|Atlanta (90-69) «||0||0||4||0||0||0||0||1||x||5||7||1|
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."
"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.
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."
Mike Stanton had an RBI single in the sixth.
|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|
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|Scott Cousins, CF||4||0||2||0||1||1||0||.324|
|Emilio Bonifacio, SS||4||0||1||0||1||1||2||.279|
|Logan Morrison, LF||4||0||1||0||0||2||1||.281|
|Dan Uggla, 2B||4||1||1||0||0||1||1||.286|
|Gaby Sanchez, 1B||4||0||0||0||0||0||3||.274|
|Chad Tracy, 3B||4||0||3||0||0||1||0||.252|
|Mike Stanton, RF||4||0||1||1||0||2||2||.254|
|Brad Davis, C||4||0||0||0||0||3||3||.220|
|Andrew Miller, P||1||0||0||0||0||1||1||.000|
|Jose Ceda, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a- Hector Luna, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.143|
|Jorge Sosa, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|b- Ozzie Martinez, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.269|
|Burke Badenhop, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Will Ohman, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Steve Cishek, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|c- Wes Helms, PH||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||.220|
|a-flied out for Ceda in the 5th|
|b-grounded out for Sosa in the 7th|
|c-struck out for Cishek in the 9th|
|RBI - Mike Stanton (53)|
|2-OUT RBI - Mike Stanton (26)|
|Team LOB - 10|
|Andrew Miller (L,1-5)||3||4||4||4||4||2||1||8.54|
|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|
|Omar Infante, 2B||4||0||0||0||1||0||3||.323|
|Jason Heyward, RF||3||0||0||0||2||0||1||.278|
|Matt Diaz, LF||2||1||0||0||2||0||1||.240|
|Rick Ankiel, CF||0||0||0||0||1||0||0||.233|
|Derrek Lee, 1B||2||1||1||0||2||1||2||.256|
|Nate McLouth, PR||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.189|
|Craig Kimbrel, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a- Troy Glaus, PH||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.238|
|b- Eric Hinske, PH||0||0||0||1||1||0||0||.259|
|Billy Wagner, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Alex Gonzalez, SS||5||0||0||0||0||2||8||.253|
|David Ross, C||4||1||3||1||0||0||1||.289|
|Brooks Conrad, 3B||4||1||1||3||0||1||3||.241|
|Melky Cabrera, CF-LF||3||0||1||0||1||1||0||.258|
|Derek Lowe, P||2||0||0||0||0||1||3||.151|
|Peter Moylan, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Mike Dunn, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Freddie Freeman, 1B||1||1||1||0||0||0||0||.136|
|a-announced for Kimbrel in the 8th|
|b-walked for Glaus in the 8th|
|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|
|E - Brooks Conrad (5, Throwing)|
|Derek Lowe (W,16-12)||5.2||7||1||1||1||9||0||4.00|
|Peter Moylan (H,21)||0.2||0||0||0||0||1||0||2.97|
|Mike Dunn (H,1)||0.2||1||0||0||0||1||0||1.00|
|Craig Kimbrel (H,2)||1||1||0||0||0||1||0||0.45|
|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|
|Attendance - 36390|
|Game Time - 2:52|
|Temperature - 74|
|Umpires - Home - Jerry Layne, First Base - Mike Winters, Second Base - Hunter Wendelstedt, Third Base - Brian Runge|