ATLANTA (AP) If the first two games are any indication, the NL
East race between the Atlanta Braves and New York Mets should be
Pinch-hitter Keith Lockhart knocked in the winning run on a
fielder's choice in the ninth inning and the Atlanta Braves edged
the New York Mets 3-2 on Wednesday night.
The Mets had tied it at 2 in their half of the ninth off John Rocker on an RBI
single by Jay Payton.
Brian Jordan opened the Braves' ninth with a walk off loser Donne Wall
before Turk Wendell came on and retired Javy Lopez on a fly to
Rico Brogna, however, doubled to right, sending Jordan to third
before Lockhart hit a bouncer to the right side of the mound.
Wendell fielded the ball, but his off-balance throw home wasn't
close as Jordan scored the game-winner.
"It was like slow motion (the final play)," Wendell said.
"I'll probably laugh when I see the replay. I don't know if I was
falling with class, or if there was anything athletic about it."
"Wow," said Braves manager Bobby Cox after the second straight
game between the two clubs with last-minute heroics.
On Tuesday, the Mets won 6-4 in 10 innings when Robin Ventura
hit the second of his two-run homers.
The two favorites in the NL East still have 17 matchups left in
a year when the schedule was expanded so division teams would play
each other more often.
The Braves got six strong innings from Millwood, who had a poor
spring. The Atlanta right-hander, who struggled with a 12.46 ERA
during spring training, gave up three hits, one run, walked one and
struck out two.
"I feel pretty good about tonight," Millwood said. "It was
something I worked toward during the spring. It wasn't pretty in
the spring, but I feel like I'm where I need to be now."
Millwood had said all spring he wasn't concerned with his stats.
"My numbers during the spring didn't bother me. Today was a
good example. It's a different mindset for me in the regular season,"
Ventura, who hit a two-run homer off Rocker in Tuesday night's
6-4 Mets win over the Braves, led off the ninth against Rocker by drawing a walk on a 3-2 count.
Rocker struck out Mike Piazza, but walked Todd Zeile, also on a
3-2 pitch, advancing pinch runner Joe McEwing to second.
Payton then singled to left, scoring McEwing easily, but Zeile
got caught between second and third and was tagged out by Chipper
Jones for the second out before pinch-hitter Todd Pratt popped out
to end the inning.
Rocker (1-0) got the win despite giving up the tying run. He
gave up one hit, walked two and struck out one in his inning of
The Braves had gone ahead 2-0 in the fourth off Kevin Appier,
making his National League debut, on a two-run single by Jones.
Millwood also had a hand in the Braves' scoring.
He reached with one out in the fourth when he struck out on a
wild pitch and Rafael Furcal singled him to second. After Quilvio
Veras grounded out, Andruw Jones walked to load the bases and
Chipper Jones followed with his single to right field off the glove
of a diving Timo Perez, giving Atlanta a 2-0 lead.
Appier, who signed a four-year, $42 million free agent deal
during the winter after 11 seasons in the AL, allowed two runs and
five hits in six innings.
"I thought I pitched pretty good, certainly not great," Appier
The Mets made it 2-1 in the sixth when Perez singled with one
out off Millwood and went to second on a walk to Edgardo Alfonzo.
Ventura then grounded to Brogna at first, and he threw
Alfonzo out at second, but shortstop Furcal's throw to first went
wild for an error, scoring Perez with Ventura taking second.
Piazza then singled to center, but Andruw Jones threw out
Ventura at the plate on a perfect one-hop throw to Lopez.
|Atlanta's Brian Jordan crosses the plate with the winning run on Keith Lockhart's fielder's choice in the ninth inning.|
The Braves are 19-4 in their last 23 meetings at Turner
Field against the Mets, including 3-0 in the postseason. ... In
Atlanta's first two games, all 10 runs allowed by Braves pitchers
were the result of home runs.
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Chi. White Sox 4
NY Yankees 8
Kansas City 2
Tampa Bay 8
Chicago Cubs 2
NY Mets 2
St. Louis 9
Los Angeles 2
San Francisco 8
San Diego 7