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Kimbrel sets rookie saves record, Braves top Nats

Sep 1, 2011 - 3:31 AM Atlanta, GA (Sports Network) - Derek Lowe pitched into the seventh and added his first career home run as Atlanta downed Washington, 3-1, in the middle test of a three-game set.

Lowe (9-12) scattered three hits and allowed a run, while fanning six and walking two. Craig Kimbrel tossed a scoreless ninth to set a new major- league rookie record with his 41st save.

"We'll take it. It's winding down and every win is big," said Lowe. "We know where we stand in the division, but you can't get complacent. Just because you build a good lead it doesn't mean that you can coast. We want to go out there and play like we have all year. The goal is to catch the Phillies."

Chipper Jones launched a solo homer and Dan Uggla drove in the other run for the NL wild card-leading Braves, who snapped a two-game slide.

Michael Morse's seventh-inning home run was the lone offense for the Nationals, who have dropped seven of eight.

John Lannan (8-11) fanned six and walked one over seven full frames, but was tagged for seven hits and three runs -- two earned -- in the loss.

Morse barely cleared the wall in right-center in the seventh to cut the Nats' deficit to 3-1, and Lowe departed.

Eric O'Flaherty and Jonny Venters each held Washington at bay in the next two innings before Kimbrel worked his magic by retiring the side in order in the ninth.

The 23-year-old right-hander vaulted above Neftali Feliz to claim the rookie record, after the Rangers closer set the pace last season with 40 saves. Kimbrel has not been scored upon in his last 33 appearances.

Jones hit a one-out solo shot in the home second to put the Braves on the board. It was the 450th homer of his career, and the 17-year veteran became the 34th player in history to reach the mark.

Lowe greeted his counterpart Lannan in the next frame with a leadoff shot to left -- his first career homer in 425 at-bats. Martin Prado walked two batters later and eventually scored on an Uggla single for a 3-0 Atlanta edge.

"We've always got a chance to win," said Nats infielder Ian Desmond of his club's chances to be competitive and take the series. "We have to make plays, and take good pitches to hit."

Game Notes

Jones pulled within two of tying Carl Yastrzemski for 33rd on the all-time list and is just 43 behind Eddie Mathews for third on the Braves franchise list...The Braves acquired outfielder Matt Diaz from the Pirates in exchange for cash and a player to be named later, and also placed pitcher George Sherrill on the 15-day disabled list with left elbow inflammation...Following the game, the Braves acquired infielder Jack Wilson from the Mariners for a player to be named later.