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Major League Baseball

Braves close in on playoff berth

The Tampa Tribune
Published:   |   Updated: March 21, 2013 at 08:04 PM
ATLANTA -

The Braves moved closer to their first playoff berth since 2005, beating the Marlins 5-1 to complete a three-game sweep behind Derek Lowe's fifth win of September and Brooks Conrad's three-run homer.

In its final season under Manager Bobby Cox, Atlanta began the day 1 1/2 games ahead of San Diego in the NL wild-card race.

Atlanta (90-69) reached 90 wins for the 15th time in 25 years under the 69-year-old Cox, who is retiring after the season. 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.

Around the NL

Ben Francisco hit two of Philadelphia's four homers, and a lineup filled with reserves led the NL East champion Phillies to a 7-1 victory over the last-place Nationals. ... Carlos Lee had three hits and Nelson Figueroa took advantage of a Cincinnati lineup missing all of its regulars as the Astros beat the Reds 2-0. ... Matt Kemp hit a grand slam and the Dodgers beat the Rockies 7-6 to complete a three-game sweep. ... P.J. Walters pitched seven innings of three-hit ball and Allen Craig hit a solo shot to help the Cardinals to a 4-1 win over the Pirates. ... Dave Bush pitched three-hit ball into the seventh inning and the Brewers held on for a 3-1 victory over the Mets to complete a doubleheader sweep. Earlier, Prince Fielder hit a tiebreaking single with two outs in the eighth inning and the Brewers rallied for an 8-7 win.

Around the AL

Delmon Young homered and drove in two runs and the Twins beat the Royals 4-2 to snap a season-long five-game losing streak. ... Omar Vizquel hit a go-ahead single in Chicago's three-run seventh inning and the White Sox beat the Red Sox 5-2. ... Mitch Moreland raced home from first base with the winning run after a wild pitch and a throwing error on a strikeout with two outs in the ninth inning, lifting the AL West champion Rangers over the last-place Mariners 6-5. ... Torii Hunter's two-out single drove home Jeff Mathis in the 11th inning, and the Los Angeles Angels wrapped up their home schedule with a 2-1 victory over the Athletics. ... Mitch Talbot and Josh Tomlin both finished their rookie seasons with wins as the Indians swept a doubleheader from the Tigers, 4-0 and 4-3. ... Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Feller is resting comfortably at the Cleveland Clinic after getting a pacemaker Monday.

The Associated Press

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