Braves target sweep of Marlins with Hanson on hill

Tommy Hanson eyes his first victory in nearly two months on Thursday evening as the Atlanta Braves go for a sweep of their three-game series with the Miami Marlins.

Hanson is 0-4 with a 5.06 earned run average in seven starts since returning from a 15-day stint on the disabled list caused by a back strain. He won his final two starts before being sidelined, a pair of outings on July 20 and 25 versus the Marlins.

The right-hander pitched five innings in both of those games, giving up a total of two runs and improving to 7-2 with a 2.44 earned run average in 11 career meetings with the Marlins.

Hanson lost to the Philadelphia Phillies in his most recent start on Friday, yielding five runs on four hits and three walks with five strikeouts. The 26- year-old also served up three homers, giving him 26 allowed in his 29 starts this season.

"I think a couple of those pitches got too much of the plate. They just didn't hit in the gap or hit it hard for a single, they put them in the seats for the most part," said Hanson, who is 12-9 with a 4.46 ERA on the year.

The Braves continued to stay in the hunt for the NL East crown with Wednesday's 3-0 victory on Wednesday. That win came one day after Atlanta clinched at least a wild card berth with a victory in the series opener.

Martin Prado clubbed a solo home run and added an RBI single en route to his NL-leading 59th multi-hit game for the Braves, who remained four games behind the Washington Nationals for first place in the division. The Nats' magic number to win the NL East is four.

Paul Maholm struck out six over 6 2/3 scoreless innings, scattering five hits without a walk.

"You want to be able to pitch well going into the playoffs," Maholm said. "I tried to do as much as I could to treat it like a playoff game. The defense made some plays and obviously putting up some runs helps."

Josh Johnson gave up three runs -- two earned -- on four hits and five walks with seven strikeouts over six frames to absorb the loss.

Gil Velazquez had two of Miami's six hits as the Marlins lost their sixth consecutive game.

"They're pushing to still try and win the division," Marlins outfielder Bryan Petersen said of the Braves. "They've still got stuff to play for and it kind of showed tonight."

The Braves have won 13 of 17 versus the Marlins this season, going 6-2 at home.

Taking the mound for Miami will be Jacob Turner, who earned his first victory in a Marlins uniform on Sept. 14 before taking a loss seven days later at the New York Mets.

The 21-year-old righty was touched for six runs -- three earned -- on eight hits and a walk over five innings of a 7-3 setback. That left him 1-3 with a 4.03 ERA in five starts with Miami since being acquired from the Detroit Tigers.

Turner, who faces the Braves for the first time, is seeking his first road victory of 2012, having gone 0-2 with a 4.24 ERA in his previous three outings as the guest.