Braves break though after struggling for two games

ATLANTA (AP) -- Getting healthy has made all the difference to

Kevin Millwood.


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Millwood pitched shutout ball into the eighth inning and the

Atlanta Braves broke their first two-game losing streak in more

than a month with a 4-1 victory over the Detroit Tigers on

Wednesday night.

Chipper Jones had two doubles and an RBI, breaking out of a

1-for-13 skid, and Julio Franco and Gary Sheffield hit consecutive

solo homers in the eighth. Andruw Jones also doubled home a run.

The Braves hadn't lost back-to-back game since losing their

third straight May 14 in San Francisco. Since then, they're 22-8.

Millwood (4-5) won for the first time in five starts, giving up

five hits and striking out a season-high nine.

''I think when I was hurt last season, I changed my mechanics a

little bit,'' said Millwood, who missed nearly 2½ months with an

inflamed labrum. ''It took a while to get back to where I was.

Right now, I feel like I am as close to there as I've been in a

long time.''

Millwood was relieved by Mike Remlinger after giving up Ramon

Santiago's solo homer with two outs in the eighth. Remlinger

allowed a single to Damian Jackson, but picked him off to end the


John Smoltz pitched the ninth for his 22nd save in 25 chances.

''I was frustrated,'' Tigers catcher Brandon Inge said of

Millwood's effort. ''I had several pitches I could have done

something with, and I just fouled them back. He did a good job of

reading swings.''

Before the game, the Braves traded outfielder George Lombard to

Detroit for reliever Kris Keller. Lombard pinch-hit in the eighth,

and flied out in his first action of the season.

In his past two starts -- both no-decisions -- Millwood has been

sharp. He gave up two runs in six innings against the Texas

Rangers, and held the Boston Red Sox to a run in seven innings last


Millwood hasn't had a shutout since throwing a one-hitter

against the Pittsburgh Pirates on April 14, 1998, but was in good

position to do so until Santiago's homer. Millwood threw 108

pitches, 80 for strikes.

''They helped me out a little bit there,'' he said. ''They swung

at a couple of pitches that weren't in the zone, but that's what

you need to pitch a good game sometimes.''

Mike Maroth (1-1) lost for the first time in his brief major

league career, leaving after 5 2-3 innings. He gave up both runs on

five hits, walked three and struck out two. It's only his second

defeat overall this season -- he went 8-1 at Triple-A Toledo.

''What I see from Maroth is a guy who likes to compete on the

mound,'' Detroit manager Luis Pujols said. ''Every pitch he throws

has a purpose behind it.''

Chipper and Andruw Jones had consecutive doubles in the fourth

for a 1-0 lead. It was the Braves' first lead since Saturday, when

they beat Boston 4-2.

Rafael Furcal led off the sixth in a bunt single, moved to third

on a sacrifice and a groundout, then scored on Chipper Jones'

second double. A switch-hitter, he hit both as a righty.

''I'd rather they came left-handed but hits are nice when you're

struggling. And I'm struggling, badly, from the left side,''

Chipper Jones said. ''So any time I see a left-handed pitcher out

there, I'm relieved, to say the least.''

The Tigers had two hits in an inning just once off Millwood, in

the sixth when Jackson and Robert Fick had two-out singles. But

Millwood retired former Atlanta player Randall Simon on a

comebacker to end the threat.

Game notes
The St. Louis Cardinals' flag in right field was flown at

half-mast in memory of late announcer Jack Buck, who died Tuesday

night. ... Atlanta 3B Vinny Castilla missed his second straight

game with a strained hamstring.