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ATLANTA (CBSMiami/AP) – The Miami Marlins sent pitcher Wade LeBlanc to the mound Wednesday night and he responded by giving up five hits and one run in 4.1 innings to help lead the Marlins to an unexpected 4-2 victory over the Atlanta Braves.
The victory helped the Marlins stay just ahead of Philadelphia for dead last in the National League East.
LeBlanc would have needed just two more outs to win his first start of the season, but Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen had LeBlanc on a pitch count and when the number was up, he was yanked.
Asked if LeBlanc being so close to qualifying for a win was a factor, the typically candid Guillen replied “If the kid was in the running for Cy Young, yes, but he’s not.”
LeBlanc threw 71 pitches and Guillen didn’t want him to throw more than 75.
“He came out and I said ‘I’ve got four more left,’” LeBlanc said.
The early hook came after Guillen said of LeBlanc before the game “I’m just begging for him to give me five innings. That’s not too hard to do. … We need more than four or five innings from our starting pitchers from now on.”
After the game, Guillen said he was happy with LeBlanc making it to 71 pitches.
“Obviously, he wanted the win but we’ve got to take care of business,” Guillen said. “I’d rather win the game and stay healthy than win the game and get (LeBlanc) hurt.”
Carlos Zambrano (6-9) gave up one run in 1 2-3 innings in relief of LeBlanc. Steve Cishek pitched the ninth for his fifth save.
Cishek walked pinch-hitter Michael Bourn to open the ninth. He recovered to strike out pinch-hitter Brian McCann before ending the game when Martin Prado hit into a double play.
“We were not very good with runners on base,” said Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez. “Even though we hit the ball hard, we hit it right at them.”
Zambrano earned the win in his second appearance since being removed from the rotation. It was only his second career win in relief.
Sheets (3-1) gave up 11 hits and four runs, three earned, in 6 2-3 innings in his first loss in four starts with Atlanta.
“It stinks when you’re riding a long winning streak,” Sheets said. “In the first inning, I gave them the momentum right out of the gate. The momentum that we earned over seven games.
“I just couldn’t get out of the inning.”
The Braves’ win streak matched their season best.
Freddie Freeman had three hits and Reed Johnson had two hits in his first start with the Braves.
The Braves’ only run off LeBlanc came when Freeman, who reached on a single, scored on a double by Janish with two outs in the second inning. Bryan Petersen appeared to hurt his right shoulder as he made a diving attempt to catch the bloop double by Janish. Petersen remained in the game and had an ice pack on the shoulder after the game.
Emilio Bonifacio started the game with a bunt single on Sheets’ first pitch. Bonifacio stole second, moved to third on Donnie Murphy’s single and scored on Lee’s bloop single to right field. Dobbs and Petersen also had run-scoring singles for the 3-0 lead.
The Marlins pushed their lead to 4-1 in the fourth when Scott Cousins, who reached on an infield single with two outs, scored when left fielder Martin Prado misplayed LeBlanc’s double for an error.
Dan Uggla’s double off Zambrano drove in Chipper Jones, who walked, to cut Miami’s lead to 4-2 in the sixth.
Mike Dunn gave up back-to-back walks to load the bases with two outs in the seventh before ending the inning on Freeman’s line drive to right field.
Janish delivered the defensive highlight in the third inning. Sprinting from his shortstop position, Janish ended up on his stomach after making a diving catch at the left-field foul line of a flyball hit by Jose Reyes. Reyes stood staring from second base as Janish returned to his feet.
There was a brief delay when Lee’s bat hit home-plate umpire Joe West on Lee’s follow-through on his swing in the fifth. The impact knocked West’s mask off and left a cut on his face.