Atlanta bats zing in second game

DENVER (AP) -- The clutch hits that eluded the Atlanta Braves in
the first game of their doubleheader against Colorado were
plentiful in Game 2.

Johnny Estrada and Jesse Garcia each hit two-run singles in
Atlanta's six-run eighth inning, and the Braves split a
doubleheader with an 11-7 victory over the Colorado Rockies on
Saturday night.

"We haven't left men on base much this year, we have been
driving them in for the most part," Atlanta manager Bobby Cox
said. "We left 14 on in the first game, but we had clutch after
clutch after clutch tonight, especially from our bench guys,
Johnny Estrada and Jesse Garcia."

Trailing 7-5, the Braves loaded the bases and Estrada drove in
two with two outs off Vladimir Nunez. Adam LaRoche followed with a
walk to load the bases again, and Garcia followed with his two-run
single to give Atlanta a 9-7 lead.

"We had to come up with some clutch hits today," said Garcia,
who was 3-for-4 in the nightcap. "And with two outs, it was a big
hit, and I took advantage of the situation."

Julio Franco added a two-run double in the eighth inning.
C.J. Nitkowski (1-0) retired the only batter he faced in the
seventh to earn the win.

Nunez (3-1) got the victory in Game 1 as the Rockies won 3-2 on
Mark Sweeney's sacrifice fly in the eighth inning, but Nunez took
the loss in the nightcap.

Colorado took a 7-5 lead on a two-run homer by Vinny Castilla in
the seventh inning off starter John Thomson.

Thomson gave up 10 hits and seven runs in 6 2/3 innings.

Rockies starter Scott Elarton went six innings and gave up five
runs, but factor in the decision. He's winless in his last five
starts, and last won Sept 19, 2003.

The Braves got to Elarton for three runs in the fifth that
included a two-run double to left by Thomson. Wise drove in Thomson
with a double.

Hawpe tied it 5-5 in the sixth with a two-run homer.
In the opener, Colorado beat Atlanta for the first time since
Aug. 18, 2002.

Nunez worked a scoreless eighth for the win, and Shawn Chacon
got three outs for his sixth save in seven chances despite giving
up a triple to Andruw Jones in the ninth.

With the score tied, Charles Johnson reached on an infield hit
to lead off the eighth and Kit Pellow sent him to third with a
one-out single to right against Chris Reitsma (1-1). Sweeney
followed with a fly to center that scored Johnson and gave Colorado
the lead.

"We didn't get enough strikes out of the bullpen in the eighth
inning," Colorado manager Clint Hurdle said. "We didn't attack
the zone."

The Rockies scored twice in the fifth to erase a 2-0 deficit.
Pinch-hitter Todd Greene drove in Matt Holliday with a double to
right to make it 2-1. Aaron Miles singled and Royce Clayton walked
to load the bases, and Braves starter Mike Hampton walked Castilla
to tie it.

"With Vinny up there, he is pretty aggressive," Hampton said.
"I thought he would come up swinging with the bases loaded, but he

Hampton pitched five innings and gave up two runs and five hits
in failing to pick up his first win of the season. Hampton, a
member of the Rockies from 2001-02, was booed when introduced
before every plate appearance.

The Braves left two runners on in each of in the last two
innings of Game 1.

Jones was on third base with one out in the ninth when left
fielder Denny Hocking dropped his fly ball in the ninth, but Chacon
retired LaRoche and Garcia to end the game.

Joe Kennedy allowed two runs and six hits in five innings -- his
shortest outing of the season for Colorado.

"Kennedy had a good game and minimized the damage and kept them
from scoring," Hurdle said. "He wasn't as sharp as his previous
four outings, but he gave us a chance to win the game."

Atlanta went up 2-0 in the third on J.D. Drew's RBI triple and
Damon Hollins' RBI double.

Notes: 1B Franco rejoined the Braves after missing the entire San
Francisco with an inner-ear infection. ... Colorado reliever Tim
Harikkala had a string of 22 consecutive batters retired ended when
he walked Drew in the seventh. ... Clayton had his 12-game hitting
streak ended in the second game.