Franco hits go-ahead, 2-run double in 7th

ATLANTA (AP) -- Julio Franco showed that at 45 his memory is

still as strong as his swing.

Facing Julian Tavarez as a pinch hitter for the second time in

as many days, Franco delivered a go-ahead, two-run double in the

seventh inning to lift the Atlanta Braves over the St. Louis

Cardinals 9-7 Saturday in a matchup of division leaders.

In the eighth inning Friday night, Tavarez threw Franco an

inside sinker, and Franco grounded out.

"I figured he would throw me the same pitch," Franco said. "I

was thinking if he threw the same pitch I could get inside of it

and go the other way."

Franco lined the first pitch from Tavarez into the right-field

corner, driving in Nick Green and J.D. Drew and send the Cardinals

to only their third loss in 11 games.

Chipper Jones homered twice, and Andruw Jones and Rafael Furcal

also homered for the Braves, who opened a season-high eight-game

lead over second-place Philadelphia in the NL East. Furcal had four


Albert Pujols homered twice for St. Louis, raising his total to

35 and tying Cincinnati's Adam Dunn and Philadelphia's Jim Thome

for the major league lead.

Both teams are 21-7 since the All-Star break.

"Those were two teams standing toe to toe," Chipper Jones

said. "You had a little bit of everything, a lot of power, a lot

of home runs, good defense, bad defense. ... It was just a

roller-coaster ride from a momentum standpoint."

St. Louis, 12½ games ahead of second-place Chicago in the NL

Central, took a 7-6 lead with an unearned run in the seventh off

Antonio Alfonseca (6-4). With runners on first and second and one

out, pinch-hitter Roger Cedeno grounded to first baseman Adam

LaRoche, whose throw was dropped at second base by Furcal for an

error that allowed Edgar Renteria to score.

Nick Green flied to left against Ray King (4-2) leading off the

bottom half, and Larry Walker lost the ball in the sun as Green

reached with a double.

"I could have had a welder's mask on, and still I wouldn't have

caught that ball," Walker said.

J.D. Drew walked, prompting Cardinals manager Tony La Russa to

bring in Tavarez to face Franco. After his double, Franco scored on

a two-out single by pinch-hitter Johnny Estrada.

John Smoltz, the Braves' sixth pitcher, got four outs for his

29th save in 31 chances.

Jason Marquis made his first start against Atlanta, his former

team, and allowed a career-high four homers in five innings. He

gave up six runs and 10 hits, both matching season highs, but his

streak of nine straight winning decisions remained intact when the

Cardinals rallied from a 6-3 deficit to tie the game.

"I wanted to come in here and have a good showing, and it went

the other way," Marquis said. "My team kept coming back, and I

kept letting them down."

Atlanta's Russ Ortiz gave up six runs, eight hits and four walks

in five innings.

Pujols' first homer of the game gave the Cardinals a 2-0 lead in

the first inning, but the Braves went ahead 3-2 in the second.

Chipper Jones and Andruw Jones homered, Eddie Perez doubled with

two outs and a Marquis pitch sent Ortiz sprawling. The umpires

huddled to decide whether the pitch hit Ortiz or the bottom of his

bat, and Ortiz took off his batting glove to show the spot the ball

hit his left hand.

Ortiz had the hand wrapped after the game.

After Ortiz was awarded first base and Cardinals manager Tony La

Russa argued, Furcal singled for a 3-2 lead.

Chipper Jones homered again in the third, but Marquis' two-out

RBI single in the fourth pulled St. Louis to 4-3. Furcal hit a

two-run homer in the bottom half.

Pujols' second homer and Renteria's sacrifice fly cut the lead

to 6-5 in the fifth, and Walker's RBI single off Tom Martin tied

the score in the sixth.

Each team had disputes with plate umpire B.B. Bucknor's strike

zone, and in the sixth inning Bucknor and Chipper Jones exchanged

words when Jones, still upset about a call the previous inning,

complained from his position at third base.Game notes
St. Louis LF Reggie Sanders got his fifth assist when he

threw out Furcal at second base when Furcal tried to stretch a

single leading. ... Chipper Jones and Andruw Jones homered in the

same game for the first time this season. Chipper Jones' first

homer traveled an estimated 450 feet -- the sixth-longest homer in

Turner Field history. ... Marquis went 2-for-3 and has nine RBI

this season. He has hits in five of his last six starts. ... Pujols

has 10 multihomer games, including four this season. Jones' first

multihomer game of the season raised his total to 29.