It has been a downer of a season for the Marlins.
But they closed out their home schedule Sunday on a high note, completing a sweep of Atlanta with a 9-5 victory and clinching third place in the National League East.
“It’s better than fifth,” joked manager Dan Jennings.
Justin Bour belted two homers and Martin Prado drove in three runs as the Marlins extended hard-luck Braves pitcher Shelby Miller’s winless streak to 24 consecutive starts. Miller’s last win came on May 17 when he nearly no-hit the Marlins.
Bour got the ball rolling for the Marlins in the first inning by connecting on his 22nd home run, a towering shot that struck the foul pole in right. The Marlins’ first baseman also homered in the first inning on Friday and Saturday.
Bour added an opposite-field solo shot in the seventh for his 23rd blast, giving him the most home runs by a Marlins rookie since 2006 when Dan Uggla hit 27 and Josh Willingham had 26.
Bour said Marlins pitcher David Phelps picked out the bats for him to use in all three games of the series, and it paid off.
“I got to give some credit to Phelps,” Bour said. “The last three days, he’s picked out a bat for me everyday, and I’ve gone back to him. For three straight days I’ve had home runs, so I’ve got to give him a little credit on that.”
Since Phelps is injured and won’t be making the upcoming trip, Bour said he made sure the pitcher marked his bats to take with him when the Marlins close out the season in St. Petersburg and Philadelphia.
Right after Bour hit his second home run Sunday, Marcell Ozuna launched one over the fence in right, marking the third time this season the Marlins hit back-to-back homers.
The Braves clawed back with two runs in the second off Tom Koehler, and tied it again in the fifth after Prado’s RBI single in the third had given the Marlins the lead.
But Prado put the Marlins on top for good in the fifth with a two-run single, and the Marlins tacked on two more runs in the sixth.
Prado also made a sensational play in the field, diving to his right to come up with Daniel Castro’s hard smash, then making the long throw from his right knee to retire the runner.
“He’s established himself as a leader,” Jennings said of Prado. “It would be easy to put ‘Captain’ on his chest, because he’s certainly become that. He’s a winning ballplayer.”
Dee Gordon swiped two bases to pull within one of National League stolen base leader Billy Hamilton, who has 57. But Hamilton is done for the season, and Gordon is in prime position to win the stolen base title for the second straight year.
The Marlins have now gone 17-8 since Aug. 31, giving them the best record in the majors during that span.
THIS AND THAT
▪ Final home attendance at Marlins Park this season was 1,752,235, a slight increase over last year’s figure of 1,732,283. Average attendance for the 81 games was 21,632.
▪ Gordon’s throwing error Saturday snapped a 67-game errorless stretch, two games shy Luis Castillo’s team record for a second baseman.W ith a .993 fielding percentage, best among all second basemen, Gordon remains a top contender for the Gold Glove Award.
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▪ Monday: Off
▪ Tuesday: Marlins LHP Adam Conley (4-1, 3.93 ERA) at Tampa Bay Rays LHP Matt Moore (2-4, 6.48), 7:10 p.m., Tropicana Field.