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Braves Still Alive, Hinske's Homer Tops Marlins

Atlanta, GA (Sports Network) - Eric Hinske's high fly ball to right-center field in the bottom of the seventh frame just found the seats for a go-ahead two-run shot, propelling Atlanta past Florida, 3-2, in the second of three contests at Turner Field.

In a dash to the finish for a spot in the National League playoffs, Atlanta now holds a one-game edge on San Diego, which hosts Chicago later Tuesday. The Padres are a half-game behind NL West-leading San Francisco, which plays at home versus Arizona late Tuesday.

Mathematics aside, the Braves picked up a big victory considering the somber news absorbed early in the game, as word came down that second baseman Martin Prado will miss the rest of the season with a torn external oblique muscle. Coupled with a hip pointer, Prado needs two complete months of rest, ending his breakout 2010 campaign. Prado ends the season as Atlanta's leading hitter to go with 15 home runs and 66 runs batted in.

On the field, Omar Infante played second, finishing 1-for-4, and Brooks Conrad slid in at third, driving in a run and scoring once for the Braves, who won for the third time in four games. Craig Kimbrel (4-0) picked up the victory by striking out the side in relief of Tim Hudson in his one inning of work.

"We go out there and keep winning, and hopefully we will be where we want to be," said Conrad. "So it sounds cliche, but you have to take it one game at a time and worry about that game rather than start looking ahead."

Anibal Sanchez (12-12) was hit with the loss, giving up all three runs on seven hits with six strikeouts and two walks over 6 2/3 frames. Dan Uggla homered and Cameron Maybin had two hits and an RBI before leaving the game in a scary scene during the seventh.

Atlanta's three-run seventh included one ball meeting Maybin simultaneously at the wall and another finding real estate in the second row of seats over it. Melky Cabrera singled and moved to second on Alex Gonzalez's bunt before Conrad slammed a 1-1 sinker to right-center field. A hard-changing Maybin got leather on the ball, but hit the wall with one leg and collapsed to the ground. Conrad raced to third for a game-tying, run-scoring triple and Maybin was carted off the field.

"Right now my lower back and leg are beat up," said Maybin, who was on crutches in the locker room. "It was pretty scary (laying on the ground). You go into the wall, but you usually get up and I couldn't get up."

After Rick Ankiel struck out, Hinske crushed a two-run shot to right-center field for a 3-1 lead.

Uggla's solo shot off Peter Moylan just inside the pole down the left-field line cut the deficit to 3-2 in the eighth.

Billy Wagner closed the door in the ninth for his 36th save of the season.

Florida struck first in the third as Maybin's single to deep short allowed Brad Davis, who doubled earlier, to come in to score. Hudson left the bases loaded and avoid further damage by inducing a Gaby Sanchez ground out.

The Braves first posed a threat in the sixth, as Derrek Lee clubbed a two-out two-bagger to right. Brian McCanntried to score from first, but Mike Stanton threw a relay to Uggla and he turned and fired a strike to Davis to cut down the Braves catcher at the plate.

Hudson continued his success versus Florida. He allowed just one run in six frames after entering the game with a 2.91 career earned run average versus the Marlins...Florida was without Hanley Ramirez, who could be finished for the season with a pair of elbow ailments...Atlanta's Derek Lowe, 4-0 this September, will toe the rubber versus Andrew Miller in the series finale on Wednesday...Atlanta holds a 10-7 edge in the season series...Uggla hit his 32nd home run of the season, while Hinske belted his 11th...Wagner picked up his first save in 10 days and the 421st of his career, three behind John Franco for fourth on the all-time list...Hinske hit his fifth career pinch-hit home run...Uggla became the 11th player in Marlins history to reach 100 RBI in a season.

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