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Updated: Thu, 12 Sep 2013 04:16:00 EST

BRAVES-MARLINS Fernandez pitches Marlins past Braves 5-2 MIAMI (AP) — In his season finale, Miami Marlins rookie sensation Jose Fernandez pitched seven innings, hit his first major-league homer and engaged in a standoff with the annoyed Atlanta Braves that cleared both benches and bullpens. When he had completed his eventful evening, Fernandez slowly walked off the mound one last time, removing his cap as the crowd gave him a standing ovation. Two relievers pitched the final two innings, and the woeful Marlins beat the playoff-bound Braves 5-2. The game was the last of the season for the demonstrative 21-year-old Fernandez because he passed his 170-inning limit set by the Marlins. A top candidate for NL Rookie of the Year, he finished 12-6 with an ERA of 2.19, second-lowest in the majors behind only the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw. BRAVES-MAHOLM INJURY Braves LHP Maholm to miss at least one start MIAMI (AP) — Atlanta Braves left-hander Paul Maholm will miss at least one start because of a sore elbow, but an MRI shows no serious injury. Maholm's elbow began to bother him during a start Sept. 2, manager Fredi Gonzalez said. Maholm went five innings and beat the New York Mets in that game, then pitched six innings Sunday and received no decision in a loss to the Philadelphia Phillies. When the soreness continued, the Braves decided Maholm should be further evaluated. He flew home to Atlanta for the exam Wednesday. Maholm is 10-10 with a 4.35 ERA in 24 starts for the NL East leaders. FALCONS-ROOKIE CORNERS Falcons rookie corners hold up fine in 1st test FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) — For Desmond Trufant and Robert Alford, there was no time for a leisurely transition to the NFL. They had to step up right away. For one game, at least, the Atlanta Falcons are pleased with what they got from their rookie cornerbacks. Trufant and Alford hardly looked overmatched, even though they were going against Drew Brees and the high-powered New Orleans Saints. Now, it's on to Week 2 against Sam Bradford and the St. Louis Rams, who are looking to go 2-0. Trufant says he's "got a lot to improve on," but the Falcons held the Saints in check about as well as could be expected. Alford had an interception and broke up two passes. Trufant broke up a pass. Offensive problems were largely to blame for the 23-17 loss. HALL OF FAME CANDIDATES Marvin Harrison, Dungy new HOF candidates CANTON, Ohio (AP) — Marvin Harrison and Tony Dungy, two key ingredients for the 2006 NFL champion Indianapolis Colts, are among 16 first-year-eligible modern era candidates for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class. Tampa Bay linebacker Derrick Brooks, who also played under Dungy, also is a candidate. The election will take place on Feb. 1, the night before the Super Bowl. Former Raiders punter Ray Guy and former Falcons and Eagles defensive end Claude Humphrey are senior nominees. Between four and seven new members will be selected to the Hall of Fame and will be enshrined next August. DREAM-SUN Bass' basket helps Sun edge Dream, 78-77 UNCASVILLE, Conn. (AP) — Mistie Bass made a layup off an inbounds play with 11 seconds remaining Wednesday night and the Connecticut Sun edged the Atlanta Dream, 78-77. Connecticut (9-23) played with just eight players. The last-place Sun kept second-place Atlanta (17-15) from moving a step closer to clinching the second seed in the Eastern Conference. Bass led the Sun with 15 points. Renee Montgomery scored eight of her 14 points in the fourth period for the Sun, while Kelsey Griffin scored 12 and Tan White had 11. Angel McCoughtry led Atlanta with 23 points and 10 rebounds. McCoughtry entered the game averaging 29.7 points against Connecticut this season, including three games with at least 30 points. SEC-AURA OF INVINCIBILITY Mighty SEC taking hits with nonconference losses UNDATED (AP) — The mighty Southeastern Conference's aura of invincibility has taken a hit just a couple weeks into this season. Sure, the SEC has half its members ranked in the Top 25 this week, and the conference keeps grabbing big headlines with its schools playing the country's must-see games every week. No. 1 Alabama and sixth-ranked Texas A&M are next up Saturday. But the SEC's dominance in nonconference play has slipped. The league of champions already has lost four nonconference games — half as many as the SEC had all of 2012. The SEC has lost to the Atlantic Coast Conference, the Big 12 and even the Sun Belt. This week, the American Athletic Conference and Pac-12 are lining up to take a shot at college football's power conference. ACC-TIGHT ENDS Talented tight ends making an impact in the ACC UNDATED (AP) — The Atlantic Coast Conference has always been fertile ground for tight ends, and it still is. The league that has produced NFL stars like San Francisco's Vernon Davis, New Orleans' Jimmy Graham and Pittsburgh's Heath Miller has another promising crop on the rise. North Carolina's Eric Ebron, Dave Stinebaugh at Maryland and Miami's Clive Walford are part of the cadre having an impact on the conference. Maryland quarterback C.J. Brown says Stinebaugh, is his "security blanket" and a reliable receiver he always looks to when he's open. Syracuse associate head coach and offensive coordinator George McDonald says the tight end has become a "marquee position" no longer reserved just for 250-pound offensive linemen who occasionally catch a pass. The league's rosters, and statistics, bear that out.

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