Monday, August 12, 2002

Braves 13, Astros 3



The Associated Press

        HOUSTON — Chipper Jones had a career-high five hits and scored three runs, and Kevin Millwood won for the ninth time in 10 decisions as the Atlanta Braves routed the Houston Astros 13-3 Sunday.

        “You don't forget five hit games,” Jones said. “It was one of those days when everything was falling in or just beyond someone's reach.”

        Atlanta had a season-high 20 hits in winning for the 10th time in 12 games. Every Braves starter had a hit. The 20 hits were the most allowed by Houston pitchers since June 24, 2000, when the San Francisco Giants had 22.

        “In this ballpark if you get the ball up a little it's against the wall or out,” Atlanta manager Bobby Cox said. “Today we had line drives, we had bloopers fall in, we had high hoppers, everything we hit fell in.”

        Millwood (11-6) gave up two runs on six hits, while striking out six and walking two in five innings. The Braves have won 14 of his last 16 starts.

        “I don't know if I've been any better. In '99 I was pitching like this,” Millwood said. “It is one of those things, you get on a roll and you do everything you can to keep it going.”

        Jones, who did not start Saturday because of a strained right hamstring, doubled in the second and third innings, and singled in the fourth, seventh and ninth. He also walked in the fifth inning.

        “I felt good. When I came in I told Bobby that I was fine, but sometimes with an 18-game lead it's better to err on the side of caution. But who doesn't want to hit here,” Jones said.

        Houston lost for just the fifth time in its last 16 games.

        “It was a bad game, they blew us out,” Houston's Jeff Bagwell said. “It happens every once in a while. You just have to put it behind you. We still have plenty of time for us to get back in it, we just have to play a little better.”

        Atlanta went ahead 8-2 after a five-run third inning, aided by one of Houston's season high-tying three errors.

        Matt Franco led off with a single and scored on Gary Sheffield's 21st home run of the season. Chipper Jones then doubled, moved to third on a wild pitch by Dave Mlicki (4-6) and scored when shortstop Julio Lugo made a bad throw on Andruw Jones' grounder for an error. Henry Blanco drove in Jones with a single and scored on a double by Rafael Furcal.

        Mlicki lasted just 2 1-3 innings. He gave up eight runs — six earned — on eight hits.

        The Braves increased their lead to 10-2 in the fourth when Vinny Castilla hit a sacrifice fly and Andruw Jones scored on a bases loaded catcher's interference call against Greg Zaun with Millwood at-bat.

        Atlanta added two runs in the sixth on Furcal's sixth home run of the season.

        Orlando Merced hit his sixth home run of the season in the sixth inning to cut the Houston deficit to 12-3.

        Houston took a 2-0 lead in the first innings on a two-run double by Daryle Ward. Ward's hit followed singles by Julio Lugo and Lance Berkman.

        Atlanta moved ahead 3-2 in the second on a sacrifice fly by Castilla and a two-run single by Millwood.

        Notes: Houston rookie Ricky Stone has made 58 appearances this season. The team record for the most appearances by a rookie in a season is 61 set in 1986 by Charlie Kerfled ... Bagwell is one of only three major leaguers to have hit at least 250 home runs and stolen at least 100 bases since 1996. He has 256 home runs and 126 steals. The others are Barry Bonds (308 homers/149 stolen bases) and Alex Rodriguez (273/151) ... Houston general manager Gerry Hunsicker announced Sunday that the Astros have signed Derick Grigsby, their first round selection in the June 2002 first-year player draft. Grigsby, a right-hander, is from Northeast Texas Community College. He was the 29th overall selection in the draft. ... Andruw Jones left in the fifth inning after fouling a ball off of his left leg. ... Sheffield injured his left hand swinging a bat in the seventh inning. He left the game and is listed as day-to-day.

       



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