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Braves' Maddux Earns Win No. 17


Greg Maddux couldn't believe the grim statistics. Most home runs he has allowed in a game. First time he has given up back-to-back homers.

"Wow! Is that right?" Maddux said after being pounded for 10 hits and seven earned runs in five innings Sunday night. "Well, at least I got a win out of it."

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  • Andres Galarraga hit his 40th homer a day after being ejected for charging the mound, and the Atlanta bullpen allowed only one hit over the final four innings as the Atlanta Braves defeated the reeling Los Angeles Dodgers 12-7 Sunday night.

    "They hit me good, man," said Maddux, the NL's first 17-game winner. "They hit me hard. But I've got some good teammates. The offense was great."

    The four-time Cy Young Award winner, coming off his 200th win and leading the majors with a 1.65 ERA, managed to hang on until the fifth because Dodgers starter Carlos Perez was even worse.

    After being given a 4-0 lead in the first, Maddux (17-6) gave up back-to-back homers to Gary Sheffield and Eric Karros -- the first time that's happened in the right-hander's 13-year career.

    Maddux added another grim footnote to his resume in the third, giving up a three-run homer to Karros that gave the Dodgers a 6-5 lead and mrked the first time the Atlanta pitcher has ever allowed three homers in a game. This season, in fact, he hadn't given up more than one homer in any game.

    "It's one of those crazy things, I guess," Braves manager Bobby Cox said. "You know it's crazy when it takes almost four hours (actually three hours, 11 minutes) to play a game with Greg Maddux pitching. We should have had 2½ hours sleep by now."

    Galarraga was ejected from Saturday's game for charging the mound in the second inning after being hit by a Darren Dreifort pitch. But he shook off the likelihood of a suspension, delivering a more effective blow by becoming the fifth player in the majors with 40 homers.

    He's the first Atlanta player since David Justice in 1993 to reach the 40-homer mark, but it was the third consecutive year for the Big Cat, who did it the last two years for Colorado.

    Galarraga became the first player to hit 40 homers in consecutive seasons for two different teams.

    "I just tried to forget what happened yesterday," he said. "I got lucky. Perez threw me a fastball down the middle and I hit a home run."

    Maddux left for a pinch-hitter in the fifth, his ERA climbing to 1.91 on a night when he got only two ground ball outs and surrendered the most runs since giving up seven in a 19-8 loss at Colorado's Coors Field on June 7, 1996.

    The only time Maddux has allowed more than seven runs in 393 career starts was Aug. 5, 1988, when he was a 22-year-old pitching for the Chicago Cubs. On that day, the Phillies roughed him up for eight runs.

    Perez (7-13) is still seeking his first win since being traded from Montreal to the Dodgers on July 31. In 3 1/3 innings, he was pounded for nine hits, walked four and equaled his career high with eight earned runs (nine overall).

    After having no trouble scoring against Maddux, the Dodgers were shut out by the Atlanta bullpen. Russ Springer worked two hitless innings before Dennis Martinez and Norm Charlton each pitched an inning to finish up.

    Karros had the 10th two-homer game of his career and five RBI. Still, the Dodgers remained eight games behind the Mets in the NL wild-card race after losing for the 12th time in 18 games.

    "We hadn't been scoring any runs but were getting good pitching," Karros said. "Tonight, we got the runs but didn't get any pitching."

    As for the playoffs, he said, "It is getting more and more improbable, but it's not impossible. I still think it can be accomplished. There's been frustration, but there's a lot of time left."

    The Braves jumped on top in the first on a pair of two-run homers. After Galarraga's drive into the center-field seats, Eddie Perez hit his fourth homer, a towering shot down the left-field line.

    Atlanta went ahead for good with three runs in the fourth. Maddux sparked the rally by leading off with his second walk against Perez, then scored the run that broke a 6-6 tie on Bobby Bonilla's error. Galaraga and Andruw Jones followed with run-scoring singles.

    Jones matched a career high with four hits, including an eighth-inning solo homer.

    Notes

  • The first time Perez allowed eight earned runs was Aug. 8, 1997, against St. Louis.
  • In his first 27 starts this season, Maddux surrendered just seven homers.
  • Martinez was honored prior to the game for becoming the winningest Latin American pitcher in major-league history. The ceremony included a videotaped message from Hall of Famer Juan Marichal, whose 243-win mark was eclipsed by Martinez two weeks ago.
  • The Dodgers are 28-28 under interim manager Glenn Hoffman.

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