOR-1)

    Braves vs. MarlinsJul 1 3:34 PM
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