Thursday, August 26, 1999

Boone exemplifies Braves' play


Bret does little things at clutch times

BY JOHN FAY
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        ATLANTA — Bret Boone was talking about his team, the Atlanta Braves, in general. “We did what we had to to beat (the Reds),” Boone said. But Boone could have been talking about himself specifically.

        The Joneses, Chipper and Andruw, swung the big bats in Atlanta's three-game sweep of the Reds, which the Braves completed with a 5-2 victory Wednesday at Turner Field.

        But Boone was the guy who did the little things to beat his old team and his younger brother, Aaron, the Reds' third baseman.

        Bret had three key hits, stole a pair of bases and scored four runs in the series. He also played sterling defense. He took away probably four hits in the series.

        “Boonie was all over the field,” Braves manager Bobby Cox said. “He had a great series.”

        Boone's major contribution Wednesday came in the first inning. The Reds had taken a 1-0 lead in their half of the first.

        Gerald Williams led off for Atlanta with a double. Boone decided to put the pressure on the Reds' defense.

        “You want to set the tone and get that run back,” Boone said. “I was going to take a pitch and then bunt. If I bunt (Williams) over, with the way Chipper (Jones) is swinging the bat, he's going to get him in.”

        Boone did better than that. His bunt fell in no-man's land toward first. The Reds had no play, and the Braves had men on first and third with no outs. They took a 3-1 lead two outs later on Andruw Jones' three-run homer.

        “I hit second,” Boone said. “You've got to do other things. I like to get him in with a hit, but my job is to set up the guys hitting behind me.”

        Monday, Boone set the tone by hitting a one-out single in the first after the Reds went up 1-0. He ended up scoring that day on Chipper Jones' three-run homer.

        Boone was a shining example of the Braves' style in the series.

        “You get a run, they get two or three,” Reds manager Jack McKeon said. “They don't give you an inch.”

        The sweep makes the Braves 6-0 against the Reds since the Boone trade last fall.

        “It's only natural that you want to do well against your old team,” Boone said, “especially when you spent as much time some place as I did there.

        “But there's no bitterness toward the Reds, no resentment. ... They sent me to a place where I'm in a very good situation.

        “We've got a good team over here. The Mets have a good team. Arizona and Houston are good, and so are the Reds.”

       



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