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Marlins Vs. Braves, Game Three: Derek Lowe Goes For The Sweep

(Sports Network) - Derek Lowe didn't look like he would be Atlanta's playoff savior the last time he faced Florida, but September has been a different month for the sinker-baller.

Lowe goes after a fifth straight winning start this afternoon, and will also try to further the Braves' lead in the National League Wild Card race in the finale of a three-game set with the Marlins at Turner Field.

The 37-year-old Lowe was hammered for five runs over just three innings in a no-decision versus the Marlins on Aug. 29, falling to 6-4 with a 5.38 earned run average lifetime versus Florida, but he's 4-0 with a 1.08 ERA in four starts since.

Lowe needed 103 pitches to get through five innings at Washington on Friday, allowing just five hits without allowing a run to improve to 15-12 with a 4.07 ERA this year.

With Jair Jurrjens out due to a knee injury and the Braves in the thick of a playoff race, Lowe will pitch on short rest today for the first time since the 2008 playoffs, while then with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Atlanta pushed its edge over San Diego in the Wild Card race to 1 1/2 games with four to play. The Padres, who have five games left on their schedule, lost to the Cubs on Tuesday, while the Braves were 3-2 winners over the Marlins.

All three of Atlanta's runs came in the seventh inning, with pinch-hitter Eric Hinske connecting on a go-ahead two-run homer. Brooks Conrad, starting in place of the injured Martin Prado at third base, tied the game with a triple earlier in the inning after Florida's Cameron Maybin failed to haul in the hit before crashing into the wall and having to be carted off the field.

"Right now my lower back and leg are beat up," said Maybin, who was on crutches in the locker room. "It was pretty scary [laying on the ground]. You go into the wall, but you usually get up and I couldn't get up."

Atlanta won earlier in the day after learning that Prado will not play again this season due to a torn external oblique muscle. The All-Star needs two months of rest and ends the season having hit .307 with 15 homers, 66 RBI and 100 runs scored.

The Braves' Tim Hudson also pitched on short rest in yesterday's game and allowed just one run over six innings.

"We go out there and keep winning, and hopefully we will be where we want to be," said Conrad. "So it sounds cliche, but you have to take it one game at a time and worry about that game rather than start looking ahead."

Atlanta won for the third time in four games, while Florida has lost three straight and five of six. Dan Ugglahomered in the loss for the Marlins and also reached the 100-RBI mark for the first time in his career.

Florida starter Andrew Miller hasn't had much luck this season, having gone just 1-4 with an 8.19 ERA, but that lone victory did come over the Braves and he is 3-0 with a 3.04 ERA in his career against them. The lefty held Atlanta to just a run in five innings with a season-high six strikeouts on Sept. 3.

Miller, 25, has lost each of his last four starts, though, and was drilled for four runs on eight hits and two walks over 4 1/3 frames Friday in Milwaukee.

The Braves hold a 10-7 advantage over the Marlins in the season series, taking six of eight so far at Turner Field. They haven't swept the Fish since a three-game set in Atlanta from Sept. 17-19, 2007.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.