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Relief pitching helps Braves hold off Marlins 4-3

MIAMI — The Atlanta Braves got stellar relief pitching for the second straight game, holding off the Miami Marlins 4-3 on Tuesday night at Marlins Park.

Counting Monday’s win, Braves relievers have worked five scoreless innings in the series.

After starter Julio Teheran (12-7) went 6 2/3 innings, allowing three runs, the Braves used four relievers to keep the Marlins from scoring again.

Closer Craig Kimbrel picked up his major league-leading 46th save, including a club-record 36 in a row.

But the game might have been won in the seventh when the Marlins loaded the bases with two outs. That’s when reliever Luis Ayala came on to strike out Giancarlo Stanton on three pitches. On the last pitch, Stanton swung and missed at an 89 mph slider that dived down and in to the Marlins’ slugger.

The loss went to Marlins starter Tom Koehler (3-10), who allowed four runs in five innings.

The Braves opened the scoring in the first inning with three straight two-out hits. Freddie Freeman singled, and Evan Gattis and Brian McCann followed with run-scoring doubles to left center.

Miami came right back with three runs in the bottom of the first. After Ed Lucas singled and Christian Yelich walked, Giancarlo Stanton — who had missed the previous two games with a sprained right ankle — crushed a line-drive double just inside the line in left field, scoring Lucas.

Logan Morrison tied the score with a single, and Donovan Solano’s groundout gave the Marlins a 3-2 lead.

The Braves scored twice to regain the lead in the third. Justin Upton, Freeman and Gattis started the inning with three straight singles, the last of which produced an RBI.

After McCann grounded out, Chris Johnson’s run-scoring single gave the Braves a 4-3 lead.

NOTES: Upton left the game with a bruised right knee and is listed as day to day. … The Braves activated OF Reed Johnson before the game. He had been out since July 29 with a foot injury. … The Marlins will open the 2014 season with a home game on March 31 against the Colorado Rockies. … The Braves will open their 2014 season with a trip to play the Milwaukee Brewers on March 31. … Braves RHP Jordan Walden threw off a mound for the first time since he suffered a groin injury two weeks ago. He is expected to need one more such session before returning to the Atlanta bullpen. … Marlins C Jeff Mathis, who left Monday’s game with a right thumb contusion, was not in the starting lineup. He was replaced by Rob Brantly. … The third game of the four-game Braves-Marlins series is set for tonight. RHP Jose Fernandez (11-6, 2.23 ERA) will face LHP Mike Minor (13-6, 3.06). It will be Fernandez’s final appearance of the year, as he will have reached an innings cap the Marlins set.