is at the top of the National League in hitting, and in the middle of the
Ramirez extended his career-high hitting streak to 16 games with three hits, including a two-run homer, and drove in three
runs to lead the Marlins to a 5-3 rain-delayed victory over the
on Friday night.
''It seems like every time we get a win, he's in the middle of it,'' Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez said of Ramirez, who is
hitting .360. ''He's playing well. He's swinging the bat good. He's just doing a nice job.''
(2-4), who came off the 60-day disabled list before the game, pitched six-plus innings for Florida. The right-hander, on the
disabled list twice this season with a sprained right shoulder, allowed one run and two hits, walked two and struck out seven.
Sanchez threw 82 pitches, 52 strikes, and held the Braves hitless until Atlanta starter
lined a single to left with one out in the sixth. He left with a 5-0 lead after allowing a leadoff double in the seventh to
''Sanchez was terrific. He did fine. He had command of his fastball. That was the best I've seen from him,'' Gonzalez said.
''I was just trying to throw strikes. I wasn't thinking about a no-hitter. I just tried to keep the game close,'' Sanchez
said. ''It was a big game for us battling with Atlanta, Colorado and San Francisco.''
picked up his 13th save with a scoreless ninth.
The game was delayed 2 hours, 28 minutes by thunder, lightning and rain with the Marlins batting in the ninth with one out.
It resumed at 12:44 a.m.
''It was a long wait, but it was good for us. We won. It's hard enough getting three outs (ninth inning) under normal conditions,''
''We didn't put up much of a fight there in the ninth but at least we were given the opportunity,'' said Atlanta's
, who made the first out in the ninth but had an infield single earlier to end an 0-for-18 drought.
''You hate to sit around for two hours before you get anything started but the fact of the matter is that all these games
really, really matter,'' he said.
hit a three-run home run off Dan Myers in the seventh to make it 5-3. It was LaRoche's 20th homer and fourth in five games.
The Marlins broke a scoreless tie in the sixth on an RBI single by Ramirez off Vazquez (10-9).
Florida scored four times in the seventh keyed by the two-run homer by Ramirez, his 19th.
opened the inning with a home run, his 13th.
followed with a double and scored on a single by
before Ramirez hit his long drive over the left field fence for a 5-0 lead, knocking out Vazquez.
Vazquez went 6 2-3 innings and allowed 10 hits and five runs with one walk and eight strikeouts.
''There's no excuse. They hit me hard. What else can I say?'' Vazquez said.
NOTES: Sanchez, making his eighth start of the season, consistently threw his fastball at 93 mph. He last pitched on June
2. He went 2-0 with a 1.92 ERA in five rehab starts (23.1 innings). ... LaRoche has seven homers in 18 games since being acquired
from Pittsburgh. ... The Braves were without LF
, who left Thursday night's game at New York with a lower back strain, and INF
, who has batted only twice since Saturday. He was diagnosed with ''exertional headaches'' and will have further tests. He's
expected to miss the Florida series. ... The Braves have homered in seven straight games. ... Marlins INF
missed his second straight game due to a stiff neck. ... Florida 1B
missed his fifth game because a sore right hamstring.