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Millwood remains hot, leads Braves to victory

ATLANTA (AP) -- Chipper Jones had a long, trying day. He felt
better when it was over.

Jones hit a mammoth two-run homer and Kevin Millwood pitched
eight strong innings, carrying the Atlanta Braves to a 4-1 victory
over the Colorado Rockies on Friday night.

The previous night, Jones didn't leave Turner Field until nearly
2 a.m. because of a game extended by rain. After a few hours of
sleep, he flew to Florida for his mother-in-law's funeral. Then, he
hustled back to Atlanta intent on playing.

"It's kind of a double-edge sword,'' Jones said. "My wife
needs me. I feel a little guilty, but my teammates need me, too.
I'm stretched a little thin trying to make everyone happy.''

Manager Bobby Cox made out two lineup cards, knowing Jones might
not arrive at Turner Field in time. He got to the clubhouse about
an hour before the first pitch, munched on a hamburger, took a few
swings in the batting cage and was ready to go.

"I'm a little tired,'' he said, "but at least I get to go home

Jones sealed the victory for the Braves with a 428-foot shot
into the right-field stands against Shawn Chacon (5-10).

Right fielder Larry Walker didn't even move as the ball soared
over his head for Jones' 17th homer of the season.

Millwood (12-6) handled things on the mound, retiring 21 of 24
hitters after giving up a run in the first. He gave up five hits,
struck out six and didn't walk anyone.

"I felt like I was able to locate my fastball pretty well,
which set up everything else,'' said Millwood, who won for the 10th
time in 11 starts. "I threw some good curveballs, but that all
comes from locating your heater.''

Millwood was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the eighth, denying
him a chance to pitch his first complete game since Sept. 19, 1999.
That season, he won 18 games and finished third in the Cy Young

Over the last two seasons, Millwood battled injuries and slumped
to 17-20. Now, at age 27, he appears to have regained the form that
once made him one of baseball's most dominant pitchers.

"I think my pitches are about as good as they were in '99,''
Millwood said. "The only difference is I'm a better pitcher now. I
know how to get guys out a little better. I can read guys a little

John Smoltz struck out Juan Uribe for his 43rd save in 47
chances after Colorado loaded the bases with two outs in the ninth.

Millwood retired the first two hitters of the game, then
surrendered a run. Walker doubled and came home on Todd Helton's
single to right.

"I thought I made a good pitch to Walker, he just hit it really
good,'' Millwood said. "I made a good pitch to Helton, he just hit
it off the end of his bat. Nothing you can do about that.''

After that, it was the Rockies who were helpless against

"He threw the ball really well,'' said Helton, who had three of
Colorado's six hits. "He threw a combination of fastballs, sliders
and cutters. That turns it into a guessing game.''

In the bottom half of the first, Rafael Furcal used his speed to
create the tying run. He led off with a single, stole second, moved
to third on a groundout and scored on Andruw Jones' sacrifice fly,
which was actually just a pop into short right.

Second baseman Justin Butler made the catch backing up and,
apparently surprised, double-pumped when he saw Furcal breaking for
home. That gave the runner enough time to graze the plate with his
left hand before catcher Gary Bennett could make the tag.

Furcal put the Braves ahead for good with an RBI single in the
fifth. Millwood got down a sacrifice bunt, moving Keith Lockhart to
second, and Furcal came through with a two-out hit.

Chacon gave up just five hits in six innings, but the Braves
made him pay for every mistake.

"I feel like I have to be super perfect right now,'' he said.
"The losses keep piling up.''

Game notes
The Rockies outhit the Braves 6-5. ... Andruw Jones went
1-for-3 with an RBI on the sixth anniversary of his first big
league homer. ... A brawl nearly broke out in the seventh when
Braves RF Gary Sheffield was hit on the right leg with a 2-2 pitch
by Kent Mercker. Sheffield slammed down his helmet and had to be
restrained by the Rockies catcher. Several players from the
bullpens and dugouts stepped on the field, but order was restored
without any punches being thrown. ... The game drew 30,504 on the
day baseball's players announced an Aug. 30 strike date unless a
new labor agreement is reached. ... Braves C Javy Lopez, activated
from the DL before the game, went 0-for-4.