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Miami Marlins fall to Atlanta Braves in rainy loss

The roster changed substantially for the Marlins over the final two weeks of July. But the results sure didn't.

On a day the team shipped off former All-Star first baseman Gaby Sanchez and reliever Edward Mujica at the trade deadline -- the club's fourth trade in a little more than a week, the Braves sent the Marlins tumbling to a 7-1 defeat at Turner Field, Miami's 12th loss in 18 games since the All-Star Break.

Marlins starter Ricky Nolasco, who began the season 4-0 with a 2.72 ERA, lost his fourth consecutive start. He gave up seven hits, four walks and four earned runs in yet another ugly performance in a game delayed by rain for 1 hour, 53 minutes at the start of the sixth inning.

"Just a tough time right now for me and a lot people. I don't think anybody would envision this going on, but it is and we have to deal with it," said Nolasco, who is now 4-10 with a 5.91 ERA over his last 15 starts.

"Just struggling right now. We'll figure it out, get 'em next time."

The Marlins, who finished 10-16 in July, led 1-0 after a Donnie Murphy solo home run in the top of the first.

But the Braves (59-44) quickly stormed back with three runs in the bottom half of the first inning off Nolasco. Brian McCann delivered the first run on a grounder to first before Nolasco then walked two in a row to load the bases for new Marlins killer Juan Francisco, who stroked a two-out, two-run single to right field to make it 3-1.

Francisco, who had a two-run single off reliever Carlos Zambrano Monday, is now 8-for-14 with two doubles a homer and seven RBI against the Marlins this season. McCann then blasted a solo home run to right field in the third.

"The team to gives me a one-run lead, to give up three, it just kind of sucks up all the energy right off the bat," Nolasco said. "... that pitch to Francisco -- it was in, it was a good pitch. He did enough to hit it up the middle."

When play resumed after the rain delay, the Braves retired the Marlins in order 1-2-3 before pounding on Dan Jennings, who came on in relief of Nolasco. Tyler Pastornicky started the inning by stroking a solo home run to left. Michael Bourn then singled and advanced when Emilio Bonifacio dropped a would-be out at second on a fielder's choice. Jason Heyward followed with a run scoring single to center to make it 6-1.

The Marlins (47-56) produced seven hits and hit into four double plays.

Shortstop Jose Reyes had one of them, extending his hit streak to 18 games with an infield single to second base in the first. He's now two games shy of tying his career-best.

"It all starts with the starters and lately they've been off," manager Ozzie Guillen said. "If we want to have a little fun we have to better starting pitching. They know the offense isn't going to support us that much -- just to be able to go out and compete we need good start pitching."

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