After bidding farewell to traded pitcher Anibal Sanchez, Josh Johnson dusted off the Atlanta Braves, delivering six nearly perfect innings before exiting with a small cut on his right middle finger.
The Marlins, who won 2-1, said Johnson is expected to make his next start.
Whether that is with them or some other team, though, remains to be seen. A handful of teams — including the Red Sox and Rangers — had scouts assigned to watch Johnson pitch Monday, and he did nothing to decrease interest.
Johnson did not allow a baserunner until Brian McCann singled to right with two outs in the fifth and was taken out after retiring 18 of the 19 Braves that he faced. He matched a season high by striking out nine.
“I was bleeding after every pitch,” Johnson said. “That’s usually a good sign that my curveball was the best it’s been all year.”
The victory for the Marlins snapped a five-game losing streak, but also came on a day in which the front office effectively threw in the towel by trading Sanchez and Infante to the Detroit Tigers for prospects.
Sanchez and Johnson along with Ricky Nolasco and Hanley Ramirez — were the only four remaining players from 2006 when Joe Girardi managed a club comprised largely of rookies.
“Never thought it would happen,” Johnson said of Sanchez being traded. “And then come in one day, and he’s gone.”
The Marlins lineup, which was already depleted because of injuries to Ramirez and Giancarlo Stanton, is now without Infante, one of their few consistent hitters. Ramirez took early batting practice, and Guillen said he expects for him to return to the starting lineup Tuesday. Stanton also took batting practice. But his timetable remains uncertain.
Carlos Lee put the Marlins on top in the first with a bloop single that scored Jose Reyes, and Infante’s replacement at second base, Emilio Bonifacio, made it 2-0 in the second with a leadoff home run off Mike Minor. It was Bonifacio’s first home run of the season.
“That’s not part of my game,” Bonifacio said of what was only his seventh major-league home run.
Following Johnson’s departure, manager Ozzie Guillen used four relievers to preserve the win.
But it didn’t come easy. After Randy Choate gave up a leadoff single to Michael Bourn, Steve Cishek took over and promptly gave up a single to Martin Prado.
Jason Heyward grounded into a double play that he hotly disputed when the throw to first from Jose Reyes looked to be late. Heyward slammed his helmet, and Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez argued so vociferously with first base umpire Laz Diaz that he was ejected.
Chipper Jones followed with a run-scoring single. But Cishek ended it by retiring Freddie Freeman on a shallow fly ball in which center fielder Scott Cousins made a sprawling catch.
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