The Atlanta Braves have climbed to the top of the NL East behind an impressive display at the plate.
While their results last month left much to be desired, the Miami Marlins appear to have found their groove in May.With both teams surging, the Braves look to resume their recent success against the visiting Marlins as these division rivals meet for the first time this season in the opener of a two-game set Wednesday night.The Braves (23-14) moved a half game ahead of second-place Washington with Tuesday's 6-2 victory over Cincinnati, their eighth in 11 games. Second in the NL with 196 runs scored, Atlanta is hitting .288 during its run after batting .261 in its first 26 games."We're a good offense," said Brian McCann, who went 2 for 3 with his team best-tying sixth homer. "Everybody battles every at-bat. Tonight was no different."The Braves' success shouldn't come as much of a surprise to Miami (19-17), which has been outscored 81-50 in dropping 15 of 21 in this series dating to September 2010.The Marlins, though, also enter this game on a bit of a roll. Since losing 14 of 22 in April, Miami has gone 11-3 thanks in large part to its starting rotation. Marlins starters are 6-2 with a 2.55 ERA so far this month."Every one of us can go out there and throw a complete game. It's fun to watch, and fun to be a part of," said Josh Johnson, who earned his first win of the season with seven strong innings in Tuesday's 6-2 victory over Pittsburgh.It's safe to say Mark Buehrle (2-4, 2.81 ERA) has been a welcome addition to Miami's rotation, recording quality starts in all but one of his seven outings.Six days after going the distance in a 4-1 win at San Diego, the left-hander gave up two runs and eight hits in 6 2/3 innings of Friday's 6-5, walk-off win over the New York Mets."Buehrle threw the ball very well," manager Ozzie Guillen told MLB.com.Buehrle won both his career starts against the Braves while with the Chicago White Sox. He most recently surrendered a pair of runs and nine hits over six innings of a 4-2 victory June 23, 2010.He'll be opposed by Mike Minor (2-2, 6.59), who since going 2-0 with a 1.69 ERA over a three-start stretch April 14-24 has been shelled in each of his last three outings. The left-hander has surrendered 21 runs -- all earned -- and seven homers over his last 16 innings, during which opponents are batting .377 against him.Minor yielded six runs, eight hits and was taken deep a career worst-tying three times in Friday's 9-7, 12-inning victory at St. Louis.Minor has compiled an ugly 6.46 ERA over three starts against the Marlins thanks in part to allowing four homers -- two of which have come off the bat of Giancarlo Stanton.Leading Atlanta with 28 RBIs, first baseman Freddie Freeman is expected to return to the lineup after sitting out Tuesday with a scratch on his right eye. Freeman is 2 for 28 (.071) in his last eight games against Miami.Braves second baseman Dan Uggla, who spent the first five years of his career with the Marlins, hit four homers and drove in 10 runs in nine home games against his former team last season.