Braves get outfield help, lose game

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ATLANTA --- Ricky Nolasco scattered 12 hits, Emilio Bonifacio homered and the Florida Marlins handed the Braves the 10,000th loss in franchise history, beating Atlanta 3-1 today.

The Braves began the day savoring a deadline trade for speedy outfielder Michael Bourn, acquired from Houston in a five-player deal. They could've used him right away, especially when fill-in centerfielder Jose Constanza got thrown out twice on the basepaths.

The Braves squandered numerous scoring chances to become only the second team in big league history with 10,000 losses. The Phillies reached that mark in 2007.

Nolasco (8-7) lasted 6 2-3 innings. Leo Nunez came on in the ninth for his 30th save.

Atlanta starter Tommy Hanson (11-6) gave up all three Florida runs in six innings.

In the trade with Houston, the Astros received outfielder Jordan Schafer and three minor league pitchers, but the Braves didn't give up any of their top pitching prospects.

"We haven't had that kind of threat in the top of our lineup in a long time," said third baseman Chipper Jones, one of the numerous Braves slowed by injuries.

Bourn is hitting .303 and leads the majors with 39 stolen bases. He goes from the last-place Astros to a playoff-contending team that has one of baseball's best pitching staffs, but was downright desperate for offensive help because of various ailments and lackluster performances.

Bourn sure fills a need. The Braves haven't had a prototypical leadoff hitter since Rafael Furcal left after the 2005 season.

"I'm excited," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "He makes the defense do things they don't want to do. Pitchers are going to throw pitches they don't want to throw."

The Braves were reluctant to give up more than one of their top pitching prospects: Julio Teheran, Arodys Vizcaino, Mike Minor or Randall Delgado. Turns out, they didn't have to surrender any of them to acquire Bourn.

Schafer, once considered Atlanta's center fielder of the future, showed signs of finally living up to the hype since being recalled from the minors early this season. But he was hitting just .240 with one homer, seven RBI and a team-high 15 stolen bases before going on the disabled list with an injured finger last week.

The 24-year-old Schafer may go on to have a long, productive career, but the Braves needed someone who could help right away in their pursuit of a second straight playoff appearance.

"On a team that's poised to win," Wren said, "we need the finished product."

In addition to Schafer, the Braves parted with right-handers Juan Abreu and Paul Clemens and left-hander Brett Oberholtzer. The 26-year-old Abreu was relieving at Triple-A Gwinnett, where he went 4-2 with a 2.25 ERA in 41 games this season. Clemens, 23, and Oberholtzer, 22, were both starters at Double-A Mississippi.


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