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Marlins slowly fading from race

Chipper Jones hit a three-run homer and the Braves reduced their magic number for clinching the East to eight by defeating the Marlins 8-1. Florida outhit Atlanta 13-11 but stranded 10 runners, grounded into three double plays and had a runner thrown out at the plate.

The second-place Marlins fell 8{ games behind the Braves, who moved closer to their 13th consecutive division title. Florida is four games behind the wild-card lead.

Paul Byrd, starting on three days' rest for the first time this season, allowed nine hits but just one run in five innings. He threw 67 pitches _ all but 11 for strikes _ and pitched around two errors.

Logan Kensing, called up last week after spending the season in Class A, allowed four runs in four innings. Kensing started for A.J. Burnett, who has won four consecutive starts but might miss the rest of the season because of elbow inflammation.

J.D. Drew hit his 31st homer for the Braves, and Adam LaRoche had three hits and two RBIs. Luis Castillo went 4-for-4 for the Marlins and scored their run.

With his three RBIs, Jones is just 12 away from reaching 100 for the ninth straight season. Sammy Sosa is the only other NL player to accomplish the feat. Jones had just 34 RBIs at the All-Star break.

Kensing held the Braves hitless until the fourth, when they scored four times. Marcus Giles led off with a single and stole second. Drew walked, and Jones hit his 29th home run to put Atlanta ahead 3-1. Two singles and a walk loaded the bases with one out, and another run scored when the Marlins failed to turn a double play on a grounder by Byrd, who barely beat the throw to first.

Atlanta added three runs in the fifth against Ben Howard, who failed to retire any of the five batters he faced and drew boos from the crowd of 26,084. Johnny Estrada's bases-loaded single drove in one run, and LaRoche followed with a two-run single.

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