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Braves Beat Philly, Claim 1st


Chipper Jones is finally involved in a tight pennant race with the Atlanta Braves. He thrived on the pressure Saturday night.

Jones scored three times, drove in a run and turned a critical, eighth-inning double play as the Braves beat the Philadelphia Phillies 8-6 to reclaim first place in the NL East.

"Everybody knows what they've got to do," Jones said. "It's gut-check time. It's been a long time since this team's been in second place this late in the season."

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Game Summary

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  • The Braves have won seven division titles this decade, and Jones has been a central figure in four of them. But this is the first year since Jones joined the team in 1993 that Atlanta has been in a close race this late in the season.

    The win, combined with New York's 17-10 loss to the Cubs, gave the Braves a half-game lead over the Mets.

    Jones made a key defensive play at third with one out in the eighth.

    Closer John Rocker had walked in two runs, trimming Atlanta's lead to 8-6, and the bases were loaded with Rico Brogna at the plate.

    Jones made a diving catch of Brogna's check-swing liner, then jumped to his feet and quickly threw to first. Randall Simon tagged Scott Rolen, who was diving back to first, to end the inning.

    "I was standing in the right spot, and I made the throw to first," said Jones, who was playing in to guard against a bunt.

    Brian Jordan provided the bulk of the offense with a two-run homeand four RBIs. He hit his 19th homer in the seventh off Jim Poole as the Braves ended the Phillies' three-game winning streak.

    "Guys were teasing me, that I had no pop," said Jordan, who ended an 0-for-18 skid Friday after returning from a neck injury that sidelined him for the previous four games. "I showed 'em I still have some pop."

    Tom Glavine's decision to pitch the seventh inning, and poor relief appearances by Rudy Seanez and Rocker nearly cost the Braves.

    With Otis Nixon ready to pinch-hit for him in the sixth, Glavine (9-9) talked Braves manager Bobby Cox into letting him remain in the game.

    "I just felt like if I could go one more inning, it would give the bullpen a break," Glavine said. "My velocity was still good."

    Glavine had escaped one-one trouble in the top half of the inning with runners on first and third.

    Jordan caught a fly ball from pinch-hitter Kevin Sefcik and made a perfect throw from right field that held Mike Lieberthal at third. Glavine then retired Doug Glanville on a grounder to end the threat.

    Glavine was not so fortunate in the seventh. After issuing a leadoff walk to Ron Gant and a one-out walk to Scott Rolen, the left-hander gave up a two-run double to Rico Brogna that cut Atlanta's lead to 6-4.

    Glavine, who was replaced by Rudy Seanez, gave up nine hits, four runs and four walks in 6 1-3 innings.

    Seanez gave the Phillies a chance to get back in the game in the eighth when he loaded the bases with one out.

    Rocker, who hadn't pitched since facing the Phillies last Sunday, walked in two runs before Jones turned the double play. Rocker also worked the ninth to earn his 21st save in 25 opportunities.

    "Rock looked a little rusty," Cox said. "He hadn't pitched in a while, but he got the job done in the ninth."

    Phillies starter Robert Person (5-3) had a four-game winning streak snapped. Person, who was chased with onout in the fourth, gave up eight hits and six runs, four earned.

    After walking Glavine with one out in the third inning and giving up a double to Ozzie Guillen that moved Glavine to third, Person watched Doug Glanville misplay Keith Lockhart's sacrifice fly.

    Glanville, who dropped the ball in center, was charged with an error as Glavine scored for a 4-2 Atlanta lead, and Guillen moved to third.

    A groundout by Jones scored Guillen, and an RBI single by Jordan scored Lockhart as the Braves went up 6-2.

    "I wasn't hitting my spots, and when I seemed to make a pitch, I wasn't getting the call," Person said. "The Braves are a good team, a great team. They don't need any help."

    Jordan put Atlanta ahead 1-0 with an RBI single in the first.

    The Phillies took a 2-1 lead in the second on Marlon Anderson's RBI triple and Person's RBI single.

    Greg Myers' second-inning solo homer tied the game 2-2, and Andruw Jones put the Braves up 3-2 in the third with an RBI triple.

    Notes:

  • Atlanta catcher Eddie Perez, who did not play, had his left elbow wrapped before the game. Perez said the bandage he wore was only precautionary. Perez said he had no ill feelings toward Paul Byrd, the Phillies starter who hit him with a pitch and set the stage for a bench-clearing brawl Friday.
  • Braves leadoff hitters entered the game with a combined .237 average.

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