Johnson outduels Smoltz as Marlins top slumping Braves

MIAMI (AP)-- The Florida Marlins have become used to Josh Johnson's strong pitching. On Tuesday night they also benefitted from his offense.

Johnson pitched six strong innings and had an RBI double in the Marlins' 4-1 victory over the Atlanta Braves.

With Florida leading 2-0, Johnson doubled off the left-field scoreboard to drive in Alfredo Amezaga and key a two-run fifth inning. Earlier, Miguel Olivo's sacrifice fly scored Cody Ross, who
reached on a leadoff single and advanced to third on Amezaga's one-out single.

"I guess I got lucky on that one," Johnson said of his run-producing hit. "I was just trying to make contact and I wound up getting a real good swing."

Johnson (5-4) allowed one run and seven hits. He struck out seven and walked two.

Andruw Jones, Brian McCann and Jeff Francoeur hit consecutive singles to start the sixth and cut Florida's lead to 3-1.
Francoeur's hit bounced off the wall in left, barely missing a home run. Ross retrieved the ball to limit Francoeur to a single.

Johnson avoided additional trouble by forcing Adam LaRoche to
ground into a double play and retiring Matt Diaz on a flyout to right field.

"I just bore down and got at it," Johnson said. "My fielders did a great job behind me and got me out of a tough situation."

The Braves stranded nine runners.

"We didn't hit when were supposed to and that was the game," Jones said. "We're not pressuring. We're just not playing well and doing the things we are supposed to do."

Randy Messenger relieved Johnson and pitched a scoreless seventh. Joe Borowski got the final three outs for his ninth save in 10 chances.

Marlins manager Joe Girardi credited Johnson for stifling the Braves' big-inning hopes in the sixth.

"He gave up some 0-2 hits but I thought the key to the game was the way he battled through that sixth inning," Girardi said. "He found a way to get through it against a tough opponent."

John Smoltz (4-5) lost his third consecutive start, allowing three runs and five hits in six innings. He struck out four.

"It seems to be the same thing, three runs and we don't win," Smoltz said. "We have to find a way to start winning those games and, at the same time, if need be, win 1-0."

The Braves have lost 12 of their last 15 and are 2-10 in June.

"We can't say anything and start playing good baseball and see what happens," Jones said.

The Marlins added a run in the eighth on an RBI double by Dan Uggla to make it 4-1.

"We beat another quality pitcher and that says a lot about the character of this ballclub," Girardi said.

Mike Jacobs' solo home run in the first gave the Marlins a 1-0 lead. Jacobs hit Smoltz's 2-0 pitch over the wall in right-center field for his ninth home run of the season.

"With [Miguel] Cabrera hitting behind me, I'm getting some good pitches to hit and it makes a difference," Jacobs said. "We were able to get to Smoltz early and then protect the lead."

Game notes
Chipper Jones has reached safely in 48 of 51 games this season following his single in third inning. ... Johnson's hit was only his second of the season and first extra-base hit of his career. ... With the Miami Heat playing their first home game of the NBA Finals on the same night, paid attendance for the Marlins' opener against the Braves was 6,940. ... The Braves placed reliever Chris Reitsma on the 15-day disabled list. Reitsma has been feeling numbness in his pitching hand and will be examined in Atlanta on Thursday.