<
>
49-30, 23-15 Away
4
Final
2
46-29, 18-17 Home

Castilla, Blanco drive in decisive runs in 9th

BOSTON (AP) -- All night long, the Atlanta Braves had runners in
scoring position. In the ninth inning, they finally drove enough
home to beat the Boston Red Sox.

Run-scoring hits by Vinny Castilla and Henry Blanco gave Atlanta
a 4-2 win in a matchup of teams that began Friday as division
leaders.

The Braves still led the NL East when the night ended, but the
Red Sox dropped to second in the AL East as the New York Yankees
beat the New York Mets.

"You can't leave that many men on base and win many games,''
Chipper Jones said, "but we were playing one of the better teams
in baseball.''

The Braves left the bases loaded in the fifth, sixth and eighth
innings and stranded 14 runners after averaging 6.9 for the season.

"Our pitchers did a heck of a job holding them down to just two
runs'' in the first eight innings, Boston manager Grady Little
said. "Maybe (we) could have had a hit or two in the right place
and it could have been a different ballgame, but it didn't
happen.''

So the Red Sox fell to 5-11 in interleague play and 1-5 in their
last six games. The Braves are 8-1 in their last nine and 13-3
against AL teams.

Atlanta won even though the 3-4-5 hitters -- Gary Sheffield,
Chipper Jones and Andruw Jones -- were 1-for-10 before Sheffield led
off the ninth with a double off Tim Wakefield (2-3). The next two
batters flied out, but Castilla singled in a run, Darren Bragg
walked for the third time and Blanco doubled home another.

"Timmy did a good job. Balls just fell in,'' Boston catcher
Jason Varitek said. "He threw a lot of balls that were moving
extremely well.''

But the Braves got enough wood on them.

"A hit is a hit,'' Atlanta manager Bobby Cox said. "We didn't
hit the ball particularly hard when we got the runs.''

Mike Remlinger (4-0) pitched the eighth and John Smoltz retired
the side in order in the ninth for his 26th save in 29
opportunities.

Atlanta's Greg Maddux and Boston's John Burkett both pitched
very well. Maddux, nursing a sore calf, left with a 2-1 lead after
five innings. Burkett, part of the Braves' starting rotation the
last two years, left with the score 2-2 after seven.

"We have matched up with some tough pitching,'' Burkett said of
his team's struggles. "I feel like if I make my pitches in the
situations that they scored it would have been a different game.''

Still, he was fortunate that the Braves stranded six runners in
scoring position against him.

"You had two Madduxes on the mound tonight, Burkett and the man
himself,'' Sheffield said. "They keep the ball down and make you
hit their pitch.''

The Red Sox tied it 2-2 with a run in the seventh. Varitek
singled, took second on a walk to Jose Offerman and scored on
Carlos Baerga's double. Nomar Garciaparra was walked intentionally
and Darren Holmes replaced Chris Hammond with the bases loaded.

Manny Ramirez, 2-for-10 since missing more than six weeks with a
broken finger, then lined the ball to the left-field warning track
where Chipper Jones made the catch.

The Red Sox scored the game's first run in the third without a
hit in the inning.

Offerman walked, stole second and took third on Johnny Damon's
groundout. Offerman scored when Garciaparra reached on a throwing
error by third baseman Castilla.

The Braves tied the game in the third when Bragg walked, took
third on Blanco's single and scored when Keith Lockhart grounded
into a double play.

Bragg led off the fifth with a single that hit Burkett and
deflected to second baseman Baerga, who threw into the dugout
allowing Bragg to take second. Bragg scored on Lockhart's RBI
single.

Burkett left after 110 pitches, striking out four and allowing
eight hits and three walks.

Maddux retired the last seven batters he faced and was replaced
by Kevin Gryboski after throwing 74 pitches in five innings. In his
two previous starts, a strained left calf forced him out of the
game after six innings of a 4-2 win over Boston and a 3-2 win over
Detroit, both in Atlanta.

Game notes
Atlanta 2B Lockhart had nine assists, including five in a
row on grounders in the third, fourth and fifth. ... The crowd of
33,137 was Boston's 25th sellout in 35 home games. ... Trot Nixon
is 3-for-19 against Maddux after going 0-for-2 Friday. ... Maddux
hasn't lost in his last 11 starts, going 5-0 since a 4-3 loss April
30 at Milwaukee. ... Burkett was 7-0 in his first nine starts but
0-3 in his last four.