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Defensive lapse costly as Marlins lose to Braves 4-2 to complete 3-game series sweep

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MIAMI - Another defensive lapse and another loss to the Atlanta Braves left Miami Marlins manager Mike Redmond mulling over a possible lineup change.

The Marlins allowed the tying run to score when second baseman Derek Dietrich failed to turn a double play, and Atlanta went on to win 4-2 Sunday to complete a three-game sweep.

"Our defence has been sloppy at times," Redmond said. "If it comes to playing guys who can play defence and pick up the ball and throw it, then that's what we'll have to do."

The most likely candidate for a benching would be Dietrich, who has eight errors. But defence is a team-wide issue, with the Marlins ranking third-worst in the majors in fielding.

Dietrich's poor throw cost Nathan Eovaldi an early lead, and Atlanta's Evan Gattis broke a ninth-inning tie with a two-run homer.

The Braves pulled off the sweep after losing four consecutive games to Boston, and after being swept by the Marlins during a three-game visit to Miami a month ago.

"They're a good ballclub, and it's good to get three wins," Gattis said.

Making the sweep even more impressive is the Marlins' 20-11 record at Marlins Park. They lead the majors in home victories and made a bid for a ninth-inning comeback Sunday.

Shae Simmons, pitching in his second big league game, earned his first career save when he retired Christian Yelich with two on for the final out. Closer Craig Kimbrel was given the day off because of a heavy recent workload.

"I got through it," Simmons said. "I'm not going to say it wasn't a little intimidating."

The series began with the Marlins and Braves tied atop the NL East. Now Miami's three games back.

"This was a good test," Redmond said. "Believe me, there's a sour taste in all of our mouths."

With the score 2-all, Freddie Freeman started the ninth with a single, only his second hit in 36 at-bats this year against Miami. Gattis then hit a 2-0 pitch into the sculpture in distant left-centre field for his 11th homer, and the first this year allowed by Marlins closer Steve Cishek (4-2).

"That's a big home run there, in this ballpark off that reliever," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "That doesn't happen very often. The matchup there didn't favour us."

But Marlins Park seems to bring out the best in the Braves, their visit a month ago notwithstanding. Atlanta is 18-7 in the ballpark since it opened in 2012.

Gattis is batting .333 with six homers and 20 RBIs in 18 games at Marlins Park. He's a fan of the stadium and even the colorful sculpture, which has its share of detractors.

"The sculpture? I like it," Gattis said. "I like this park. It has been good to me."

Marcell Ozuna hit a two-run homer, his 10th. Those were the only runs allowed by Aaron Harang in 6 2-3 innings, but he remained winless in his past four starts for Atlanta.

Alex Wood (5-5) pitched 1 1-3 perfect innings.

Eovaldi gave up two runs while pitching a season-high eight innings. He allowed an RBI single by Jason Heyward in the third, and then the tying run scored when Dietrich failed to turn a double play that would have ended the inning.

"It was a tough series," Redmond said. "We didn't play our best, we didn't play great defence, we didn't run the bases well. We need to play better, but we know we can play with these guys. Every guy in that clubhouse believes that, but we have some work to do."

NOTES: After the game, the Marlins optioned RHP Arquimedes Caminero to Triple-A New Orleans. ... Ozuna made a sliding catch in centre field to rob Chris Johnson of a hit in the seventh. ... Freeman fell to 3 for 24 lifetime against Eovaldi. ... The Marlins open a two-game series at home Monday against Tampa Bay, with Randy Wolf (0-1, 4.50) scheduled to pitch against Alex Cobb (1-2, 2.93).

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