Franco homer lifts Braves over Rockies

DENVER (AP) -- Even when he's struggling, Julio Franco tired to

keep things basic.


height=90 align=right alt="Julio Franco">


"Why complicate a game that is so simple," Franco said. "When

the time comes to look fastball, look fastball and no further."

Franco looked fastball and got it, hitting a tiebreaking homer

in the eighth inning for his first RBI of the season, leading the

Atlanta Braves to a 2-1 victory over the Colorado Rockies on


"I have been around this game long enough to know the less

complicated you make this game the better," Franco said.

Franco, who entered the game in a double switch in the seventh

inning, started the day with a .183 average and one extra-base hit

in 71 at-bats.

"The brilliant manager makes the move to put him in so the

pitcher doesn't have to hit there and we get a home run," Atlanta

manager Bobby Cox said. "He didn't have an RBI, but he got one

today and he used it."

Franco led off the eighth by driving a 3-2 pitch from reliever

Chris Nichting (0-1) into the Colorado bullpen in right-center to

break a 1-all tie.

"It was a bad pitch at a bad time of the game," Nichting said.

"I tried to get it in on him a couple times, but that one went


Mike Remlinger (2-0) got two outs for the win. John Smoltz got

four outs for his 13th save in 14 chances.

Atlanta broke a scoreless tie with an unearned run in the

seventh. Gary Sheffield singled to left and shortstop Juan Uribe

booted Chipper Jones' potential double play grounder to put runners

on second and third with no outs. Andruw Jones followed with a

sacrifice fly.

The Rockies tied it in the bottom half. Jose Ortiz led off with

a single and moved to second on Mark Little's bunt. Pinch-hitter

Larry Walker followed with an RBI single.

Atlanta starter Damian Moss gave up seven hits and a run in 6

2-3 innings. He pitched out of a jam in the second inning when the

Rockies put runners on second and third with no outs. Estalalla was

thrown out at the plate on a grounder to third, Little struck out

and Denny Neagle flied out to left.

Neagle allowed one unearned run and two hits in seven innings.

"Denny has hit a couple of speed bumps in his last two

outings," Colorado manager Clint Hurdle said. "He was solid today

and we weren't able to do it with the couple of shots offensively

that we had."

Game notes
Mark DeRosa returned to Atlanta on Sunday to undergo an MRI

exam on his right ankle. DeRosa sustained ligament damage running

out a double in Friday's game. ... The NL was batting .196 against

Moss. ... Bobby Estalella was moved up to No. 5 in the Colorado

batting order. ... The three-game series drew 126,288 fans,

exceeding the previous high for a three-game home set this year of

115,922 for three home games in a series with Philadelphia.