Florida at Atlanta

Scoreboard
Florida (83-74)000000000050
Atlanta (86-70) «20100001x431

Braves shut out Marlins, close gap in wild-card race

CBSSports.com wire reports
  •  

ATLANTA -- The banner in right field summed up how the Atlanta Braves feel about this final week of the season.

"Believe."

Jair Jurrjens pitched five-hit ball over seven innings, Chipper Jones homered and the Braves beat Florida 4-0 Monday night for their 15th victory in 17 games, a stretch that has lifted them into playoff contention with six games left in the regular season.

Atlanta closed within two games of idle Colorado in the NL wild-card race and moved to four behind first-place Philadelphia in the NL East. The Phillies lost 8-2 at home to Houston.

 Playoff Race

"We've got a chance to do it," said manager Bobby Cox, whose team hasn't made the playoffs since the last of its record 14 consecutive division titles in 2005. "You can't get away from it. We're watching the scoreboard every inning. But really, you can only worry about your own team."

The Braves haven't caused Cox any worries lately. They won their seventh straight, matching a season high set at the start of this run, behind another dominant performance by Jurrjens (14-10). The right-hander won his fourth in a row and has gone at least seven innings in seven straight starts, allowing only eight earned runs in 50 2/3 innings (a 1.42 ERA) during that stretch.

Peter Moylan and Rafael Soriano finished off the five-hitter with one inning apiece for Atlanta's 10th shutout of the season.

"You've got to feel somewhat confident," said Moylan, who set a team record with his 85th appearance of the season. "We've still got a long ways to go, six games to go. Anything can happen."

Moylan joined the Braves after their last playoff appearance and missed most of last season recovering from elbow surgery. The Aussie has definitely noticed a different feeling in the clubhouse and during the games as he takes part in his first playoff race.

"I've never had this much nervous adrenaline pumping from the first inning through the sixth inning," he said. "It's crazy. I guess that's why we play this game. No feeling can top it."

Florida's third loss in four games all but finished off the Marlins, who dropped 5½ games behind the Rockies and can do no better than tie for the wild card. One more Florida loss or Colorado win would eliminate the Marlins.

The Braves managed three hits but took advantage of 11 walks by the Marlins -- including a career-worst eight by starter Anibal Sanchez (3-8).

"I never walked that many, ever," he said. "I don't know what happened."

Sanchez walked the first three Atlanta hitters, throwing only two strikes, and wound up trailing 2-0 without giving up a hit. Brian McCann drove in a run with a bases-loaded grounder to first, and Garret Anderson followed with a sacrifice fly.

"The way Jurrjens was pitching, and three walks, we had no chance to win," catcher John Baker said.

Florida had its bullpen throwing only 15 pitches into the game, though Sanchez managed to hang around for five innings. He allowed only two hits, one of them a towering shot by Jones in the third that struck the right-field foul pole about halfway up, his 18th home run of the season but only his second since Aug. 29.

Jones will need two more over the final week of a disappointing year to become the first player in baseball history to hit at least 20 home runs in each of his first 15 seasons. Jones and Eddie Mathews are the only two to start their careers with 14 consecutive 20-homer seasons.

"I guess it's a pretty good time to be rounding into form, 156 games in," Jones said sarcastically. "I would be a lot more upset if I weren't contributing at this time of year. Especially with the team doing what it's doing."

Florida got its first two runners aboard in both the sixth and the seventh. Jurrjens pitched out of trouble each time before turning it over to the bullpen.

The Marlins started the sixth with Chris Coghlan's single and a walk to Cameron Maybin. But Hanley Ramirez struck out, failing to check his swing on a low pitch, and Jurrjens retired the next two hitters.

Florida had an even better scoring chance in the seventh when Dan Uggla led off with a double and moved to third on Baker's single. Jurrjens toughened up again, retiring Brett Carroll on a fly to right that wasn't deep enough to score the run, striking out pinch-hitter Jeremy Hermida and getting Coghlan on a forceout at second.

Even though plenty was at stake, an announced crowd of 25,046 that looked closer to 15,000 turned out at Turner Field on a night with a hint of fall in the air.

"Hopefully," Cox said, "we will have more of them out here tomorrow and on the weekend."

Notes

  • Jones' home run was his 426th, tying Billy Williams for 40th on the career list. Next up is Mike Piazza at 427.
  • Sanchez's previous career high for walks was six.
  • Nate McLouth drew a bases-loaded walk from Kiko Calero in the eighth to bring home Atlanta's final run.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Braves pitcher Jair Jurrjens throws seven shutout innings and earns his 14th win of the season.  (AP)
Braves pitcher Jair Jurrjens throws seven shutout innings and earns his 14th win of the season. (AP)

Players of the Game
Atlanta

J. Jurrjens
IP 7.0
H 5
ER 0
BB 1
K 3
Atlanta

C. Jones
AB 2
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 1
 

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Florida Marlins
Chris Coghlan, LF4020002 .315
Cameron Maybin, CF2000110 .229
Hanley Ramirez, SS3000113 .346
Jorge Cantu, 3B4000013 .286
Ross Gload, 1B4000002 .266
Dan Uggla, 2B4010011 .239
John Baker, C4020000 .270
Brett Carroll, RF3000002 .264
Anibal Sanchez, P2000002 .000
    Renyel Pinto, P0000000 .000
   a- Jeremy Hermida, PH1000012 .259
    Dan Meyer, P0000000 .000
    Kiko Calero, P0000000 .000
Totals3105025  
a-struck out for Pinto in the 7th
Batting
2B - Dan Uggla (25, Jurrjens)
SH - Cameron Maybin (3)
Team LOB - 7
Florida Marlins
Anibal Sanchez (L,3-8) 5233841 4.10
Renyel Pinto 1000020 3.41
Dan Meyer 1111010 3.02
Kiko Calero 1000300 1.86
IBB - LaRoche by Kiko Calero
Pitches-Strikes - Anibal Sanchez 91-42, Renyel Pinto 11-7, Dan Meyer 16-12, Kiko Calero 21-7
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Anibal Sanchez 5-6, Renyel Pinto 1-0, Dan Meyer 1-1, Kiko Calero 1-2
Batters Faced - Anibal Sanchez 25, Renyel Pinto 3, Dan Meyer 4, Kiko Calero 6
Atlanta Braves
Nate McLouth, CF2101300 .261
Martin Prado, 2B4100106 .303
Chipper Jones, 3B2111210 .273
Brian McCann, C2001200 .284
Garret Anderson, LF3011002 .271
    Reid Gorecki, PR-LF0100000 .208
Yunel Escobar, SS2000113 .300
Adam LaRoche, 1B3010102 .284
Matt Diaz, RF3000132 .315
Jair Jurrjens, P2000020 .125
    Peter Moylan, P0000000 .000
   a- Omar Infante, PH1000003 .293
    Rafael Soriano, P0000000 .000
Totals24434117  
a-fouled out for Moylan in the 8th
Batting
HR - Chipper Jones (18, Sanchez)
SF - Garret Anderson (8)
SH - Yunel Escobar (6), Jair Jurrjens (7)
RBI - Nate McLouth (68), Chipper Jones (70), Brian McCann (92), Garret Anderson (60)
2-OUT RBI - Nate McLouth (23), Chipper Jones (23)
SB - Nate McLouth (19, 2nd base off Sanchez/Baker)
Team LOB - 10
Fielding
DP - Escobar-Prado-LaRoche
E - Yunel Escobar (13, Misplayed grounder)
Atlanta Braves
Jair Jurrjens (W,14-10) 7500130 2.61
Peter Moylan (H,25) 1000110 2.66
Rafael Soriano 1000010 2.97
Pitches-Strikes - Jair Jurrjens 92-55, Peter Moylan 14-7, Rafael Soriano 11-7
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jair Jurrjens 10-9, Peter Moylan 1-0
Batters Faced - Jair Jurrjens 28, Peter Moylan 3, Rafael Soriano 3
Game Information
Attendance - 25046
Game Time - 2:37
Temperature - 77
Umpires - Home - Joe West, First Base - Ed Rapuano, Second Base - Paul Schrieber, Third Base - Paul Nauert