MIAMI (AP)—Jack McKeon went out a winner.
McKeon told the Florida Marlins before the game that he was managing them for the last time, then watched his team rally in the ninth inning and beat the playoff-bound Atlanta Braves 7-6 in the 10th Sunday.
“I was happy to win this one, go out on a winning style,” the 74-year-old McKeon said.
McKeon led the Marlins to the 2003 World Series title and a winning record in each of his three seasons as manager. Marlins veteran Jeff Conine said an emotional McKeon made his announcement in the clubhouse, and the players responded with applause and hugs.
The Braves matched a season high with their fourth consecutive loss, all since clinching their 14th consecutive division title Tuesday. They begin the playoffs at home Wednesday against Houston in a rematch from last year.
Florida led 4-3 when Todd Jones replaced Dontrelle Willis, who was bidding for his 23rd victory. Five singles helped the Braves score three runs in the eighth inning off Jones, who blew a save for the fifth time in 45 chances.
Willis struck out a career-high 12 but failed for the second start in a row to become the first 23-game winner since 2002. Pitching despite a sore left ankle, he allowed three runs in seven innings and earned a curtain call from the crowd of 29,214 when he departed for a pinch-runner.
By taking all three games, the Marlins swept a series against Atlanta for the first time since May 13-14, 1997. The only other team to sweep Atlanta this year was San Diego on May 16-18.
Ron Villone (3-2) pitched two scoreless innings.
Chipper Jones hit his 21st home run for Atlanta, and teammate Brian McCann drove in three runs. McCann’s RBI single in the eighth made the score 4-all, and Wilson Betemit followed with a two-run single.
NL home run and RBI leader Andruw Jones went 1-for-3 with a single—only his sixth hit in his past 51 at-bats. He finished with 51 homers, most in the majors, and 128 RBIs.
Braves starter Horacio Ramirez allowed five hits and one run in five innings but failed for the sixth time to earn his 12th victory.
Florida trailed 3-1 before scoring three times in the seventh. Pierre’s two-run single tied the game, and Carlos Delgado came off the bench to put the Marlins ahead with an RBI single.
Willis twisted his left ankle leaving the batter’s box after grounding out in the third inning, and the Braves scored all their runs after that. They rallied from a 1-0 deficit in the fourth when Julio Franco and Brian Jordan singled and McCann doubled in two runs.
With the Miami Dolphins off, the crowd included team owner Wayne Huizenga. … Willis batted seventh—the fourth consecutive time he has hit higher than ninth—and singled leading off the seventh to hike his average to .261.