Series: Game 1 of 4

Atlanta leads 1-0 (as of 6/28)

Game 1: Monday, June 28
Game 2: Tuesday, June 29
Game 3: Wednesday, June 30
Game 4: Thursday, July 1

Marlins 1

(40-36, 20-19 away)

Braves 6

(36-39, 18-17 home)

    7:35 PM ET, June 28, 2004

    Turner Field, Atlanta, Georgia 

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    ATL 01310001 - 6 11 0

    W: J. Thomson (6-6)

    L: B. Penny (7-6)

    Rain delay leaves 5,000 in stands

    ATLANTA (AP) -- John Thomson sat in the bullpen and watched the rain fall, itching for a chance to end a personal losing streak.

    Finally -- nearly 3½ hours later -- it came.

    Thomson won for the first time in nearly a month and J.D. Drew homered to help the Atlanta Braves beat the Florida Marlins 6-1 on Monday night in a game that started shortly before 11 p.m.

    "It caught me off guard that I got loose real quickly after the rain delay," he said. "I actually felt really good when I picked up the ball again."

    Only about 5,000 fans were left to watch the Braves beat the Marlins for the fourth straight time at Turner Field in a game that ended at 1:24 a.m.

    "Baseball players are night owls anyway," Drew said. "I don't think I go to bed until around 2 o'clock, so this is right about my bedtime."

    The inclement weather also wasn't a factor Thomson (6-6), who allowed only three hits in six innings to bounce back from four straight bad starts. He stayed in the bullpen for most of the delay, leaving only to grab a quick sandwich in the clubhouse.

    After beating Philadelphia on June 3, Thomson went 0-4 with a 9.72 ERA during his next four outings. He gave up five runs on five hits in only four innings in his most recent one, a 6-0 loss to the Marlins last week.

    But he retired 11 of the first 12 he faced Monday night and cruised after Atlanta gave him a 4-0 lead in the third.

    "I was able to change speeds better on them," Thomson said. "I threw my curveball more, kept it down instead of hanging it up there. I just executed my pitches, basically, better than I did five days ago."

    The Braves matched their longest winning streak of the season at three, a day after rallying from a seven-run deficit to win 8-7 over the Baltimore Orioles.

    Andruw Jones went 2-for-4 with two RBI and Nick Green added three hits for Atlanta, which moved within 3½ games of the lead in the NL East.

    "It is difficult to sit around for hours and hours and kick it back up," Atlanta manager Bobby Cox said. "I told our guys that we had to out there and really hustle."

    Florida dropped into a first-place tie with Philadelphia, which beat Montreal 14-6 earlier Monday night.

    Brad Penny (7-6) gave up five runs on nine hits in five innings, including Drew's two-run homer in the third. Jeff Conine drove in the Marlins' only run by driving home Hee Seop Choi with a fourth-inning double.

    "I guess the delay paid off for them," Florida manager Jack McKeon said. "Penny warmed up, then sat down. I don't know if that hurt him or not."

    Penny wasn't around after the game, but catcher Mike Redmond thought the delay was a factor.

    "He sat for a long time, after being fully warmed up," Redmond said. "That was a long wait."

    The rain that delayed the start began innocently enough, coming down in a light sprinkle after the national anthem. The grounds crew stayed ready near the tarp, and when the weather got worse, the field was covered.

    Once during the delay, the crew started pulling back the tarp, only to be met with the hardest rain of the night.

    "If you had been looking at the same weather radar we had been looking at, there is nothing that would lead you to believe that this wasn't passing in five or 10 minutes," Braves executive Mike Plant said. "The guys that are pros at this are as baffled as anybody. It's unfortunate."

    Game notes

    Atlanta left fielder Charles Thomas went 2-for-4 in his third start since being called up from Triple-A Richmond, and made a great sliding catch on a foul popup by Choi in the sixth. ... After Drew's homer, Penny hit Braves C Johnny Estrada in the leg with a pitch, drawing a warning from umpire Paul Nauert. Estrada left the game. ... Florida SS Alex Gonzalez went 0-for-3, dropping him to 1-for-15 on the road trip. ... Atlanta 1B Julio Franco hit his first triple of the season in the second.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press