ATLANTA (AP) — Freddie Freeman isn't sure why Miami's pitching staff has been so hard for him to handle this year.
"It's just one of those things," he said. "I can't explain it, you guys can't explain it, nobody can explain it, but I was able to get a hit tonight."
Freeman hit a three-run homer, Ervin Santana won his second straight start and the Atlanta Braves beat the Miami Marlins 6-1 on Wednesday night.
The victory pulled Atlanta within one game of first-place Washington in the NL East.
Fourth-place Miami snapped a three-game winning streak to stay 8½ games back.
Freeman, an All-Star first baseman, broke out of a slump in the season series against the Marlins, ending a 2 for 44 stretch by hitting his 14th homer as the Braves took a 5-0 lead in the four-run second inning.
His opposite-field homer landed in the seats in left-center, just how Freeman envisioned it during batting practice.
"I was able to carry it over into the game, and it was a nice feeling," Freeman said. "Hopefully I can keep going with that."
Santana (9-6) won for third time in four starts, giving up six hits and one run with three walks and 10 strikeouts in 7 1-3 innings.
He credited good command of his slider with setting an early tone.
"It was very good," Santana said. "I could throw it in any count for strikes. I was very comfortable in throwing that pitch today."
Santana registered double-digit strikeouts for the second time this year and the 13th time in his 10-year career when pinch-hitter Jordany Valdespin whiffed to begin the eighth.
But Santana walked Christian Yelich and gave up a single to Donovan Solano, leading manager Fredi Gonzalez to bring in Jordan Walden, who struck out Giancarlo Stanton and Casey McGehee to end the threat.
Nathan Eovaldi (5-6) failed to win for his fifth straight start after allowing six hits, five runs and two walks in seven innings. He struck out two.