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Brown wins his third straight decision for Dodgers

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Kevin Brown's career numbers could be just as
impressive as those of four-time Cy Young winner Greg Maddux -- had
Brown not been on the disabled list 10 times.

He looked like a Cy Young contender Wednesday night against the
Atlanta ace, winning his third straight decision as the Los Angeles
Dodgers beat the Braves 5-1 Wednesday night.

Brown (4-1), who has allowed one earned run in each of his last
four starts, scattered five hits over seven innings and struck out
seven.

"Physically, I'm throwing as good as I have in a long time,"
Brown said. "Now it's just a matter of continuing to work, trying
to refine my pitches and keep trying to find a way to get a little
bit better."

Pitching with runners on base in every inning except the first,
Brown issued his only two walks to open the sixth. Rafael Furcal
scored on an RBI grounder by Chipper Jones.

Guillermo Mota finished with two perfect innings, striking out
three. The game lasted just 2 hours, 17 minutes.

Fred McGriff hit his 484th home run and Shawn Green hit a
two-run double to help hand the NL East-leading Braves only their
fifth loss in 28 games.

A victory would have matched the Braves'
best 28-game stretch since 1914.

"They're hot, and they've been hot. They've been walking right
through people. And they've been doing it with pitching and
offense," Brown said. "It speaks well that we didn't lay down
tonight against a tough lineup and a tough pitcher."

The rare matchup of All-Star pitchers who both have World Series
rings and own six ERA titles between them drew only 29,343. It was
the first time Brown faced Maddux since May 30, 1999, and only the
fourth time in the regular season.

The other three resulted in
no-decisions for both.

"It's just the luck of the draw, as far as who you're facing on
a given night," Brown said. "They throw a great lineup at you, so
I knew it was going to be tough against Maddux. But my job is to
worry about facing that lineup, not about what Greg's doing. So the
approach doesn't really change -- except for realizing that it could
be a tough game.

"Anytime you face off against the Braves, it's hard not to have
at least some memories of the playoffs. But as soon as you step on
the field and start the game, all that stuff goes right out the
window."

Brown beat Maddux in Game 1 of the 1997 NL championship series
while with the Florida Marlins. They both pitched late-inning
relief in Game 5 of the 1998 NLCS -- with Brown taking the loss for
San Diego and Maddux ending up with a save.

"You might enjoy things like that years down the road when you
talk about them. But at the time, you don't. You treat them as any
other game," said Maddux, who homered against Brown on May 30,
1999, in Atlanta. "We only get about 35 chances a year to go out
there and win a game, so you're not really too concerned about who
you're trying to win it against."

Maddux (3-5) allowed four runs and seven hits in six innings,
striking out three and walking one.

The Dodgers opened the scoring in the first when Paul Lo Duca
singled and McGriff lined Maddux's 1-1 pitch into the right-field
pavilion with two outs for his sixth home run this season and the
fourth of his career against his former Atlanta teammate.

Los Angeles increased the margin to 4-0 in the fifth when Brown
singled, Lo Duca walked and Green lined a double into the
right-field corner. Green entered the game 10-for-19 lifetime
against Maddux, a four-time NL ERA champion.

"You can't second-guess your pitch selection until after the
fact," Maddux said. "I missed my location pretty good on Freddie
and he hit it. That's why he's going to hit 500 home runs."

Alex Cora singled in the seventh and scored on a throwing error
by first baseman Robert Fick.

Game notes
Maddux, an eight-time All-Star, is 276-157 lifetime. Brown,
a five-time All-Star, is 187-123. Maddux has won 13 straight Gold
Gloves. Brown is the only one of them to pitch a no-hitter. ...
Dodgers C Todd Hundley, sidelined since May 3 because of a sciatic
nerve condition in his lower back, will have a second epidural
injection Thursday. ... Dodgers CF Dave Roberts, who got his major
league-leading 18th stolen base Tuesday night, sat out for the
second time in three games because of a recurrence of the sore
right hamstring that sidelined him for a week.