Marlins blank struggling Braves
Miami, FL – Javier Vazquez continued his surge and sent the 0 victory by two- game series.
Atlanta's eighth loss in 12 games, coupled with St. Louis' win on Wednesday, cut its once healthy NL wild card lead to 1 1/2 games over the hard-charging Cardinals with six games remaining. The Braves play a three-game series in Washington before finishing the regular season at home against the NL East- champion Phillies.
"We still got everybody in the rearview mirror. We just have to take care of business," said Braves third baseman Chipper Jones.
The Braves' bats had no chance against Vazquez (12-11), who extended his scoreless steak to 25 innings with seven terrific frames. He allowed just two hits and one walk while fanning six in Florida's fourth win in six games.
"He's been the No. 1 guy for us...at least in the second half of the season," Marlins manager Jack McKeon said of Vazquez. "It's remarkable the way he's come through."
Derek Lowe (9-16) fell to 0-4 in September after surrendering three runs on six hits and two walks over 6 1/3 innings.
Mike Stanton scored twice around Brett Hayes' solo homer in the fifth, first coming around on Gaby Sanchez's double in the second, then racing in on Bryan Petersen's sacrifice fly in the sixth.
Logan Morrison added another solo blast in the eighth for good measure, but Vazquez and the Marlins bullpen had more than enough cushion.
Vazquez allowed just two base runners through six frames, and both were stranded in the fourth when Dan Uggla and Freddie Freeman were retired.
Jack Wilson flew out to leave a pair in scoring position in the away seventh, and Edward Mujica and Leo Nunez each hurled an inning of relief to preserve the shutout.
Braves shortstop Alex Gonzalez sat out with a strained right calf muscle...The Marlins finish their road slate in Milwaukee before starting its final series at Sun Life Stadium against the Nationals next Monday...Atlanta went 75-75 in 150 games at Sun Life Stadium since the Marlins began play there in 1993...Vazquez has pitched to a 0.25 earned-run average over his last five outings -- all victories...Lowe still needs one win to notch his 10th straight double-digit win campaign...The Braves dominated the season series, 12-6.