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Braves' Back-To-Back Bombs Beat 'Em


A couple of months ago, the Atlanta Braves relished the idea of having Jeff Shaw as their closer. On Monday, it looked like they're better off without him.

Shaw squandered a 3-0 lead for Los Angeles in the eighth inning, giving up back-to-back homers to Javy Lopez and Andruw Jones as the Atlanta Braves rallied to beat the Dodgers 4-3.

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  • The Braves pursued a trade for Shaw when Mark Wohlers suddenly lost his control, but the Dodgers wound up acquiring the relief ace from Cincinnati in a July 4 trade. Atlanta was forced to stick with Kerry Ligtenberg, who hasn't allowed an earned run in 21 games and cruised through the ninth for his 23rd save.

    "The guy everyone wanted couldn't get 'em out, and the guy no one has ever heard of comes in and gets the save," said Tom Glavine (17-5), who joined teammate Greg Maddux as the NL's only 17-game winners. "There's a great sense of irony there."

    The Dodgers broke A scoreless duel between Glavine and Brian Bohanon in the top of the eighth when Trenidad Hubbard scored from first on Gary Sheffield's single. Eric Karros followed with his third homer in two days, a two-run drive that made it 3-0.

    Bohanon was replaced by Shaw (2-6) in the bottom of the eighth after walking Chipper Jones. The Dodgers starter struck out eight and allowed only five hits, but the strong effort was squandered by Shaw, tied for second in the NL with 37 saves.

    Andres Galarraga singled and Lopez belted the 100th homer of his career into the left-field stands to tie it up. The next batter was Andruw Jones, who hit an even longer drive to left on a 3-2 pitch.

    "I jammed Javy at home (in a game earlier this month) and got him out, but he cheated a little on an inside ball today," said Shaw, who gave up four hits and three runs in two-thirds of an inning. "Andruw, I have a game plan with him, to stay away, and I didn't stick to it."

    Jones fouled off several nasty sliders before getting an inside fastball to his liking. "He made a mistake leaving a fastball right over the plate," the center fielder said.

    Glavine (17-5) allowed 10 hits in eight innings before Ligtenberg pitched another scoreless inning, even managing to work around an error by second baseman Tony Graffanino that extended the inning.

    "Things are going well," Ligtenberg said. "It's just a matter of making better pitches, and even when I make a mistake I seem to get away with it. That's partly luck, but it's partly getting people to look for different things."

    The Dodgers are showing no signs of becoming a factor in the wild-card race after getting swept in a three-game series by Atlanta, dropping their August record to 7-15.

    "It's frustrating," Bohanon said. "We have a good ballclub here. Why we're not clicking, I don't know."

    With no score in the eighth, Hubbard led off with a single and one out later was running from first on a 3-2 pitch to Sheffield, who lined a hit just beyond the glove of Galarraga at first.

    Hubbard never slowed rounding third and just beat the throw from Gerald Williams, who seemed to be caught off guard by the runner's daring play. Williams initially looked toward second and double-pumped before coming home, but Hubbard got a foot on the plate just before Lopez's tag.

    The Dodgers could have grabbed the lead in the third, loading the bases with no outs and their 3-4-5 hitters coming up. Raul Mondesi flied to shallow center, Sheffield popped up in front of the plate and Karros grounded out to second.

    "Getting out with no runs was the furthes thing from my mind," Glavine said. "I just wanted to give them two runs and get out of the inning without any further damage."

    Atlanta first scoring chance against Bohanon came in the sixth, when Danny Bautista walked and went to third on Ozzie Guillen's single. Glavine attempted to get the run home with a safety squeeze bunt, but Bohanon scrambled off the mound, bare-handed the ball and flipped it home to get Bautista.

    In the seventh, the Braves failed to take advantage of a bonehead play by Dodgers second baseman Eric Young, who attempted to turn a double play when there were already two outs. All runners were safe to load the bases, but Bohanon escaped by striking out Graffanino.

    Notes

  • Graffanino, leading off for only the second time this year, was 0-for-5 and struck out four times.
  • The Dodgers finished heir last lengthy road trip of the season. Los Angeles plays 21 of its next 31 games at home, and the longest road trip is to Arizona.
  • Attendance at Turner Field was 39,449, breaking a streak of 27 straight games since June 17 with crowds of at least 40,000.
  • The Braves beat the Dodgers eight out of nine times this season.
  • Atlanta manager Bobby Cox got the 1,399th victory of his career, tying him with Wilbert Robinson for 21st place on the career list.
  • The Dodgers have at least 10 hits in four consecutive games, a season high.

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