The Braves Report: Welcome to the Slaughterhouse

<B><U>Marlins 20, Braves 1</B></U> <BR> The Florida Marlins set a team record for runs, beating the Atlanta Braves 20-1 Tuesday night in a game delayed after a photographer was hit in the head by a flying bat. <BR> <BR> <B><U>Down on the farm</B></U> <BR> Strong pitching and offense were the keys to success for Richmond and Greenville on Tuesday night. Paul Bacot wows in Orlando; R. Colon picks up his 7th win; Zach Miner strong in Myrtle Beach.

If you thought Greg Maddux getting hammered in the previous game was as bad as it could get for the Braves, you probably don't want to read any further. Tonight's game was much, much worse than that.

The Florida Marlins dominance of the Braves at Pro Player Stadium continued tonight, as they destroy the Braves, 20-1. The Marlins set franchise records for runs scored in a game at 20, and also hits in a game at 25. As a contrast, the Braves were only able to put a single run on the board on 4 hits. The Marlins scored in every inning except for the 3rd, and scored two or more runs in each other inning except the 1st, where they scored only 1.

Mike Hampton got the start for the Braves, but wasn't the pitcher he was when facing Seattle and Philadelphia just a few starts prior. Hampton allowed 9 earned runs on 10 hits in 4 innings of work, to fall to 3-5 on the season. Hampton had posted a 3.00 ERA during the month of June, but to say this game was a regression would be an understatement.

The Braves were out of the game when Hampton was removed, but the bullpen kept up the same trend the rest of the game. Jung Bong allowed 5 earned runs in 2 innings. Trey Hodges allowed 4 earned runs in 1 inning. Roberto Hernandez capped off the night by allowing 2 earned runs in the final inning. The bullpen is tired and overworked, and desperately needs the starters to get deeper into the game.

Josh Beckett returned from the DL for the Marlins, and was nothing short of dominant. Beckett tossed 6 innings, allowing only one unearned run on 3 hits, and fanned 7. The win evens his record at 3-3 on the year.

Gary Sheffield drove in the lone Braves run in the top of the 1st on a ground out. For the second night in a row, the Braves were up 1-0 to start the game, and for the second night in a row that would be the only run they would put on the scoreboard. Rafael Furcal and Javy Lopez had the only hits for the starters, while Matt Franco and Mark DeRosa each picked up a hit in pinch hit/blowout replacement duty.

Things do not get any easier for the Braves tomorrow night as they look to avoid the sweep against the Marlins. The battle of the rookie southpaws takes place at 6:05 ET as Horacio Ramirez (7-2) takes on Dontrelle Willis (8-1). The Phillies moved to within 4 1/2 games tonight with their victory over the Cubs, and are riding a 7 game win streak, so it's time for the Braves to win one and stop the slide.

Down on the farm

Richmond Braves 5, Indianapolis Indians (MIL) 3 -- SS Jesse Garcia, 1B Adam LaRoche, and LF Travis Wilson had 3 hits each, and RF Damon Hollins added a three run homer, as the Braves beat the Indians, 5-3. Chris Fussell improved to 5-8 with the victory, allowing 2 earned runs on 5 hits in 6.1 innings of work. Joe Dawley picked up his 9th save of the season.

Greenville Braves 8, Jacksonville Suns (LA) 6 -- 1B James Jurries had a perfect 4-for-4 night with 2 RBI, including his 6th home run of the season, as the G-Braves take down the Suns, 8-6. RF Cory Aldridge and LF Jason Fitzgerald each added 2 hits on the day. Matt Belisle got the start, giving up 4 runs - 3 earned - on 8 hits in 6 innings. Roman Colon picked up the win in relief to go to 7-3 for the season, and Billy Sylvester picked up his 5th save.

Myrtle Beach Pelicans 4, Frederick Keys (BAL) 6 -- Zach Miner allowed 4 earned runs on 7 hits in 6 innings, as the Braves fall to the Keys, 6-4. Miner wasn't involved in the decision, as Marcel Vianna got him off the hook, dropping to 5-4 on the season. LF Greg Miller was 3-for-5 with an RBI and 2 stolen bases, and 2B Aaron Herr added a 2-for-4, 1 RBI game in the loss.

Savannah Sand Gnats at Rome Braves -- Postponed due to weather.

Johnson City Cardinals 3, Danville Braves 2 -- Sean White got the start and fell to 0-1, as the Braves lose to the Cardinals, 3-2. White gave up all 3 runs - 2 earned - in 4 innings, allowing 8 hits with 1 strikeout and no walks. Cory Blackmon was solid in relief, tossing 4 hitless innings, with 2 K's and 2 BB. 3B Ben Thomas and 1B Greg Donato each went 2-for-4 with a run scored, and C Steve Pyzik was 1-for-3, driving in both Braves runs.

Jupiter Expos 4, Orlando Braves 2 -- 1B Carlos Moreta and LF Angel Ponce each went 2-for-4 with an RBI, but it wasn't enough, as the Braves fall to the Expos, 4-2. Matt Harrison (0-1) pitched 2 innings in the start, allowing all 4 Expos runs, 3 were earned, on 5 hits in 2 innings of work. Paul Bacot was solid in relief, allowing only 1 hit in 4 innings, with 1 strikeout and 1 walk.

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