Braves 6, Marlins 1

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ATLANTA (AP)—Calmed by a pregame telephone conversation with his wife, who was trying to dodge Hurricane Rita, John Thomson earned his first win since May.

Thomson helped the Braves take another step toward their 14th straight division title and moved the Florida Marlins closer to postseason elimination by leading Atlanta to a 6-1 win Saturday night.

Thomson knew his wife, Kelly, had left their home in Sulphur, La., for higher ground in Eunice, La., but he had been frustrated in attempts to talk with her until she called Saturday afternoon.

“I tried to call her last night and tried all day today,” Thomson said. “I didn’t go to bed until about 2 last night, watching it on TV and trying to figure out where it was going to hit.”

Thomson (4-5) allowed one run and four hits in seven innings. He had been 0-3 in seven starts since coming off the disabled list on Aug. 13. Thomson was injured May 16 when he strained a flexor tendon in his right middle finger.

“I knew I was going to get back to how I was last year,” he said. “It was just a matter of time. I feel like I should have felt all along if I hadn’t got hurt.”

Chris Reitsma and Kyle Farnsworth completed the five-hitter.

Andruw Jones hit his major league-leading 51st home run as Atlanta (88-67) lowered its magic number for clinching the NL East to three and eliminated the Marlins from contention in the division.

Jeff Francoeur and Rafael Furcal hit two-run homers for the Braves, and Chipper Jones connected in the third to reach 20 homers for the 11th straight season.

“To their credit, they find a way every year,” Marlins manager Jack McKeon said. “I mean, this is every year so it’s no fluke. They know what they’re doing.”

Florida (80-75) has lost eight of 10 in a playoff push that has gone into reverse. The Marlins are five games behind Houston (85-70) in the wild-card race with seven games remaining.

“We’re playing terrible,” Marlins outfielder Jeff Conine said. “It’s disheartening. You’re close to being in a race and playing terrible. It’s not very fun.”

Brian Moehler (6-10) gave up five runs and six hits in three innings.

Florida loaded the bases with no outs in the second but got only one run, on Paul Lo Duca’s double-play grounder.

Atlanta went ahead in the bottom half on Francoeur’s 13th homer, his first since Sept. 3, and Furcal’s 12th homer.

After the rocky second, Thomson allowed only two runners the next five innings, giving up a double to Mike Lowell with two outs in the fourth and a single to Lo Duca with two outs in the seventh.

Andruw Jones homered in the eighth off Randy Messenger. Jones had been in a 3-for-33 slump since hitting his 50th homer on Sept. 14.


The Braves are 9-5 against Florida this season and 23-10 against the Marlins the last two years. In games played in Atlanta, the Braves are 14-3 against the Marlins the last two years. … Attendance was 51,775, the third-largest regular-season total in Turner Field history and the fifth sellout of the season.

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