Atlanta survives New York

Braves split with Mets

Posted: Monday, July 03, 2000

NEW YORK -- Tom Glavine restored order to a wild weekend at Shea Stadium, keeping John Rocker in the bullpen and the Braves in first place.

Glavine shut New York down for seven innings to win his first game in six weeks, and Javy Lopez homered twice as Atlanta gained a split of the four-game series with a 10-2 win over the New York Mets on Sunday.

''We're in the same position today as when we came in,'' Glavine said. ''If we had lost, we would have been tied. Now, we're two games up. From that standpoint, these are big games. It's still too early to get too excited. A lot of things could change before we play again.''

A lot happened this weekend.

The series featured a tense opening game which the Braves won thanks to Rocker's perfect inning of relief, a dramatic 10-run eighth inning by the Mets in the second game, and Greg Maddux's shortest start in four seasons on Saturday.

Glavine and Lopez made sure there was no such excitement in the finale, as Atlanta jumped out to a 7-0 lead after five innings to move two games in front of the Mets in the NL East.

''We could have rolled over after losing those two games,'' Atlanta's Brian Jordan said. ''Instead we came out and played hard. We're happy with the split.''

With a big lead, there was no need for manager Bobby Cox to call on Rocker, who was unavailable the last two games after splitting open a callous on his left thumb Friday. He warmed up in the ninth inning Sunday, but wasn't needed.

''I could have pitched,'' he said. ''I was ready to pitch but they didn't need me. I think in the long run they do need me. I'm glad it's over.''

The despised reliever -- whose presence this weekend brought about 700 police officers and a media circus to Shea Stadium -- made a brief appearance on the field by warming up left fielder Reggie Sanders before the eighth inning.

The crowd of 45,261 booed as Rocker played catch with police protection. He then tossed the ball into the stands and walked back to the bullpen and sat down under Rocker's Roof -- the specially constructed awning to protect him.

A fan threw Rocker's ball back on the field, drawing cheers from the Mets fans that the reliever insulted last year and apologized to on Thursday.

''In the back of my mind, I thought something might happen,'' Jordan said. ''New York did a great job with security and the fans were really studious. They love their Mets and they showed it.''

Mike Piazza homered for the third straight game, hitting a solo shot in the Mets seventh to give him an RBI in 15 straight games -- two behind the major league record. He also has a 20-game hitting streak.

There wasn't much else for Mets fans to get excited about.

Astros 6, Cardinals 3

ST. LOUIS -- Richard Hidalgo hit two home runs and Scott Elarton pitched six strong innings for his third straight win as the Houston Astros beat the St. Louis Cardinals.

Jeff Bagwell connected for a three-run homer in the fifth inning and Hidalgo had solo shots in the second and fourth -- all off Darryl Kile (11-5) -- as the Astros avoided a three-game sweep.

Mark McGwire's five-game homer streak at Busch Stadium ended. He went 1-for-4, with an RBI single in the sixth inning, and struck out twice. J.D. Drew homered, tripled and scored twice for the Cardinals.

Brewers 4, Cubs 2

MILWAUKEE -- Charlie Hayes' two-run double capped a three-run eighth inning as the Milwaukee Brewers rallied to beat the Chicago Cubs.

Hayes' double off reliever Tim Worrell scored Jeromy Burnitz and Geoff Jenkins.

Chicago's much-maligned bullpen failed again and blew a strong effort from Kerry Wood (3-6). Wood allowed six hits in 7 2-3 innings, but got into trouble in the eighth.

Phillies 9, Pirates 1

PHILADELPHIA -- Rob Ducey homered twice and drove in a career-high five runs and rookie Pat Burrell went 4-for-4, leading Curt Schilling and the Philadelphia Phillies over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The Phillies took two of three from Pittsburgh and recorded their fifth straight winning series.

Marlins 2, Expos 1

MONTREAL -- Mark Smith hit two home runs and Reid Cornelius shut down Montreal for eight innings, giving the Florida Marlins their first three-game sweep of the Expos.

The Marlins have won 12 of their last 17 games to reach the .500 mark at 41-41. Montreal has lost four in a row.

Rockies 3, Padres 2

SAN DIEGO -- Woody Williams allowed two runs and eight hits in eight innings in his first start following surgery for an aneurysm, but Colorado went ahead in the 10th on Jeff Cirillo's second sacrifice fly of the game, off closer Trevor Hoffman (1-3).

Mike Lansing reached with one out on second baseman Bret Boone's fielding error and third on Todd Helton's single.

Reds 14, Diamondbacks 2

PHOENIX -- Aaron Boone had a career-high five RBIs and Barry Larkin went 4-for-4, including a double in a five-run first inning.

Boone, Chris Stynes and Alex Ochoa each had three hits for the Reds, who finished with a season-high 20 off six pitchers. The 14 runs were the most at Phoenix by a visiting team.

Giants 6, Dodgers 5

SAN FRANCISCO -- Marvin Benard homered off Mike Fetters (3-1) leading off the ninth inning and Jeff Kent connected twice, raising his league-leading RBIs total to 80.

Winner Robb Nen (2-3) blew a save for the fifth time in 18 chances, allowing on a pair of runs in the eighth on Gary Sheffield's RBI single and a wild pitch with F.P. Santangelo on third.



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