ATLANTA (AP) -- It's hard to say who was more responsible for the
latest Atlanta victory -- Matt Franco or the bullpen.
Either way, the Braves are turning the NL East into a race for
Franco hit his first career grand slam, and five relief pitchers
held the Montreal Expos to one run over six innings to lead Atlanta
past Montreal 7-5 Monday night.
The Braves trailed 4-1 after three innings but won for the 11th
in 12 games to push their lead in the NL East to 9 1/2 games over the
Expos, who lost their third straight.
"You get down early in the game, you got all night to win it,''
Atlanta manager Bobby Cox said.
Glavine wasn't sure if he would make his next start.
"It feels good in between but once I get out in the game and
turn it up and try to hold onto the ball and get it down where I
want to, it starts causing that friction again,'' he said. "It's
really raw and it gets sore.''
Glavine suffered the same blister problem in his previous start
last Thursday against the New York Mets. Against the Expos, Glavine
gave up four runs and seven hits, including homers by Vladimir
Guerrero and Fernando Tatis.
In his 16th season, he said he's never had blisters before this
"That's why I don't understand it,'' he said. "It's new to
Jose Vidro homered off Smoltz to start the ninth. Orlando
Cabrera, who had four hits, lined out to center field with two
runners on to end it.
The Braves' bullpen now has a major league-leading 2.32 ERA.
"We're on a roll right now,'' Ligtenberg said. "It seems every
night we're chomping at the bit to get out there and get people out
and keep winning ballgames. It's been a lot of fun.''
Rafael Furcal singled to load the bases, and Franco followed
with a line drive over the scoreboard in right to give Atlanta a
5-4 lead. It was his first career slam.
Franco, who signed with the Braves as a minor league free agent
in the offseason, has hit four home runs since he was called up
from Triple-A Richmond on May 29. He's hitting .364.
Despite a standing ovation after his homer, Franco didn't
immediately come out of the dugout for the curtain call.
"I wasn't sure that's what they wanted,'' he said with a grin.
"A couple of the guys finally pushed me out there.''
The Expos took a 4-1 lead in the third. Jose Macias doubled and
moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Vidro. After Guerrero walked,
Tatis hit a fly ball to right that barely carried over the wall for
a three-run homer.
"It was a tough one, with the situation we're in,'' Montreal
manager Frank Robinson said. "Coming in here, we had to win every
game in this series. We got out to a good start, but give them
Guerrero and Gary Sheffield traded solo shots in the first to
leave the game tied at 1.
Atlanta catcher Javy Lopez had a tough night. He let one of
Ligtenberg's curves scoot between his legs for a passed ball in the
fifth, and committed a more serious blunder in the sixth.
With two on, he failed to run out a pop up in the middle of the
infield, breaking his bat over his knee instead. But Vazquez
dropped the ball, and Lopez was an easy out at first. Vinny
Castilla, who was on first, was tagged out also for a double play.
Atlanta RHP Jason Marquis pinch-hit for Glavine in the
third inning, striking out on three pitches. ... Vidro, who's .334
average entering the game led the team, had a sacrifice bunt in the
third inning, moving Macias over to third. It appeared the bunt
might be good enough for a hit, but Vidro jogged to first and was
Mets and Padres square off to start the NL Wild Card Series
San Diego Padres (89-73, second in the NL West during the regular season) vs. New York Mets (101-61, second in the NL East during the regular season)
Blue Jays host the Mariners in Game 1 of AL Wild Card Series
Seattle Mariners (90-72, second in the AL West during the regular season) vs. Toronto Blue Jays (92-70, second in the AL East during the regular season)
Cardinals host the Phillies in Game 1 of NL Wild Card Series
Philadelphia Phillies (87-75, third in the NL East during the regular season) vs. St. Louis Cardinals (93-69, first in the NL Central during the regular season)
Guardians and Rays meet to start the AL Wild Card Series
Tampa Bay Rays (86-76, third in the AL East during the regular season) vs. Cleveland Guardians (92-70, first in the AL Central during the regular season)
Cardinals vs. Phillies: Who will be victorious?
Tyler Fulghum breaks down the evenly-matched Cardinals and Phillies Wild Card series.
Mets or Padres: Who will come out on top?
Tyler Fulghum breaks down why Max Scherzer will be the deciding factor that will lead the Mets to victory over the Padres.