The Braves moved closer to their first playoff berth since 2005, beating the Florida Marlins, 5-1, yesterday to complete a three-game sweep behind Derek Lowe’s fifth win of September and Brooks Conrad’s three-run homer.
Atlanta (90-69) reached 90 wins for the 15th time in 25 years under the 69-year-old Bobby Cox, who is retiring after the season. The Braves won 14 straight division titles under Cox but have missed the playoffs four straight seasons.
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 and his 16 wins matched Tim Hudson for the team high.
Conrad, a 30-year-old rookie, homered in the third off Andrew Miller (1-5).
Padres 3, Cubs 0 — Chris Young and four relievers combined on a four-hitter and host San Diego shut out Chicago to remain 1 1/2 games behind Atlanta in the NL wild-card race.
Giants 3, Diamondbacks 1 — Pat Burrell hit a three-run homer to back Tim Lincecum, and first-place San Francisco beat visiting Arizona to remain two games ahead of San Diego in the NL West.
Orioles 2, Rays 0 — Kevin Millwood allowed two hits over seven innings, Felix Pie hit a two-run triple, and Baltimore shut out Tampa Bay, who stayed a half-game in front of the Yankees in the AL East when New York lost.
Blue Jays 8, Yankees 4 — Aaron Hill hit a three-run homer, John Buck and Travis Snider added solo drives, and host Toronto gave retiring manager Cito Gaston a winning sendoff in his home finale by routing New York.
In other games — Ben Francisco hit two of Philadelphia’s four homers and a lineup filled with reserves led the NL East champions to a 7-1 victory over the last-place Nationals in Washington’s home finale . . . Matt Kemp hit a grand slam and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Colorado Rockies, 7-6, to complete a three-game sweep in Denver . . . P.J. Walters pitched seven innings of three-hit ball and Allen Craig hit a solo homer to lead Cardinals over the Pittsburgh Pirates, 4-1, in St. Louis . . . 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 Texas Rangers to a 6-5 victory over visiting Seattle . . . Torii Hunter’s two-out single drove home Jeff Mathis in the 11th inning and Los Angeles swept Oakland, 2-1, in Anaheim, Calif. . . . Mitch Talbot and Josh Tomlin both finished their rookie seasons with wins as the Indians swept a doubleheader from the Detroit Tigers, 4-0 and 4-3, in Cleveland . . . Carlos Lee had three hits and Nelson Figueroa took advantage of a Cincinnati Reds lineup missing all of its regulars as the visiting Houston Astros beat the newly crowned NL Central champions, 2-0 . . . Dave Bush pitched three-hit ball into the seventh inning and helped his own cause with an RBI single, Ryan Braun hit a two-run double, and the Milwaukee Brewers held on for a 3-1 victory to complete a doubleheader sweep of the Mets in New York. Prince Fielder’s RBI single and Carlos Gomez’s hustle in the eighth inning of the first game rallied the Brewers for an 8-7 win after they squandered a six-run lead . . . Delmon Young homered and drove in two runs and the Minnesota Twins topped the Royals, 4-2, in Kansas City to snap a season-long five-game losing streak.