Braves drop their fourth in a row

The Washington Nationals put the finishing touches on Lowe's season by racking up eight hits and six runs on Lowe in a 6-3 loss.

"This pretty much sums it up right here," Lowe said. "This is how it's been for three months. I really don't know where I went wrong. I got into so many bad habits mechanically. I put a lot of time and effort to try to correct it. It just seemed like it was never there."

Lowe wraps up the season at 15-10 but with a 4.67 ERA. His ERA is almost two runs higher than Javier Vazquez (2.87), who has 15 wins as well, and Jair Jurrjens (2.61), who has a shot at 15 wins today against the Nationals.

The run support wasn't there to buffer Lowe on Friday, as the Braves lost their four in a row, including two since the Rockies clinched the wild card.

The Braves need Jurrjens to pitch well today if they want to avoid finishing third to the Marlins. The two are tied in second place in the NL East.

Five of the hits off Lowe went for extra bases, including two triples and an Ian Desmond home run. Nate McLouth saved him another by leaping catch at the center-field fence.

Lowe was frustrated not to make it out of the fifth inning.

"When you only pitch seven innings a handful of times all year, that's not good," Lowe said. "It's disappointing. It's frustrating. But it's over. I don't have to go out there and keep banging my head against a wall anymore this year. Come back next year with different stuff and be more competitive."

Martin Prado went 4-for-5 but David Ross got the Braves' biggest hit, driving in two runs in the second inning with a double.

Johnson's future uncertain

It's been a fairly forgettable season for the seemingly forgotten man on the Braves bench -- Kelly Johnson. Since  Prado won the every-day second base job on June 30, Johnson has gotten only 64 at-bats in 38 games, including 10 starts. He's hit .250 in that time and was hitting .223 on the season entering Friday.

Heading into the offseason, it's unclear what, if any, future Johnson has with the Braves, who could either try to trade him or elect to non-tender him rather than pay him what arbitration would bring.

"When you get to this point in your career, it's time to perform and play well and that's it, and that's all that matters," Johnson said. "Once you get past being a young, up-and-coming player, that's what you get to. That's how it should be: play well or not play."

Diaz a scratch, Church home in Florida

Matt Diaz was scratched from Friday's lineup with a sore right thumb. Diaz first jammed his thumb in an at-bat against Kip Wells against the Cincinnati Reds a month ago. When he woke up Friday morning, his thumb was swollen to the point where the Braves medical staff thought it might be infected.

Diaz said he really wants to get back in the lineup before the weekend is up, so the pickoff play at third base which ended Wednesday's game and all but ended the Braves playoff hopes is not the way he ends the season.

"I don't want to end on that note," Diaz said.

Diaz was replaced in right field by Infante. Ryan Church would normally get that start but he left Friday morning to fly to Viera, Fla. to be at home with his wife Tina for the birth of their daughter, Madison Noel.

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