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Florida at Atlanta

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Florida (77-81)000001000190
Atlanta (90-69) «00400001x571

Braves sweep Marlins, closer to playoff berth

CBSSports.com wire reports
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ATLANTA -- Bobby Cox wants to make sure the attention being paid to his final regular-season games as Atlanta's manager takes a back seat to the Braves' pursuit of their first playoff berth since 2005.

Cox deflected questions about his retirement after the Braves beat the Florida Marlins 5-1 on Wednesday to complete a three-game sweep behind Derek Lowe's fifth win of the month and Brooks Conrad's three-run homer.

More on Marlins at Braves

Atlanta moved two games ahead of San Diego in the NL wild-card race. The Padres hosted Chicago on Wednesday night.

The 69-year-old Cox announced his retirement plans one year ago. The Braves will honor Cox on Saturday. His focus is on the wild-card race.

"These games are so important I'm going to put that on the back burner," Cox said when asked about Saturday's ceremony.

Atlanta reached 90 wins for the 15th time in 25 years under Cox. The Braves won 14 straight division titles under Cox but have missed out on the playoffs for four straight seasons.

Atlanta closes at home against NL East champion Philadelphia with a three-game series starting Friday night.

"We win two more games, I don't care what the Padres do," Braves closer Billy Wagner said. "We win two more games, we're going to the playoffs, and that's what we've fought for."

Added Lowe: "You figured it would come down to this last series and we did what we had to do."

The Braves' focus on the playoffs was obvious to the Marlins.

"Those guys are hungry," said Florida's Chad Tracy, who had three hits. "They can taste it."

Pitching on three days' rest, Lowe (16-12) gave up one run and seven hits in 5 2/3 innings and struck out nine. He is 5-0 with a 1.17 ERA this month with 29 strikeouts and three walks in 30 2/3 innings. His 16 wins matched Tim Hudson for the team high.

"His last four starts or so have been dominating," Cox said, adding the short rest "didn't affect him at all. He was fired up."

Peter Moylan, Mike Dunn, Craig Kimbrel and Wagner combined for 3 1/3 scoreless innings.

"These games are playoff-atmosphere type games," Wagner said. "You know it. You feel it in your body. That anxiety, that nervousness, that excitement.

"You know what's on the line. Now the big thing is controlling it and getting through it and doing it."

Conrad, a 30-year-old rookie, homered in the third off Andrew Miller (1-5). Conrad made his second straight start after Martin Prado sustained a torn oblique muscle and a bruised hip Monday. Prado, an All-Star with a .307 batting average, will miss the playoffs if the Braves advance.

Conrad, usually a pinch-hitter and defensive substitute, has eight homers -- all before Wednesday were from the seventh inning on.

"The guys have been giving me a hard time about that," Conrad said.

David Ross, starting because catcher Brian McCann was rested, had three doubles and an RBI.

Miller gave up four runs, four hits and four walks in three innings as the Marlins lost their fourth straight.

"Too many walks," Miller said. "I threw far too many balls today. I have to find that consistency."

Miller has allowed four or more runs in five straight starts, going 0-5 with a 12.74 ERA in that span.

"We had to go to the bullpen [after] the third," Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez said. "That's never good."

Atlanta, bouncing back from a 4-5 trip, went ahead 4-0 in the third when Matt Diaz and Derrek Lee walked, Ross doubled to left and Conrad homered into the left-field seats.

Mike Stanton had an RBI single in the sixth.

Pinch-hitter Freddie Freeman doubled in the ninth and scored on Steven Cishek's bases-loaded walk to Eric Hinske.

Notes

  • Braves RHP Jair Jurrjens, who hasn't pitched since Sept. 14 because of an injured right knee, threw in the bullpen before the game. Jurrjens said the discomfort was "not as bad" and he may be available to pitch behind rookie RHP Brandon Beachy if needed on Friday. Jurrjens hopes to be available to start if the Braves make the playoffs. "We'll see how it rebounds tomorrow," he said.
  • Rodriguez said OF Cameron Maybin felt better Wednesday but "more than likely" will miss the rest of the season with a lower back injury sustained when he crashed into the wall Tuesday. Rodriguez said Maybin couldn't sleep Tuesday night.
  • RHP Takashi Saito (sore right shoulder) also threw in the bullpen and said he's ready to pitch.
 
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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Brooks Conrad (right), who is a 30-year-old rookie, enjoys his third-inning three-run homer with David Ross. (AP)
Brooks Conrad (right), who is a 30-year-old rookie, enjoys his third-inning three-run homer with David Ross. (AP)

Players of the Game
Atlanta

D. Ross
AB 4
R 1
H 3
HR 0
RBI 1
Florida

C. Tracy
AB 4
R 0
H 3
HR 0
RBI 0
 
Florida Marlins
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Scott Cousins, CF4020110 .324
Emilio Bonifacio, SS4010112 .279
Logan Morrison, LF4010021 .281
Dan Uggla, 2B4110011 .286
Gaby Sanchez, 1B4000003 .274
Chad Tracy, 3B4030010 .252
Mike Stanton, RF4011022 .254
Brad Davis, C4000033 .220
Andrew Miller, P1000011 .000
    Jose Ceda, P0000000 .000
   a- Hector Luna, PH1000000 .143
    Jorge Sosa, P0000000 .000
   b- Ozzie Martinez, PH1000000 .269
    Burke Badenhop, P0000000 .000
    Will Ohman, P0000000 .000
    Steve Cishek, P0000000 .000
   c- Wes Helms, PH1000010 .220
Totals36191213  
a-flied out for Ceda in the 5th
b-grounded out for Sosa in the 7th
c-struck out for Cishek in the 9th
Batting
RBI - Mike Stanton (53)
2-OUT RBI - Mike Stanton (26)
Team LOB - 10
Florida Marlins
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Andrew Miller (L,1-5) 3444421 8.54
Jose Ceda 1000220 5.19
Jorge Sosa 2100100 5.23
Burke Badenhop 1100010 4.15
Will Ohman 0.2111200 3.21
Steve Cishek 0.1000110 0.00
IBB - Cabrera by Jorge Sosa
Pitches-Strikes - Andrew Miller 77-43, Jose Ceda 22-13, Jorge Sosa 27-15, Burke Badenhop 20-12, Will Ohman 21-10, Steve Cishek 11-5
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Andrew Miller 2-5, Jorge Sosa 2-4, Burke Badenhop 2-0, Will Ohman 1-1
Batters Faced - Andrew Miller 17, Jose Ceda 5, Jorge Sosa 8, Burke Badenhop 4, Will Ohman 5, Steve Cishek 2
Atlanta Braves
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Omar Infante, 2B4000103 .323
Jason Heyward, RF3000201 .278
Matt Diaz, LF2100201 .240
    Rick Ankiel, CF0000100 .233
Derrek Lee, 1B2110212 .256
    Nate McLouth, PR0000000 .189
    Craig Kimbrel, P0000000 .000
   a- Troy Glaus, PH0000000 .238
   b- Eric Hinske, PH0001100 .259
    Billy Wagner, P0000000 .000
Alex Gonzalez, SS5000028 .253
David Ross, C4131001 .289
Brooks Conrad, 3B4113013 .241
Melky Cabrera, CF-LF3010110 .258
Derek Lowe, P2000013 .151
    Peter Moylan, P0000000 .000
    Mike Dunn, P0000000 .000
    Freddie Freeman, 1B1110000 .136
Totals30575106  
a-announced for Kimbrel in the 8th
b-walked for Glaus in the 8th
Batting
2B - Derrek Lee (32, Badenhop), David Ross 3 (13, Miller, Miller, Sosa), Freddie Freeman (1, Ohman)
HR - Brooks Conrad (8, Miller)
SH - Derek Lowe (11)
RBI - Eric Hinske (51), David Ross (28), Brooks Conrad 3 (31)
2-OUT RBI - Eric Hinske (21), David Ross (14), Brooks Conrad 3 (12)
Team LOB - 12
Fielding
E - Brooks Conrad (5, Throwing)
Atlanta Braves
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Derek Lowe (W,16-12) 5.2711190 4.00
Peter Moylan (H,21) 0.2000010 2.97
Mike Dunn (H,1) 0.2100010 1.00
Craig Kimbrel (H,2) 1100010 0.45
Billy Wagner 1000110 1.32
Pitches-Strikes - Derek Lowe 99-63, Peter Moylan 8-6, Mike Dunn 12-7, Craig Kimbrel 10-8, Billy Wagner 15-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Derek Lowe 5-3, Peter Moylan 1-0, Mike Dunn 1-0, Billy Wagner 2-0
Batters Faced - Derek Lowe 25, Peter Moylan 2, Mike Dunn 3, Craig Kimbrel 4, Billy Wagner 4
Game Information
Attendance - 36390
Game Time - 2:52
Temperature - 74
Umpires - Home - Jerry Layne, First Base - Mike Winters, Second Base - Hunter Wendelstedt, Third Base - Brian Runge