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McCann homer lifts Braves

ATLANTA - Brian McCann hit a three-run homer, Charlie Morton finally figured out how to pitch at home and the Atlanta Braves beat the slumping Florida Marlins 4-2 on Thursday night.

The Marlins are 10-15 in August, haven't won two games in a row this month and fell six games behind the idle New York Mets in the NL East. Florida begins a critical three-game series at home against the Mets today.

The win was only the fourth in 17 games for the Braves, who are a dismal 14-25 since the All-Star break and long ago fell out of playoff contention. It was their first series win at home since July 4-6, when they won two of three from Houston.

Morton (4-8) had been 0-6 with an 8.18 ERA this season at Turner Field, but the rookie right-hander went six innings and allowed only four hits and two runs. It was his first start since allowing five hits and four runs over 11/3 innings in an 18-3 loss at St. Louis last Friday.

Mike Gonzalez came on in the ninth and struck out the side to pick up his seventh save in seven attempts and 37th consecutive save overall. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that's the longest current streak in the majors.

The left-hander has not blown a save since June 25, 2004, against Cincinnati when he was a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The Braves took a 1-0 lead off Anibal Sanchez (2-3) in the second on a run-scoring single by Martin Prado, and made it 4-0 when McCann broke out of a 1-for-16 slump in the fifth inning with his 22nd home run of the season. The 342-foot shot over the right-field fence drove in Josh Anderson and Chipper Jones.

Sanchez went five innings and allowed four hits, four runs, walked five and struck out two.

The Marlins eventually got to Morton for two runs in the sixth, but could have had more if not for some excellent defensive play by the Braves.

Dan Uggla opened the inning with a double and scored on a double by John Baker. Pinch-hitter Paul Lo Duca then walked, and Hanley Ramirez lofted a drive that left fielder Brandon Jones leaped and caught at the wall, saving a double.

Luis Gonzalez then doubled in Baker, but Lo Duca was thrown out at the plate on a relay from right fielder Jeff Francoeur to second baseman Kelly Johnson to catcher McCann.

Notes: Anderson was recalled Wednesday from Triple-A Richmond, started in center field and led off. He went 1-for-2 with a pair of walks and scored a run. He was called up earlier in the season and hit .318 (7-for-22). ... The Marlins had homered in eight straight games.