Wednesday, July 25, 2001

Burkett not used to getting tagged

The Associated Press

        ATLANTA — Braves starter John Burkett didn't feel like an ERA leader after losing to the Reds 11-3 Tuesday night.

        Burkett (7-8) allowed seven runs — four earned — in six innings. The right-hander's ERA rose from 2.38 to 2.51.

        The second straight loss dropped Atlanta's NL East lead to one game over Philadelphia.

        “Sometimes when it's your turn to pitch and your team is facing some adversity, you want to do good. I didn't do everything I've always done. All I can do is go back out and do it again next time,” Burkett said.

        “The biggest thing I'm disappointed in is if I'd kept it at 4-2 we could've won this game. I felt like if I could've made good pitches there, I would've kept us in it.”

        Ahead 4-2, the Reds scored three runs in the fifth. Aaron Boone had an RBI double and Jason LaRue a two-run single to make it 7-2.

        In his last seven starts, Burkett is 1-3, a span of 45 innings that has included a 2.60 ERA.

        Burkett had gone 14 starts without allowing four earned runs. He gave up a season-high five earned runs in an 8-0 loss at Florida on April 7 and allowed four earned runs in a no-decision on opening day and a 5-0 loss to Milwaukee on May 3.

        “The last time he pitched like that that I can remember was April 7,” Braves pitching coach Leo Mazzone said. “He just left the ball up in the fifth when he shouldn't have.”

        The Reds took a 9-2 lead in seventh off John Smoltz, who made his second relief appearance in three days. Smoltz gave up two unearned runs on LaRue's RBI single and Juan Castro's sacrifice fly.


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