ATLANTA -- In theory, a car with three of its wheels would still move forward.
As more cogs begin to pop off of the Braves' playoff bandwagon, the team did a little service to the vehicle in Friday's eighth inning against the Marlins.
Sputtering on the road toward the postseason, Atlanta rallied from a 3-0 deficit after failing to score for 18 innings to defeat Florida, 4-3 at Turner Field.
And guess who had the biggest hits. Who else? First year-players.
Down 3-1, Adam LaRoche struck out with the bases loaded and none out.
Jeff Francoeur then hit a grounder that could have been turned into an inning-ending double play. But the former football star's speed helped him beat the throw to first base and allow Marcus Giles to score the team's second run.
The inning was prolonged, just long enough for another rookie, Ryan Langerhans, to single up the middle and drive in Chipper Jones to tie the game.
Langerhans has quietly become Mr. Clutch for Atlanta; he's now 21-for-67 with runners in scoring position this year and has eight game-winning RBI.
Combination of Braves' wins and Phillies' losses to win the NL East: 5
Yet another rookie, Brian McCann, followed with a single that scored Francoeur to give Atlanta the lead.
After a disturbing trend of losing close games late, the Braves finally bucked back.
Philadelphia took two of three from the Braves earlier in the week, but Atlanta's comeback win puts the Braves' magic number at five.
But, as Jones predicted earlier in the day, it wasn't easy.
"It's not going to get any easier," Jones said. "We've got our work cut out for us."
Carlos Delgado gave the Marlins an early lead with a two-run homer to right-center field in the third, and Florida led 3-0.
Reach Travis Haney at email@example.com.
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