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Updated: Sunday, September 26, 2004 5:56 PM EDT
MLB RECAP
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ATLANTA 6, FLORIDA 3
 

ATLANTA (Ticker) -- John Thomson ended any hopes the Florida Marlins had of defending their World Series title.

Thomson recorded his fifth straight win with seven strong innings as the Atlanta Braves posted a 6-3 victory over the Marlins, eliminating the defending world champions from postseason contention.

Thomson (14-8) yielded one run and four hits, improving to 8-1 with a 2.43 ERA in 14 starts since the All-Star break. The veteran righthander struck out four and walked two.

"I've been a second-half pitcher just about my entire career," Thomson said. "I've always set (my goal) at 15 (wins). Last year, I came up two short. This year I have a chance in my last start. I think that's a good number. I've always had that goal, just never reached it."

Julio Franco capped a five-run third inning with a two-run double for the Braves. The 46-year-old first baseman, who went 3-for-4, tied Jim Rice for 89th place on the all-time hits list with 2,452. Chipper Jones delivered a two-run base hit earlier in the inning and rookie Charles Thomas opened the scoring with an two-out RBI single.

"I have to be out there concentrating and doing my thing," Franco said. "Every at-bat counts for me. I can't go to the plate with no game plan. I've got to have my game plan and go from there. As long as I can continue to be healthy and get a chance to play, I think I can contribute."

"He's a joke," Braves second baseman Marcus Giles said. "I told him after his third hit, 'You are just amazing. You are showing kids at home that it's easy to hit here.' He's definitely one of the best pure hitters I've ever played with."

Eddie Perez ripped an RBI double in the sixth to supply Atlanta with a 6-1 lead.

Atlanta reliever Horacio Ramirez made his first appearance since May 25, allowing a run and two hits in the eighth. But the results were disappointing for Ramirez and the Braves, as Ramirez was slated to pitch two innings but could only throw one.

"It was a little uncomfortable," Ramirez said. "I had to see what it felt like. I tested it out. It didn't go as it was planned, but it doesn't mean I jumped ship."

Roman Colon gave up a run and two hits in the ninth to close out the Braves' nine series sweep of the year and their ninth win in their last 11 meetings with Florida.

Marlins starter Dontrelle Willis (10-11) gave up six runs and seven hits in six innings.

"It's tough because we were right there," Willis said. "I felt like every game we're one or two plays away. Today, I feel the same happened. The base hit Chipper had opened the game up."

Florida has dropped six straight games and 11 of their last 14 contests to eliminate themselves from the postseason.

"This is a game where you've got to get hitters out," Florida manager Jack McKeon said. "How can you walk guys to get to Chipper Jones , Babe Ruth , Jim Thome and Barry Bonds ? Yeah I'm disappointed. You've got to go back to the starting pitchers. What results have we got from the starters?"

The Marlins starters are 3-9 with a 5.87 ERA in their last 14 games.


© 2005 STATS, Inc
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