Marcus Giles' one-out single capped the remarkable five-run 10th as the Atlanta Braves stole the finale of the three-game series. Atlanta raised its record to 8-3 in extra-inning games and won back-to-back one-run games for the first time since winning three straight in Chicago from May 26-28.
The inning was a series of misplays that began with one out. Catcher Brian McCann lofted a fly ball to deep left. But Marlins left fielder Josh Willingham, battling the sun, couldn't make the play. McCann had a double, and the Braves had some life.
After Jeff Francoeur ripped a single for his third hit of the game, Matt Diaz hit a two-run double to left. Willy Aybar followed with a bloop single to short right-center. Florida center fielder Reggie Abercrombie got a late break and couldn't come up with the catch.
"On Aybar's ball, they were playing so deep," said Cox. "I don't know exactly what happened on that one; except the sun is right in the outfielder's eyes -- he couldn't see it."
The Marlins appeared to be out of the woods when pinch-hitter Brayan Pena hit a sharp grounder to second baseman Dan Uggla. But shortstop Hanley Ramirez, who was a hero in the top of the 10th by hitting a two-run double that broke a 3-3 tie, dropped Uggla's throw on a what could have turned into a game-ending double play.
With runners at first and second, up stepped Giles, who already had five hits in the series.
"You just don't want to be the guy that stops the rally," said Giles. "You're just trying to get the tying run in. Fortunately for us, both happened to come in."
Giles' single was overrun by Willingham, allowing Pena to score all the way from first base for the winning run.
Kevin Barry (1-1), who recorded the final out of what had been a disastrous top of the 10th, was rewarded with his first Major League victory, while Joe Borowski (3-3) took the loss.
The Braves finished their 10-game homestand at 6-4. The Marlins have now lost four of five and were dealt a severe blow to their National League Wild Card hopes.
A two-out, two-run double by Ramirez followed by a two-run homer by Uggla, both off Chad Paronto, had given Florida a 7-3 lead entering the bottom of the 10th.
Paronto, who had allowed only one run and five hits in his previous nine appearances hurt himself by issuing a two-out walk to pinch-hitter Jason Wood, who has now reached base three times in four trips to the plate as a pinch-hitter and has scored all three times.
Ramirez gave Florida a 5-3 lead, ripping a 2-1 pitch into the left-field corner. When Uggla smacked a 2-2 offering into the seats in left, things looked bleak for Atlanta, especially with Borowski, who has a career-high 34 saves in 41 tries, in to finish it.
"You never want to think 'Game over,' but you have to be a little realistic," said Giles. "It's going to be a tough comeback, and it was a tough comeback. It just shows the character on this team, that we never give up."
Neither starting pitcher gave up a lot, as both Tim Hudson for Atlanta and Ricky Nolasco for Florida pitched brilliantly.
Hudson, who was coming back on short rest after a poor start against Philadelphia in which he allowed five earned runs and nine hits in five innings, found the Marlins to be the perfect tonic. He allowed only one run and three hits over seven innings, striking out five and lowering his career ERA against Florida to 2.00. He retired the final 11 Marlins and faced only two hitters over the minimum.
"I had good action on my sinker," said Hudson, who abandoned his splitter because of a split fingernail on the middle finger of his pitching hand but still recorded 15 outs via the groundout or strikeout. "[Pitching coach Roger McDowell] and I have been trying to stay taller over the rubber and get my arm up a little bit and get a better angle, better tilt on my pitches. It really helped my sinker and helped out my slider and my cutter today. It was an encouraging outing for me."
The only run Hudson allowed came in the third, when Miguel Olivo doubled, was sacrificed to third by Nolasco and scored on Ramirez's pop behind first base, as Olivo slid in around McCann's tag, beating Giles' throw to the plate.
Nolasco allowed one run over six innings and lowered his career ERA against Atlanta to 1.83. He allowed only three hits, with two of them by Francoeur.
The right fielder gave the Braves a short-lived 1-0 lead in the second inning when he jumped on a 1-0 pitch and sent it into the left-field stands.
While Francoeur brought the crowd to its feet with the homer, he also silenced it in the sixth, when he tumbled over the restraining wall down the right-field line after making a long run and catch of a foul ball hit by Nolasco.
"I knew I'd be coming up on the wall there," he said. "But it's one of those that you're paying more attention to the ball, and when you come that far, you might as well catch it."
In the seventh inning came the relievers, and with them came the runs.
Edgar Renteria's liner to shallow center off reliever Matt Herges, which just eluded the diving attempt of Marlins starting center fielder Alfredo Amezaga, scored two and gave Atlanta a 3-1 lead. The hit extended Renteria's hitting streak to seven games.
In the top of the eighth, Olivo blasted a two-run homer off Tyler Yates to tie the game. It was his first home run since Aug. 19, which also came at the expense of Atlanta.
The runs were the first Yates had allowed since Aug. 30, a string of 10 appearances and 9 1/3 innings.