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Washington (66-89)000000000061

Braves get back on track, give Cox milestone win

CBSSports.com wire reports
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WASHINGTON --Bobby Cox enjoyed a little champagne and a cigar after earning his 2,500th victory as a major league manager.

And it turns out it was all a big surprise to him.

"I had no clue during the game," Cox said.

Atlanta's longtime skipper earned a landmark victory at an opportune time Saturday, getting five effective innings from Derek Lowe and a three-run homer from Alex Gonzalez in the Braves' crucial 5-0 victory over the Washington Nationals.

More on Braves

The Braves snapped a four-game losing streak that put them a half-game behind San Diego in the NL wild-card race. San Diego hosts Cincinnati later Saturday.

"We could breathe a little bit. We haven't been breathing much, trying to catch people," Cox said. "It was a good win today, maybe get the team rolling, get a little momentum going."

The 69-year-old Cox, set to retire at the end of the season, became the fourth major league manager to reach 2,500 wins. He is seeking his 16th postseason appearance.

Cox was walking out of the dugout to congratulate his team after the big win and was about to throw away the lineup cards when pitching coach Roger McDowell stopped him.

"I never thought I'd live that long," Cox laughed.

Lowe (15-12) allowed five hits, walked one and struck out four, improving to 4-0 with a 1.08 ERA in his last four starts. The right-hander has 13 scoreless innings in two games against the Nationals during his winning streak.

"I felt in control of the game, but the pitch count was outrageous," said Lowe, who finished with 103 pitches. "For some reason, I wasn't able to get quick outs or easy innings."

Lowe wiggled out of a jam in his final inning after his defense put him in a tough spot. With two out, Ian Desmond grounded to Derrek Lee at first, but the ball squirted under his glove. Adam Dunn flied to center, and Nate McLouth dropped the ball for an other error. But Lowe got Michael Morse to bounce out to end the inning.

The Braves scored four times in the sixth to take a 5-0 lead. They had just seven runs during their losing streak.

Lee doubled in Martin Prado with one out and McLouth followed with an infield single. Gonzalez then hit a drive to left for his 23rd homer.

Yunesky Maya (0-3) allowed five runs, four earned, and eight hits in 5 1/3 innings. The Cuban defector struck out one and walked three in his fourth major league start.

"Just that one inning that kind of went away," Maya said through a translator.

The Nationals had won a season-high four straight.

On Saturday morning, Cox relaxed in the visitors' dugout, talking about the last night he might spend on a major league road trip. He was going to dinner with a friend, and admitted he was a little embarrassed by all the attention his retirement has attracted.

"We would like nothing more than to put him back in the playoff atmosphere and in the games that matter," Braves catcher Brian McCann said. "We're striving to do that right now."

Peter Moylan, Jonny Venters, Craig Kimbrel and Billy Wagner each pitched a scoreless inning for Atlanta, completing a six-hitter.

Notes

  • Nationals 3B Ryan Zimmerman missed his third game with a rib injury. Manager Jim Riggleman said he doubted Zimmerman would play on Sunday and could miss the rest of the season. "It could be fine tomorrow or it could be two weeks," Riggleman said. Riggleman said that he wouldn't rest Zimmerman to preserve his .307 batting average. No Washington-based player has hit over .300 since Buddy Lewis hit .317 in 1940 for the Senators.
  • Nationals CF Nyjer Morgan played his first game since returning from an eight-game suspension. He went 1 for 5.
  • Cox hasn't decided on his starters for next week's series against Florida, and is considering starting some of them on three days' rest.
  • The Nationals will honor Cox before Sunday afternoon's game.
 
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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Bobby Cox acknowledges the fans after his team shut out the Nationals to give Cox his 2,500 career victory.  (AP)
Bobby Cox acknowledges the fans after his team shut out the Nationals to give Cox his 2,500 career victory. (AP)

Players of the Game
Atlanta

A. Gonzalez
AB 3
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 3
Atlanta

D. Lowe
IP 5.0
H 5
ER 0
BB 1
K 4
 

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Atlanta Braves
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Omar Infante, 2B4000102 .329
Jason Heyward, RF5010032 .281
Martin Prado, 3B4110113 .306
Brian McCann, C4010002 .274
    David Ross, C0000100 .274
Derrek Lee, 1B2111200 .258
    Freddie Freeman, PR-1B1000012 .118
Nate McLouth, CF3120100 .188
Alex Gonzalez, SS3113112 .260
Melky Cabrera, LF4010014 .255
Derek Lowe, P1110000 .157
   a- Eric Hinske, PH1000000 .254
    Peter Moylan, P0000000 .000
    Jonny Venters, P0000000 .000
   b- Brooks Conrad, PH1000012 .235
    Craig Kimbrel, P0000000 .000
    Billy Wagner, P0000000 .000
Totals3359478  
a-grounded out for Lowe in the 6th
b-struck out for Venters in the 8th
Batting
2B - Derrek Lee (30, Maya), Derek Lowe (4, Maya)
HR - Alex Gonzalez (23, Maya)
SH - Derek Lowe (10)
RBI - Derrek Lee (74), Alex Gonzalez 3 (88)
Team LOB - 9
Fielding
DP - Prado-Infante-Lee
E - Derrek Lee (7, Misplayed grounder), Nate McLouth (2, Dropped line drive)
Atlanta Braves
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Derek Lowe (W,15-12) 5500140 4.07
Peter Moylan 1000110 2.95
Jonny Venters 1000220 1.81
Craig Kimbrel 1000110 0.53
Billy Wagner 1100010 1.38
WP - Craig Kimbrel (3)
Pitches-Strikes - Derek Lowe 103-64, Peter Moylan 15-9, Jonny Venters 27-15, Craig Kimbrel 16-9, Billy Wagner 12-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Derek Lowe 9-4, Peter Moylan 1-0, Jonny Venters 1-0, Billy Wagner 1-1
Batters Faced - Derek Lowe 23, Peter Moylan 3, Jonny Venters 5, Craig Kimbrel 4, Billy Wagner 4
Washington Nationals
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Nyjer Morgan, CF5010012 .258
Roger Bernadina, LF4010012 .256
    Joe Bisenius, P0000000 .000
    Collin Balester, P0000000 .000
   a- Kevin Mench, PH1000001 .130
Ian Desmond, SS4000123 .278
Adam Dunn, 1B3000113 .265
Michael Morse, RF3000114 .296
Adam Kennedy, 2B3000101 .251
Wilson Ramos, C4010002 .273
Alberto Gonzalez, 3B4020021 .269
Yunesky Maya, P2000013 .167
    Craig Stammen, P0000000 .237
   b- Justin Maxwell, PH-LF1010100 .147
Totals3406059  
a-grounded out for Balester in the 9th
b-walked for Stammen in the 7th
Batting
2B - Nyjer Morgan (16, Lowe), Justin Maxwell (5, Wagner)
Team LOB - 12
Fielding
DP - Kennedy-Dunn
E - Alberto Gonzalez (5, Throwing)
Washington Nationals
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Yunesky Maya (L,0-3) 5.1854311 6.43
Craig Stammen 1.2100010 5.15
Joe Bisenius 1000230 2.25
Collin Balester 1000230 2.12
WP - Yunesky Maya (1)
Pitches-Strikes - Yunesky Maya 92-62, Craig Stammen 24-15, Joe Bisenius 22-10, Collin Balester 22-11
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Yunesky Maya 3-10, Craig Stammen 2-2
Batters Faced - Yunesky Maya 25, Craig Stammen 6, Joe Bisenius 5, Collin Balester 5
Game Information
Attendance - 23824
Game Time - 3:04
Temperature - 88
Umpires - Home - Mike Everitt, First Base - Adrian Johnson, Second Base - Andy Fletcher, Third Base - Tim McClelland