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MLB: Marlins sweep struggling Mets

Associated Press
NEW YORK ó Nick Johnson had a pair of two-run singles Thursday and Florida beat the New York Mets 13-4 to gain ground on the NL East-leading Phillies.Hanley Ramirez and Cody Ross each had three hits and two RBIs for the Marlins, who completed their first sweep of the Mets since taking four straight Aug. 30-Sept. 2, 2004, in New York. Uggla hit his 27th homer in the third inning.
The Mets (62-78) fell 16 games under .500 for the first time since finishing 71-91 in 2004.
New York starter Bobby Parnell walked consecutive batters with the bases loaded following a first-inning error by shortstop Anderson Hernandez, and Angel Pagan forgot how many outs there were while running the bases. Luis Castillo had another adventure at second base, and New York pitchers didn’t have a 1-2-3 inning until the ninth.
The Mets held a 30-minute meeting following batting practice then fell behind quickly. Florida led 3-0 by the time the 19-minute, 40-pitch first inning was over.
“Every time I have a meeting we seem to play that way, so I guess we won’t have anymore meetings,” manager Jerry Manuel said.
Chris Coghlan hustled for a leadoff double when left fielder Nick Evans and Pagan, the center fielder, were slow to get to his soft liner in the gap. Parnell (3-8) walked Johnson and Ramirez reached on Hernandez’s error to load the bases. Parnell then walked two batters for a 2-0 lead.
The Mets lead the majors with 19 bases-loaded walks ó including three by Parnell.
“I haven’t been as consistent as I wanted to be,” said Parnell, who walked five batters, struck out six and allowed six runs (five earned) on seven hits in five innings. “To come out in the first inning and not throw strikes is aggravating.”
Ross added an RBI single for a 3-0 lead on a fly to shallow center that appeared to be catchable. He also had an RBI double in the fifth.
Pagan turned a routine flyout into an inning-ending double play in the seventh. Castillo spun around aimlessly looking for a ball at his feet after diving for Uggla’s grounder, aiding a three-run eighth.
Braves 9, Astros 7
HOUSTON ó Garret Anderson had three RBIs and Nate McLouth homered for the Braves, who chased Roy Oswalt after two innings and finished with 16 hits, two shy of their season high. Brian McCann had four hits and two RBIs. Houston put two runners on with one out in the ninth against Mike Gonzalez, but Miguel Tejada grounded into his third double play.
Rockies 5, Reds 1
DENVER ó Jason Giambi had a two-run double and Garrett Atkins hit a two-run homer in a five-run third inning, sending Colorado to its seventh straight win.The wild-card leaders increased their cushion to 41/2 games over San Francisco and crept within two games of first-place Los Angeles.

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