ATLANTA -- Chipper Jones celebrated his 36th birthday in a big way on Thursday, going 3-for-3 with a walk and his seventh homer of the season, as the Atlanta Braves handed the Florida Marlins a 7-4 defeat at Turner Field.
The Braves made the most of their scoring opportunities this time around against the Marlins, having mustered just two runs on 12 hits on Wednesday. The five-run first innng would provide starter Chuck James with a sizable early lead.
Burke Badenhop retired the game's first batter Kelly Johnson, before the next six Atlanta hitters reached base safely. Mark Teixeira provided an RBI-single to tie the game at 1-1. The Braves did not stop there, as Jeff Francoeur and Matt Diaz each drove home two more in the frame. Francouer's doubel and Diaz's single opened up a 5-1 Atlanta advantage after one.
James (2-1) gave the Braves five innings and allowed four runs on five hits and five walks while striking out three. Josh Willingham accounted for all of the Florida scoring against James, homering in the fifth and driving in all four Marlins runs.
Atlanta struck for another run in the eighth in the most unlikely of ways. Brian McCann stroked the first triple of his career. McCann's deep drive was just over the head of right fielder Jeremy Hermida and rattled around in right center. The play was topped off by a big head first slide into the third base bag by McCann. Francoeur followed with a sacrifice fly to make it 7-4 Braves.
Jones is now hitting a robust .442 on the season after his three-hit performance and leads the Major Leagues. His seven homers tie him for the third best total in the National League.
Manny Acosta came on in the eigth and pitched held the Marlins scoreless over the final two innings to pick up his second save of the season.
On Deck: The Braves hit the road to begin a three game weekend series with the New York Mets. Jair Jurrjens will battle Mike Pelfrey in the opener on Friday. Game time is set for 7:10 PM EST.