PHOENIX (AP) -- The Atlanta Braves are playing so well they can
win a game on a pop foul.
Rafael Furcal's popup beyond first base led to two runs in the
11th inning, and the Braves beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 7-4 on
"Sometimes you hit line drives at them and don't score, and
sometimes you hit popups and win,'' Atlanta manager Bobby Cox said
after his team finished its road trip 5-1.
The Braves have won seven of eight overall and 16 of their last
19 after a 4-8 start.
With the bases loaded, one out and the score tied at 4 in the
11th, Furcal popped up behind first base. Mark Grace and second
baseman Junior Spivey collided as Grace made the catch.
Darren Bragg tagged and scored from third on the sacrifice fly,
and Grace's wild throw home bounced into the Arizona dugout for an
error that allowed Vinny Castilla to score from second.
"It was an interesting play,'' Atlanta's John Smoltz said.
"Clipping on Spivey, but this is the type of baseball we've been
playing. We probably should have won yesterday and we probably
shouldn't have won today's game, so they even out. But it was a
great road trip nonetheless.''
Bragg said he knew he was going to try to tag as soon as Furcal
hit the ball.
"It's a tough play for the first baseman, going back like that,
so I figured with one out you've got to give it a shot,'' Bragg
Grace blamed himself, even though a good throw probably wouldn't
have gotten the lead runner. He downplayed the impact the collision
had on the play.
"That's not an excuse,'' Grace said. "I've got to catch that
ball, come up and put it on the button, and I didn't. I'll take
Marcus Giles added an RBI single to make it 7-4. Smoltz, who
blew his first save in 28 appearances Friday night, pitched the
11th for his major league-best 12th save. Trey Hodges (1-0) worked
a scoreless 10th for the victory.
Chris Capuano (0-1) threw a perfect 10th in his major league
the bases to set up the unusual finish.
Arizona manager Bob Brenly thought Capuano pitched well,
considering the circumstances.
"That's a tough situation to be in,'' Brenly said, "an
extra-inning game against the Atlanta Braves. For a first time out,
I know the results weren't what he was hoping for but I wasn't
upset at all with the way he threw the ball.''
The story for Arizona was the same as it's been most of the
"We had plenty of opportunities to win that ballgame way before
he came in the game,'' Brenly said, "and once again we just
couldn't cash them in.''
Spivey and Luis Gonzalez hit consecutive home runs off Greg
Maddux to start the third inning and give Arizona a 4-1 lead.
The Braves tied it with three runs off Diamondbacks starter
series, to make it 4-3.
Robert Fick followed with a double and scored on Blanco's
two-out double, his second RBI of the game.
Cox was ejected by plate umpire Tony Randazzo after a
half-inning. It was the third time the Braves' skipper has been
tossed this season and second on the road trip. Cox lasted slightly
longer than Brenly did Saturday night. He was ejected after three
batters and no outs in the top of the first.
A fielding error by Furcal at shortstop led to two unearned
Arizona runs in the first.
Walks to Andruw Jones and Castilla followed by Blanco's two-out
RBI single cut the lead to 2-1 in the second.
Spivey, who started the season 3-for-45, homered for the third
time in three games.
Capuano and Scott Service, who pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings,
arrived an hour before the game from Edmonton after being called up
from Triple-A Tucson. Capuano's appearance came exactly one year
after he injured his pitching elbow and had to undergo "Tommy
They were summoned because Arizona placed pitchers Byung Hyun-Kim and Stephen Randolph on the 15-day disabled list.
Atlanta has won nine of 10 on the road. ... Andruw Jones
leads the NL with 31 RBI. ... Gary Sheffield missed the entire
three-game series to attend the funeral of his wife's grandmother
in Chicago. ... The Diamondbacks' Steve Finley hit his 100th career
triple with one out in the eighth but did not score.
- Home Plate Umpire - Tony Randazzo
- First Base Umpire - Tim Mcclelland
- Second Base Umpire - Ted Barrett
- Third Base Umpire - C.B. Bucknor