Braves end Phillies four-game win streak

ATLANTA (AP) -- Chipper Jones homered and Greg Maddux got another

win. Still, a more obscure teammate made the biggest play for the

Atlanta Braves.


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Darren Bragg, who entered the game after Gold Glove center

fielder Andruw Jones was overcome by the stifling heat, made a

brilliant catch in the seventh inning Saturday to preserve a 5-3

victory over the Philadelphia Phillies.

"We're getting help from everywhere,'' said Maddux, who allowed

one earned run in 5 2/3 innings to bounce back from his first loss

in nearly three months. "The greatest center fielder who's ever

played the game comes out, and Braggsy goes out and makes a catch

that I'm not even sure Andruw would have made.''

The Phillies cut a 4-0 deficit to 4-2 and threatened again in

the seventh when the first two batters singled.

Tim Spooneybarger came in to pitch for the Braves, but Burrell

hit a drive to the wall in right-center that appeared certain to

bring home one run, maybe two.

Bragg drifted back, timed his leap perfectly and made the catch

just below the yellow line as he slammed into the padding.

"I was just hoping it didn't go out,'' Spooneybarger said. "I

was kind of frozen in time like everyone else, just waiting to see

what would happen, and he ended up bringing it back in the park.

That was awesome.''

Bragg's play was symbolic of the entire season for the Braves,

who have baseball's best record (67-37) and are cruising toward

their 11th straight division title. The team is getting

contributions from everyone -- even players such as Bragg, who was

released by the New York Mets in spring training.

"That's the key to a good team,'' Bragg said. "There's 25 guys

on the roster. We've been picking up guys all year and today I

picked up Andruw. That's why we're where we're at.''

Maddux (10-3) earned his 267th victory, snapping Philadelphia's

four-game winning streak and handing Joe Roa his first defeat of

the year at any level.

Maddux took over sole possession of 31st place on the career

list. He had been tied with Bob Feller and Eppa Rixey.

Chipper Jones, whose power numbers are way down this season, hit

a two-run homer in the third, knocking a hanging curve from Roa

into the Braves bullpen to give Maddux a four-run cushion.

Chipper Jones has only two homers in the past five weeks and 11

for the season, far below his average of 38 the last four years.

"I'm trying to downplay it as much as possible,'' he said.

"I'm more concerned with being a tough out and a .300 hitter. I

don't consider myself a 40-homer guy.''

Roa (0-1) made his first major league start since July 24, 1997.

He spent most of this season at Triple-A Scranton, where he went

14-0 with a 1.86 earned-run average.

Roa lasted only four innings, giving up six hits and four runs.

"It's been 26 starts since I lost at any level,'' he said. "It

would have been nice to win here and help this team. I'm looking

forward to my next start.''

Gary Sheffield gave Atlanta a 1-0 lead with a first-inning

double, extending his team record of reaching base to 52

consecutive games.

Sheffield had another RBI in the eighth on a sacrifice fly after

the Phillies closed the gap to 4-3.

Maddux, whose seven-game winning streak ended in his previous

start, breezed through the first five innings and struck out the

first two hitters in the sixth. He didn't get another out, giving

up an RBI single to Travis Lee and leaving after an error by first

baseman Wes Helms.

Chris Hammond allowed a single to Marlon Anderson, bringing in

an unearned run.

Lee tripled in the eighth off Mike Remlinger and scored on

Anderson's RBI groundout. But John Smoltz struck out two in a

perfect ninth for his 38th save in 41 chances.

The start of the game was delayed 45 minutes by rain, then began

in sweltering heat.

The Georgia humidity took its toll on plate umpire Mark

Hirschbeck, who already was feeling ill before the game. He had to

leave in the middle of the third inning.

"It's one of the hottest days I've ever seen here in Atlanta,''

Chipper Jones said. "I had to change my shirt three times because

it was soaking wet.''

Game notes
Having split the first two games with the Phillies, the

Braves head into Sunday with a chance to extend their streak

without losing a series to 23 in a row. They are 18-0-4 since

dropping two of three games to the Dodgers in early May. ... Both

center fielders made diving catches in the first. Andruw Jones

snared a liner by Bobby Abreu to end the top half, then Doug

Glanville made a tumbling grab to rob Rafael Furcal of a hit in the

bottom half.