Gonzalez, Prado lead Braves over Marlins 4-1

ATLANTA 4, FLORIDA 1

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ATLANTA — Alex Gonzalez isn’t too concerned about the pressure of a wild-card race.

Braves shortstop Alex Gonzalez (center) celebrates his three-run homer with Michael Bourn and Martin Prado in the seventh inning. Gonzalez was 8 for 11 with five RBI in the series.  JOHN AMIS/ASSOCIATED PRESS
JOHN AMIS/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Braves shortstop Alex Gonzalez (center) celebrates his three-run homer with Michael Bourn and Martin Prado in the seventh inning. Gonzalez was 8 for 11 with five RBI in the series.

“You have to leave it outside,” he said. “You have to do your job. This time of the season, for me, pressure doesn’t work.”

Gonzalez hit a three-run homer and Martin Prado bunted in a run during a four-run seventh inning as the revived Atlanta Braves beat the Florida Marlins 4-1 on Wednesday to maintain their lead in the NL wild-card race.

Atlanta won the last two games of the series after a season-high four-game losing streak. The victory kept the Braves 4½ games ahead of St. Louis, which won 3-2 at Pittsburgh.

“We know we’ve got a great team,” Gonzalez said. “We’ve got a great leader (in manager Fredi Gonzalez). We’ve got great pitching. We’ve got a great bullpen. I just go out there and do the best I can.”

Five Braves combined on a four-hitter, and the Marlins didn’t get a hit after the third or a runner after the fifth.

Cristhian Martinez, Eric O’Flaherty (2-4), Jonny Venters and rookie Craig Kimbrel each pitched a perfect inning, with Kimbrel striking out the side for his major league-leading 44th save.

“It’s not easy against their bullpen,” Florida first baseman Gaby Sanchez said. “They’ve done a heck of a job the whole year. It’s not fun going up there and having to face them.”

Greg Dobbs homered in the second off Randall Delgado, and Ricky Nolasco (10-11) held the lead until the seventh.

Dan Uggla walked with one out and went to third on Brian McCann’s single, the Braves’ third hit. Prado squared as Nolasco released a pitch, and the ball bounced softly inside the first-base line as Uggla scored without a play. Prado wound up with a bunt single.

“It’s been a while since I got a bunt down,” Prado said. “In that situation, you can’t be too late and you can’t be too early or they find out what you’re doing. I always get tough pitches to bunt, like sliders. Finally, I got a fastball.”

Two batters later, Alex Gonzalez homered on an 0-2 count with two outs, his 13th of the season.

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