The Atlanta Braves just squandered a great chance to move closer to the top of the NL East, but they're still in a good spot.
The Miami Marlins , meanwhile, haven't been in a worse position all season.
Atlanta goes for a fourth straight victory at Miami on Monday night when the Marlins try to avoid a season high-tying sixth straight defeat.
After back-to-back wins over Washington moved them within 1 1/2 games of the division lead, the Braves (52-43) left the nation's capital Sunday in the same place they arrived - 3 1/2 behind the East-leading Nationals."We're right back where we started," Chipper Jones said following a 9-1 defeat. "Now it's time to hopefully make up ground while we're playing in separate cities."
Atlanta, percentage points behind Pittsburgh for the wild-card lead, now takes its major league-best 28-19 road record to Miami, where it has won 10 of 12 following a three-game sweep June 5-7.
Monday's scheduled starter Mike Minor (5-6, 5.69 ERA) worked around five walks in the finale of that series, allowing one run in five innings in an 8-2 win.
The left-hander went 1-2 with a 7.04 ERA in his last three starts in June, and was in danger of losing his spot in the rotation, but he's bounced back nicely in two July starts, posting a 1-0 record with a 2.19 ERA.
"I think this is his second outing that was pretty decent for him," manager Fredi Gonzalez told the Braves' official website after Minor fanned seven and yielded just one run in six innings of Wednesday's 9-4, 11-inning loss to San Francisco. "He goes into the (All-Star) break feeling good about himself and maybe come out the other end with some momentum."
The Marlins' momentum is heading in the wrong direction after falling a season-high seven games below .500 with a 3-0 loss to Pittsburgh on Sunday that ended a 1-5 trip.
Miami (44-51) has plated seven runs during its skid.
"Really, we can't get anything done on offense," manager Ozzie Guillen told the Marlins' official website.
That doesn't bode well for Josh Johnson (5-7, 4.35), who is 0-2 with a 7.56 ERA in three July starts after giving up seven earned runs in five outings last month.
The right-hander was tagged for four runs in his last outing, a 5-1 road loss to the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday.
"I just didn't come through for the team," said Johnson, who'll try to avoid losing a career worst-tying three starts for the first time since June 18-29, 2007.
Despite a 1.42 ERA in his last six starts against the Braves, Johnson is 1-2 in that span after striking out a season high-tying nine in a 2-1 loss June 6.
Braves catcher Brian McCann went 3 for 4 with a double off the right-hander in that contest but was hitless in eight other at-bats during that series.
Marlins shortstop Jose Reyes will try to extend his team-best hitting streak to 11. He's 4 for 10 with a homer and a triple off Minor.
Logan Morrison is 3 for 7 with a home run, triple and a double against the left-hander, but he's hitless in 16 at-bats against Braves pitching in 2012.
It's doubtful Minor will face Hanley Ramirez , who is expected to miss a fourth consecutive game with a hand infection.
These division rivals play seven times in their next 10 games.
|July 21, 2012||Matt Diaz||15-Day DL||Right thumb contusion|
|July 14, 2012||Jack Wilson||15-Day DL||Dislocated right pinkie finger|
|July 09, 2012||Andrelton Simmons||Day-to-Day||Broken right pinkie|
|July 09, 2012||Andrelton Simmons||15-Day DL||Broken right pinkie finger|
|July 08, 2012||Andrelton Simmons||Day-to-Day||Broken right pinkie|
|July 05, 2012||Jonny Venters||15-Day DL||Left elbow impingement|
|July 08, 2012||Giancarlo Stanton||15-Day DL||Arthroscopic right knee surgery|
|July 08, 2012||Hanley Ramirez||Day-to-Day||Right finger laceration|
|July 06, 2012||Giancarlo Stanton||Day-to-Day||Sore right knee|
|June 30, 2012||Edward Mujica||15-Day DL||Fractured right pinkie toe|
|June 30, 2012||Edward Mujica||15-Day DL||Fractured right pinkie toe|
|June 16, 2012||Sandy Rosario||15-Day DL||Strained right quad|
MIAMI (AP) -- Josh Johnson felt as good as he had all season despite leaving with a cut on the middle finger of his throwing hand.
Johnson pitched six scoreless innings and Emilio Bonifacio homered to lead the Miami Marlins to a 2-1 win over the Atlanta Braves on Monday night.
"I felt in control the whole time," Johnson said. "I felt I didn't have to work real hard on my delivery. Everything was kind of clicking."
Four relievers combined to pitch the final three innings for Miami, including Steve Cishek , who recorded his third save in six chances to help the Marlins snap a five-game losing streak.
Johnson (6-7) retired the first 14 batters he faced before Brian McCann singled to right in the fifth.
"When Mac got the base hit, I went `Whew,' because (Johnson) had no-hit stuff, if not perfect-game stuff," Braves third baseman Chipper Jones said.
"He had all his pitches today," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "We're a majority left-handed hitting team and those guys were coming back shaking their heads."
Johnson struck out nine, allowed one hit and did not walk a batter. He threw 53 of his 87 pitches for strikes before Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen pulled him as a precaution.
"That's the best I've seen in a little while," Guillen said. "Unfortunately that's the way we roll."
Gonzalez was ejected in the ninth for arguing with first base umpire Laz Diaz after Diaz called Jason Heyward out to complete a double play.
"Unfortunately, there are two handful of games every year that are decided by the men in black," Jones said. "We didn't get the call on a pretty obvious call at first base. It really cost us a chance to get something going and put some pressure on them."
Jones followed with an RBI single to pull the Braves within 2-1 before Scott Cousins made a sliding catch in center field to rob Freddie Freeman of a hit and end the game.
Carlos Lee had an RBI single in the first inning and Bonifacio, starting in place of Omar Infante at second base, led off the second with his first homer since Sept. 25, 2011 at Milwaukee.
"That's definitely a good feeling," Bonifacio said of his rare homer. "I wasn't looking for that, but it was a really good feeling especially with the way J.J. was throwing the ball and giving him a 2-0 lead."
Braves starter Mike Minor (5-7) allowed two runs and six hits in seven innings.
"First inning was a little rough just because I made some OK pitches and they snuck in there for some hits," Minor said. "Then later on, Bonifacio took that one down the middle and hit it out of the ball park."
Prior to the start of the game, Miami traded Infante and Anibal Sanchez to the Detroit Tigers for three prospects, including former first-round draft pick Jacob Turner .
"We lost a couple of guys that we thought we had all the way until the end, but unfortunately we're not playing good enough to keep those guys," Guillen said.
Miami came into the season with high expectations after landing coveted free agents Jose Reyes , Mark Buehrle and Heath Bell , but they came in 11 1/2 games out of first place in the NL East and eight games behind the wild card-leading Braves.
The Marlins acquired Lee on July 4 to bolster their lineup and make a push in the standings, but they are just 6-9 since the trade.
"After a bad day, a great win," Guillen said.
NOTES: Atlanta recalled OF Jose Constanza from Triple-A Gwinnett and optioned RHP Anthony Varvaro . ... Marlins 3B Hanley Ramirez (right hand laceration) is expected to return to the lineup Tuesday for the first time since July 19. ... Sanchez went 44-45 with a 3.75 ERA in 132 starts for the Marlins over seven years, including a no-hitter on Sept. 6, 2006 against Arizona. ... Braves RHP Tim Hudson (8-4, 3.70 ERA) will start Tuesday night against LHP Buehrle (9-9, 3.29 ERA).