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Braves Sweep Astros, Lima

On a night when Greg Maddux and Jose Lima were expected to dominate, the Atlanta Braves' offense was the big story.

Bret Boone and Chipper Jones hit consecutive homers for the second straight night, and Jose Hernandez also homered off Lima as Atlanta completed a three-game sweep of the Houston Astros with an 8-5 victory Wednesday.

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Game Summary

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  • "He asked me what I wanted to do and I just told him I wasn't pitching good enough to stay in the game. "I didn't have a very good night," Maddux said. " I was just lucky."

    Maddux (14-6), who has won four consecutive decisions and seven of his last eight, got away with an off night, allowing five runs and 11 hits in 5 1-3 innings. Since the 1991 All-Star break, he is 90-2 when backed with five runs or more.

    When manager Bobby Cox came out to ask Maddux how he felt, the four-time NL Cy Young Award winner didn't hesitate.

    "I just wasn't going to get anybody else out and I've learned not to try to be the macho, he-man," Maddux said. "It doesn't work. Usually the pitcher is the one who knows when things aren't going right and things weren't right."

    Jeff Bagwell drove in three runs for Houston, which is 1-6 against the Braves this season.

    Lima (15-7) dropped to 0-4 against Atlanta in his career, giving up six runs and nine hits in five innings.

    "Sometimes you go out there and your stuff is not there," he said. "You make mistakes. There are no excuses. hey scored runs and they won."

    John Rocker pitched a hitless ninth for his third save of the series, his 25th in 29 chances this season. Atlanta has won six of its last seven.

    Bagwell's sacrifice fly put Houston ahead in the first, but Brian Jordan's RBI single tied it in the bottom half.

    Atlanta took a 5-1 lead in the second on Hernandez's 16th homer, Eddie Perez's single, Boone's 16th homer and Jones' 29th.

    Bagwell hit his 36th homer in the third, a two-run shot, and Carl Everett's sacrifice fly pulled the Astros to 5-4 in the fifth.

    Ryan Klesko hit an RBI double in the bottom half, but Craig Biggio's sacrifice fly made it a one-run game again in the sixth.

    Houston had a good chance to tie in the seventh, but with pinch-hitter Matt Mieske at the plate Carl Everett thought the squeeze was on and was tagged out off third. Mieske followed with a long fly that would have been deep enough to score the run.

    "You have signs and you have verbal signs," Everett said. "I should have known better. I thought I heard the code word for the squeeze."

    Atlanta added a pair of runs in the eighth off Billy Wagner on an RBI double by Gerald Williams, who stole third and came home on a passed ball by catcher Randy Knorr.


  • Bagwell has five homers off Maddux.
  • The homer by Hernandez was his first since Atlanta acquired him from Chicago on July 31.
  • Jones has reached in an Atlanta record 37 consecutive games, an Atlanta record.
  • The Braves optioned catcher Pascual Matos to Triple-A Richmond and purchased the contract of third baseman Howard Battle from Richmond.
  • The Braves have hit consecutive homers eight times this year, with Boone and Jones doing it three times.
  • The Braves swept a three-game series from Houston for the first time since Aug. 21-23, 1995 at the Astrodome. The last time they did it in Atlanta was Aug. 9-11, 1991.

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