MIAMI — Down by two runs in the ninth inning, Jose Reyes beat out an infield hit for Miami and the cleanup spot in the order was coming to the plate.
Only this time, there was no Giancarlo Stanton.
And no heroics, either.
Stanton did not play against Atlanta on Monday night, getting a day to rest what he and the team described as a strained muscle in his side.
The Marlins wound up losing 7-5 to the Braves, who scored the first six runs and still needed to make some plays late for their fourth straight victory.
"We battled. We make this game pretty fun," Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen said. "We went out and didn't give up. We battled back against good pitching."
Stanton pointed to his right side when describing the injury and Guillen described it as an oblique strain, though the team's official announcement was that Stanton had "left intercostal soreness."
Stanton said he expects to be in the lineup Tuesday. Guillen suggested he would be cautious with Stanton, who came into Monday second in the NL with 34 home runs.
"He's got a little soreness, that oblique, rib cage," Guillen said. "He's been dealing with that for a little while and this is something you have to really, really, really, really be careful about because that thing can go for weeks. We're going to go by ear to see how he feels in the next couple of days, and from that we'll make a decision when he's playing."
Justin Ruggiano got the call to start in right field for Stanton, while first baseman Carlos Lee moved into the cleanup spot in the order. Lee flied out for the second out in the ninth, and Ruggiano struck out against Atlanta closer Craig Kimbrel to end the game.
Dan Uggla hit a three-run home run in the first inning off Miami's Wade LeBlanc (2-5). Uggla also sprawled to snare a ground ball that ended a Miami threat in the eighth and Martin Prado tied a career best with four hits for the Braves.
It was the fourth straight win for Atlanta, which moved within five games of idle Washington in the NL East.
"Three-run homer, but for me Danny saved us defensively," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "Here's a guy that gets a bad rap at times defensively, and he saved the game for us today making a bunch of plays."
It was Uggla's first three-RBI game since Aug. 15. Uggla has 13 RBIs in 12 games against Miami this season, more than anyone else has managed against the Marlins.
And even though Miami's current stadium was never his home — he played up the road at Sun Life Stadium when he was a Marlin — Uggla clearly still has good feelings when he returns to South Florida.
Uggla has seven homers in 72 games this season at his home park, Turner Field. He's homered three times in only six games at Marlins Park.
"The fans here, I had a great relationship with them," Uggla said. "I felt like they liked the way I played, enjoyed and appreciated the way I played down here. It's always fun to come back and play in front of them."
Tim Hudson (15-6) allowed a season-high 10 hits in five innings, still beating the Marlins for the fifth straight time.
Gorkys Hernandez had his first three-hit game for Miami, the rookie's average going from .157 to .178. Bryan Petersen and Hernandez hit consecutive triples in a four-run fourth inning for Miami.
Stanton said the strain first became an issue on Saturday. He was in Sunday's lineup, going 1 for 3 with a run scored, and was in the lineup the Marlins originally distributed Monday afternoon, several hours before game time.
"Just a day," he said, asked how long he expected to remain out of the lineup.
Stanton is one of the few bright spots for the Marlins, who are already assured of finishing with a losing record. His 34 homers entering Monday were as many as the next three players on the team's current roster — Ruggiano (13), Jose Reyes (11) and John Buck (10) — combined, and his 81 RBIs are also by far a team-best.
He's also batting .283, 21 points better than what he managed a season ago.Comment on this story
"That injury really can put you down for a little while," Guillen said. "That's why I think not playing for a couple of days ... he's (not) worth the risk to do that. It's not necessary."
The Marlins have 14 games remaining. Stanton is eight home runs shy of matching Gary Sheffield's single-season team record of 42, set in 1996.
Stanton's 34 homers this season — it's the total he had in 2011 as well — is already tied for the second-best season in Marlins history, with Miguel Cabrera also hitting 34 in 2007.
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