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Jurrjens dominant, Braves creep closer to Rockies
Braves 5 col BW

ATLANTA — Jair Jurrjens pitched seven outstanding innings, Chipper Jones homered and the Atlanta Braves beat Florida 4-0 Monday night for their 15th win in 17 games, a stretch that has lifted them into playoff contention with less than a week to go in the regular season.

The Braves closed within two games of idle Colorado in the NL wild-card race with six remaining. Florida's third loss in four games all but finished off the Marlins, who dropped 5½ games behind the Rockies and can do no better than tie for the wild card. One more Florida loss or Colorado win would eliminate the Marlins.

Atlanta also moved within four games of first-place Philadelphia in the NL East. The Phillies lost 8-2 at home to Houston.

Atlanta won its seventh straight, matching a season high, behind another dominant performance by Jurrjens (14-10). The right-hander won his fourth in a row and has gone at least seven innings in seven straight starts, allowing only eight earned runs in 50 2-3 innings (a 1.42 ERA) during that stretch.

The Braves managed only three hits, but took advantage of 11 walks by the Marlins — including a career-worst eight by starter Anibal Sanchez (3-8). He walked the first three Atlanta hitters, throwing only two strikes, and wound up trailing 2-0 without giving up a hit. Brian McCann drove in a run with a bases-loaded grounder to first, and Garret Anderson followed with a sacrifice fly.

Florida had its bullpen throwing just 15 pitches into the game, though Sanchez managed to hang around for five innings before he was lifted for a pinch hitter. He allowed only two hits, one of them a towering shot by Jones in the third that struck the right-field foul pole about halfway up, his 18th homer of the season but just his second since Aug. 29.

Jones will need two more over the final week of a disappointing year to become the first player in baseball history to hit at least 20 homers in each of his first 15 seasons. Jones and Eddie Mathews are the only two start their careers with 14 consecutive 20-homer seasons.

Florida got its first two runners aboard in both the sixth and the seventh. Jurrjens pitched out of trouble each time before turning it over to the bullpen.

A banner hung in right field said "Believe" in script resembling the Braves logo.

Peter Moylan pitched a scoreless eighth in his 85th appearance of the season, a Braves record, and Rafael Soriano worked the ninth to complete the five-hitter — Atlanta's 10th shutout of the season.

The Marlins started the sixth with Chris Coghlan's single and a walk to Cameron Maybin. But Hanley Ramirez struck out, failing to check his swing on a low pitch, and Jurrjens retired the next two hitters.

Florida had an even better scoring chance in the seventh when Dan Uggla led off with a double and moved to third on John Baker's single. Jurrjens toughened up again, retiring Brett Carroll on a fly to right that wasn't deep enough to score the run, striking out pinch-hitter Jeremy Hermida and getting Coghlan on a forceout at second.

Even though plenty was at stake, an announced crowd of 25,046 that looked closer to 15,000 turned out at Turner Field on a night with a hint of fall in the air.

NOTES: Jones' homer was his 426th, tying Billy Williams for 40th on the career list. Next up is Mike Piazza at 427. ... Sanchez's previous career high for walks was six. ... Nate McLouth drew a bases-loaded walk from Kiko Calero in the eighth to bring home Atlanta's final run.