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  Tuesday, Sep. 12 7:40pm ET
Sanchez improves to 4-1 against Braves

ATLANTA (AP) -- The Atlanta Braves' NL East lead is dwindling again.

Kevin Millwood was chased in the seventh inning and the Florida Marlins survived a rough ninth to beat the Braves 5-4 Tuesday night, cutting Atlanta's NL East lead to two games over second-place New York.

"You don't have to make a perfect start every time you go out," Millwood said. "I just didn't make the pitches when I needed to."

Atlanta, which has lost three straight, trailed 5-2 before Reggie Sanders' RBI single in the eighth chased Jesus Sanchez (9-10), who improved to 4-1 against the Braves.

"Sanchez was terrific," Florida manager John Boles said. "He's a ground-ball pitcher. Everything was down."

Antonio Alfonseca walked pinch-hitter Bobby Bonilla leading off the ninth, then gave up consecutive singles to Rafael Furcal and Andruw Jones as Atlanta closed within a run.

With runners at first and third and no outs, Chipper Jones grounded to shortstop Alex Gonzalez, who threw out Furcal at the plate. Brian Jordan then reached on a infield single, a slow roller to third, loading the bases for Andres Galarraga.

Alfonseca got Galarraga to ground into a 6-4-3 double play for his major league-leading 40th save in 44 chances.

"That's the kind of luck we're having right now," Galarraga said. "We have trouble when we get someone on base."

Millwood (9-11) allowed all five runs and 10 hits in 6 1/3 innings and hasn't won consecutive starts since beating the Marlins on July 26 and Arizona on Aug. 1. In his previous start, he beat Arizona 7-1 on Sept. 6.

"I made the pitches I needed to then," he said. "Tonight I didn't."

Sanchez gave up three runs -- one earned -- and nine hits in 7 2/3 innings, winning for the first time in five starts since beating Los Angeles on Aug. 14. He had a 12.89 ERA and 0-2 record in his previous four starts.

"When you beat the best team in the league, you feel good," Sanchez said. "I was trying to throw hard and get good location."

Florida took a 2-0 lead in the second on Preston Wilson's 26th homer and Sanchez's RBI single, then added a run in the fifth on Cliff Floyd's RBI single.

Atlanta took advantage of three errors, by third baseman Mike Lowell, catcher Ramon Castro and right fielder Mark Kotsay, to close to 3-2 in the fifth.

Lowell misplayed a grounder, putting runners on first and third, and Castro threw Millwood's sacrifice into right field, where Kotsay picked up the ball and threw it wildly toward the Marlins' dugout.

Florida took a 5-2 lead in the sixth on Floyd's run-scoring double, which chased Millwood, and Wilson's RBI single off Kerry Ligtenberg. Kotsay, who scored after Floyd doubled into right-center, reached with an infield single.

"Kotsay hit a good pitch," Millwood said. "I made a bad pitch to Floyd. I missed my location."

Game notes
Millwood was 2-0 with a 2.50 ERA in four home starts against the Marlins coming in. ... Atlanta LF B.J. Surhoff, out since Thursday with a pulled right quadriceps, took light batting practice but is unlikely to return in this series. ... The Braves dropped to 15-16 against NL East opponents. They have never finished lower than 10 games over .500 against the division since NL added a third division in 1995. ... Henry Rodriguez, who flied out as a pinch hitter in the eighth, has gone 17 games without an RBI.

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(2nd game)

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