Starter Pablo Lopez and the Miami bullpen slowed down the powerful Atlanta Braves as the visiting Marlins posted a 4-2 win on Thursday and trimmed their magic number to two to clinch a playoff berth.
Lopez (6-4) pitched five scoreless innings and allowed two hits and two walks while striking out six. It was quite a turnaround for Lopez, who was tagged for seven runs in 1 2/3 innings of his most recent start against Atlanta, on Sept. 9.
The Braves, who lead the league in runs scored and were averaging 5.98 runs per game, were limited to four additional hits by a parade of relievers -- Yimi Garcia, James Hoyt, Richard Bleier, Brad Boxberger and Brandon Kintzler.
Kintzler pitched the final two innings to earn his 11th save. He worked around a one-out walk to Freddie Freeman in the ninth inning, striking out Marcell Ozuna and Travis d'Arnaud to end the game.
Miami (29-28) salvaged one game of the four-game series, snapped a four-game losing streak and opened a one-game lead over the Philadelphia Phillies for second place in the National League East. Atlanta (34-23) maintained a two-game lead over the Chicago Cubs for the No. 2 seed in the NL playoffs.
Atlanta starter Ian Anderson (3-2) pitched 5 2/3 innings and allowed three runs, all unearned, on seven hits. He logged six strikeouts without issuing a walk.
The Braves committed four errors.
The Marlins scored three unearned runs in the sixth on a rally that started when third baseman Adeiny Hechavarria dropped Brian Anderson's line drive. One run scored on a two-out single by light-hitting Chad Wallach before Jon Berti, who was 3-for-4, followed with a two-run double.
Miami added a run in the seventh when Jesus Aguilar hit his eighth homer, a solo shot to center field, against A.J. Minter. It was the first earned run Minter had allowed since July 27.
Atlanta got its two runs off Boxberger thanks to a Dansby Swanson single in the eighth.
The game started an hour and 39 minutes later than scheduled because of rain. The skies cleared enough to start the game, but the contest was played in conditions that ranged from drizzle to light rain. There was a hard wind that blew in all night and helped keep several well-struck balls in the park.
--Field Level Media