Ramirez extends career-high hit streak to 16 in Marlins' win

ATLANTA -- Hanley Ramirez is at the top of the National League in hitting, and in the middle of the Florida Marlins' victories.

Ramirez extended his career-high hitting streak to 16 games with three hits, including a two-run homer, and drove in three runs to lead the Marlins to a 5-3 rain-delayed victory over the Atlanta Braves on Friday night.

"It seems like every time we get a win, he's in the middle of it," Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez said of Ramirez, who is hitting .360. "He's playing well. He's swinging the bat good. He's just doing a nice job."

Anibal Sanchez (2-4), who came off the 60-day disabled list before the game, pitched six-plus innings for Florida. The right-hander, on the disabled list twice this season with a sprained right shoulder, allowed one run and two hits, walked two and struck out seven.

Sanchez threw 82 pitches, 52 strikes, and held the Braves hitless until Atlanta starter Javier Vazquez lined a single to left with one out in the sixth. He left with a 5-0 lead after allowing a leadoff double in the seventh to Ryan Church.

"Sanchez was terrific. He did fine. He had command of his fastball. That was the best I've seen from him," Gonzalez said.

"I was just trying to throw strikes. I wasn't thinking about a no-hitter. I just tried to keep the game close," Sanchez said. "It was a big game for us battling with Atlanta, Colorado and San Francisco."

Florida's Leo Nunez picked up his 13th save with a scoreless ninth.

The game was delayed 2 hours, 28 minutes by thunder, lightning and rain with the Marlins batting in the ninth with one out. It resumed at 12:44 a.m.

"It was a long wait, but it was good for us. We won. It's hard enough getting three outs [ninth inning] under normal conditions," Gonzalez said.

"We didn't put up much of a fight there in the ninth but at least we were given the opportunity," said Atlanta's Chipper Jones, who made the first out in the ninth but had an infield single earlier to end an 0-for-18 drought.

"You hate to sit around for two hours before you get anything started but the fact of the matter is that all these games really, really matter," he said.

Atlanta's Adam LaRoche hit a three-run home run off Dan Myers in the seventh to make it 5-3. It was LaRoche's 20th homer and fourth in five games.

The Marlins broke a scoreless tie in the sixth on an RBI single by Ramirez off Vazquez (10-9).

Florida scored four times in the seventh keyed by the two-run homer by Ramirez, his 19th.

Jeremy Hermida opened the inning with a home run, his 13th. Wes Helms followed with a double and scored on a single by Ross Gload before Ramirez hit his long drive over the left field fence for a 5-0 lead, knocking out Vazquez.

Vazquez went 6 2-3 innings and allowed 10 hits and five runs with one walk and eight strikeouts.

"There's no excuse. They hit me hard. What else can I say?" Vazquez said.

Sanchez, making his eighth start of the season, consistently threw his fastball at 93 mph. He last pitched on June 2. He went 2-0 with a 1.92 ERA in five rehab starts (23.1 innings). ... LaRoche has seven homers in 18 games since being acquired from Pittsburgh. ... The Braves were without LF Garret Anderson, who left Thursday night's game at New York with a lower back strain, and INF Martin Prado, who has batted only twice since Saturday. He was diagnosed with "exertional headaches" and will have further tests. He's expected to miss the Florida series. ... The Braves have homered in seven straight games. ... Marlins INF Jorge Cantu missed his second straight game due to a stiff neck. ... Florida 1B Nick Johnson missed his fifth game because a sore right hamstring.