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Braves Keep Hopes Alive, Beating Marlins In Extra Innings

Atlanta, GA (Sports Network) - Omar Infante's broken-bat single down the left field line drove in Nate McLouthwith two outs in the 11th inning, lifting the playoff-hopeful Atlanta Braves to a 2-1 win over the Florida Marlins.

With Philadelphia's NL East-clinching 8-0 win at Washington Monday night, the Braves now have to hope for the wild card if they are to make the playoffs for the first time since 2005. Atlanta moved into sole possession of the wild card lead, a half-game ahead of San Diego, which lost at home to the Cubs Monday night.

"You want to and you need to win every game that we have left in the season, which is only five now," Braves right fielder Jason Heyward said. "It's a big win tonight. You won the game tonight, that's all we can honestly control. That's the only thing in our hands."

Brian McCann homered in the fourth inning off Alex Sanabia, and Florida's lone run came in the eighth when Mike Stanton singled, stole second and scored on a Brad Davis double to left.

The Braves wasted a chance with two men on base in the eighth when Derrek Lee struck out to end the inning. They loaded the bases with two outs in the ninth, but Brian Sanches retired Heyward on a ground ball back to the mound.

Peter Moylan escaped a two-on jam in the top of the 10th by fanning pinch- hitter Osvaldo Martinez, and McLouth walked to start the 11th against Jose Veras (3-3). Alex Gonzalez put down a sacrifice bunt and Rick Ankiel walked. The runners advanced on a wild pitch. After pinch-hitter Freddie Freeman struck out looking, Infante had the winning hit on a 3-2 pitch.

Mike Dunn (2-0) recorded the last out in the top of the 11th to get the win in the opener of this three-game series.

Braves third baseman Martin Prado left the game due to a left hip-pointer. Prado suffered the injury while making a diving catch on a ball hit by Dan Uggla in the fourth inning. Prado stayed in the game, but aggravated the injury during his at-bat in the fifth. He was replaced by Brooks Conrad in the sixth. The Braves termed Prado's status as day-to-day.

"We just came up short," Uggla said. "They made some plays tonight. If things would have gone our way a little bit more, we could have had two or three runs maybe. You never know."

The Braves moved to 8-7 in extra inning games, while Florida fell to 5-8...Atlanta has 25 final at-bat wins...With two more victories, Braves manager Bobby Cox will have recorded 15 seasons of 90 or more wins...Atlanta won for just the second time in their last seven games, while the Marlins lost for the fourth time in five tries...Sanabia and Braves starter Tommy Hanson each allowed five hits and a run, with Sanabia going seven innings and Hanson 7 2/3 frames.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.