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Updated: Monday, June 27, 2005 11:59 PM EDT



  R H E  
Braves 7 12 1 WP: Ramirez (7-4)
LP: Moehler (2-6)  
Marlins 2 6 0
Franco's slam lifts surging Braves

MIAMI (Ticker) -- Somehow, someway, Julio Franco just keeps getting it done.

The 46-year-old hit a grand slam in the eighth inning to spark the Atlanta Braves to a 7-2 victory over the Florida Marlins .

The game was called with one out in the bottom of the eighth due to rain. The grounds crew had considerable trouble getting the tarp on the field. Franco came on as a pinch hitter and victimized reliever Valerio de los Santos for his eighth career grand slam, giving the Braves a 7-1 lead.

"I don't feel old at all," said Franco, two months shy of his 47th birthday. "You guys keep saying, 'Oh, he's old. How does he do it?' But I don't feel old, and I haven't felt old the last five years."

Franco broke his own record as the oldest to hit a grand slam. His last came June 3, 2004 against Philadelphia.

Leading 3-1, the Braves loaded the bases against reliever Randy Messenger in the eighth. De los Santos came on for Messenger, prompting Franco to bat for Adam LaRoche . Franco's homer, a 401-foot shot to right-center field, surprised just about everyone, especially himself.

"I was not thinking about hitting a grand slam, just to get a hit," he said. "Look at ( New York Yankees shortstop) Derek Jeter . The guy's been playing 12 years, and he just hits his first (slam) the other day. That tells you how hard it is."

Florida's Miguel Cabrera homered in the eighth to cap the scoring. After Carlos Delgado flied out, heavy rains came and, following a 34-minute delay and an unsuccessful attempt by the grounds crew to cover the infield, the game was called.

"We got washed away, I guess," Marlins manager Jack McKeon said. "When you're behind, you want to play the final outs, but under the circumstances tonight, they wouldn't have had the field ready. They couldn't get the canvas on, then they couldn't get it off."

Horacio Ramirez (7-4) pitched seven effective innings, allowing one run and five hits to improve to 4-0 in his last six outings.

Atlanta has won four straight games and nine of its last 11.

Brian Moehler (2-6) allowed three runs and seven hits in seven innings in falling to 0-5 in his last eight starts.

The Braves quickly reached Moehler. Rafael Furcal opened with a triple and Marcus Giles followed with a sacrifice fly.

Paul Lo Duca had an RBI double in the second, tying the game at 1-1.

The Braves added a pair of runs in the fourth on RBI groundouts by LaRoche and Johnny Estrada . Franco broke it open with one swing in the eighth.

"He is truly amazing at his age, to do what he does," Braves manager Bobby Cox said. "Pinch-hitting is one of the toughest things in the world a player can do, let alone at his age. He can do it, and he can play every day as well. He's just a remarkable specimen of an athlete."

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