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ATL@CHC: Medlen dazzles over 7 1/3 dominant innings

The Braves may have the National League East locked up, but they are still in quite a battle for home-field advantage in the NL.

After a 7-1 win against the Phillies on Thursday, the Braves are tied with the Cardinals for the best record in the Senior Circuit at 94-65.

Kris Medlen will take the hill on Friday against the Phillies at Turner Field in what will be his final tuneup before the postseason.

On Saturday against the Cubs, Medlen (14-12, 3.24 ERA) allowed just one run on six hits in 7 1/3 innings, but took the no-decision. It marked his sixth straight quality start after four straight winning decisions.

"I thought Medlen was terrific," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said after the start. "But at the end of the day, we only scored one run and got five hits. We had some opportunities to add on some runs and couldn't get those runs plated. When you don't get those add-on runs, it always seems to come back to haunt you."

Meanwhile, Phillies left-hander Cliff Lee (14-7, 2.93 ERA) takes the ball for the last time this season. Lee has found his form recently, tossing four straight quality starts.

He took a loss in his last start against the Mets, allowing three runs (two earned) on eight hits in seven innings. It marked his first loss since Aug. 18 against the Dodgers, a span of six starts.

"I made it basically all year without really getting injured," Lee said about his season. "I was able to take the ball and give the team a chance to win more times than not. As a starting pitcher, that's my job, so I've got to feel pretty good about that."

Phillies: Howard visits team
• First baseman Ryan Howard has joined the Phillies for their final four games of the season against the Braves. He has spent several weeks in Clearwater, Fla., recovering from left knee surgery.

The slugger has played in simulated games and has faced live pitching, but wanted to support his teammates as they finish their first losing season since 2002.

Howard has played just 151 games since he ruptured his Achilles in Game 5 of the 2011 National League Division Series, hitting .244 with 25 home runs, 99 RBIs and a .752 on-base-plus-slugging percentage in 609 plate appearances.

"It's not what you sign up for," he said. "It's the unfortunate side of the game where sometimes injuries happen, freak things happen. You try to continue to play through it until I just got to the point where I couldn't play through it anymore. For me, it's just about getting 100 percent healthy, getting back to where I know I can be, how I know I can play and come out and put all my focus on that this offseason and come out ready for 2014."

Braves: Outfielder Johnson suspended
• Reed Johnson was suspended one game and fined an undisclosed fine for his actions during a benches-clearing incident in the first inning of Wednesday night's game against the Brewers at Turner Field.

Freddie Freeman and Brian McCann were also issued undisclosed fines after Major League Baseball reviewed the events that unfolded after Carlos Gomez admired a first-inning home run he hit off Paul Maholm.

"I think there is a sense of relief," Braves general manager Frank Wren said. "In sort of a perverse way, Freddie served his suspension last night, getting thrown out in the very beginning of the game. So we lost arguably our best hitter for the entire game."

Worth noting
• With his next home run, Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins will join a list of 18 other players who have hit 400 or more doubles, 100 or more triples, and 200 or more home runs in their careers.

• The Braves lead the Majors in home winning percentage at .692.

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