Braves lead shrinks again after loss to Marlins - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Braves lead shrinks again after loss to Marlins

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MIAMI (AP) - Struggling to secure a postseason berth, the Atlanta Braves were thwarted by a playoff-caliber pitching performance.

Javier Vazquez allowed only two hits in seven innings Wednesday against his former team, and the Florida Marlins played the spoiler's role by beating Atlanta 4-0.

The Braves, who lost for the 13th time in their past 20 games, watched their lead over the St. Louis Cardinals shrink to just 1½ in the NL wild-card race. The Cardinals, who beat the Mets 6-5 Wednesday, were 10½ games back on Aug. 25.

For the third start in a row, Vazquez (12-11) did not allow a run. He extended his streak of scoreless innings to 25, a Marlins record for a starter.

Freese drives in five in Cardinals' win
David Freese drove in five runs with a triple and a three-run homer, and the surging St. Louis Cardinals beat the New York Mets 6-5 Wednesday night.

The Cardinals have won four straight and 12 of 14 to move within 1½ games of Atlanta in the National League wild-card race. St. Louis, a season-high 17 over .500 (86-69), has seven games left and will go for a sweep of the Mets on Thursday.

The Mets fell to 73-82, ensuring the third straight losing season for the big-spending ballclub that has been plagued by injuries and off-field financial woes.

Jaime Garcia (13-7), making his 30th start, pitched around four unearned runs in 7 2-3 innings. He gave up six hits and struck out five.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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