Braves pound Willis, Marlins for fifth straight win
MIAMI (Ticker) -- The
' impressive streak before extending one of their own.
had three hits and scored three runs and
added three RBI as the Braves battered Willis en route to their fifth straight win, a 9-1 victory over the
Willis (12-3) entered tied for the major league-lead with 12 wins and having not allowed a run in 19 innings, a streak that ended just two batters into this one.
opened the contest with a single and Johnson followed with a triple. Franco delivered a sacrifice fly later in the inning for a 2-0 advantage.
"Dontrelle has been unbelievable, and getting to him early was extremely important," Johnson said. "We were swinging the bats well and getting clutch hits."
With Atlanta ahead, 4-1, Johnson kept alive the seventh inning with an infield hit. Two batters later,
delivered an RBI single to extend the Braves' lead.
"We watched some film and made some adjustments," Jones said. "We saw his pitches well today and jumped on him early, and that was key."
Franco, 46, added a two-run triple in the ninth to become the second-oldest player in major league history to notch a three-base hit, behind only 48-year-old
, who tripled in 1924.
belted a solo homer in the third inning for Atlanta, which has won six of nine meetings with Florida this season.
The offense overshadowed a solid effort by
(4-1), who allowed one run, four hits and two walks in six innings. He struck out two in improving to 4-0 with a 2.30 ERA on the road.
"Every start, I'm getting more confidence in myself and in my teammates," Sosa said through an interpreter. "I threw the ball well and made some good pitches."
"The way he was slinging the ball with that slider and was locating tonight made it extremely tough on them," Braves catcher
said. "He has tremendous confidence in his ability."
Willis was reached for season highs of five runs and 11 hits in seven innings as the lefthander failed to become baseball's first 13-game winner.
"I take full responsibility because the tone was set early, and it wasn't good," Willis said. "I feel like I let the team down. I got us in a big hole and we were never able to get out of it."
Johnson believed facing Willis for the second time in less than a week worked in Atlanta's favor.
"He was fresh in our heads," said Johnson, who singled in the ninth to notch his second career three-hit game. "Maybe he wasn't as sharp, but we were also more familiar with him, and that worked to our advantage."
"A lot of people haven't been hitting him lately, including us," Braves manager
said. "Sometimes it works out where a really good pitcher has an off-night."
Florida manager Jack Mckeon was more concerned with his team's lack of productivity than a rare off-night by Willis.
"Every pitcher is going to go through a night like that," McKeon said. "We're not getting key hits right now, and that's something we have to find a way out of, to get back on track."