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Braves Sweep By Reds


The Atlanta Braves aren't content with simply making the NL playoffs. They want their eight straight division title.

Slowing surprising Cincinnati, the Braves won their seventh in a row Wednesday and completed a three-game sweep of the Reds with a 5-2 victory.

Andruw Jones hit a three-run homer in the first and Tom Glavine pitched seven strong innings for the Braves, who have grabbed the best record in baseball (80-49) with their longest winning streak of the season.

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  • "It's important to play well, and we're playing well right now," said Glavine (11-9). "We're doing everything we need to do. We're not making many mistakes out there."

    The injury plagued Braves began the day with a 1@1/2-game lead over New York in the NL East. The Mets played Wednesday night against Houston, which had a 1@1/2-game lead over the Reds in the NL Central.

    One of those four teams will be sitting at home when the playoffs begin in a 5 1/2 weeks.

    "To be honest, we're not all that concerned about the wild card," Glavine said. "We want to win the division. Obviously, we'll take the wild card if we have to. But we want to make it hard for everybody else to catch us."

    The Reds had won nine straight series before they arrived at Turner Field. But they were no match for the Braves, who have a 22-4 record against Cincinnati over the last three seasons. Atlanta has won all six games this year.

    "That takes the wind out of our sails," Cincinnati's Mike Cameron said. "It's one of those games where you scratch your head and say, `What does it take to beat these guys?' It was very surprising. We've been playing so well."

    Cameron led off the game with his 17th homer, but that was one of the few highlights for the Reds. lavine allowed just five hits

    all singles the rest of the way before Mike Remlinger and John Rocker each pitched a scoreless inning. Rocker got his 28th save in 33 chances.

    Glavine was 3-7 with a 5.00 ERA after losing at Boston on June 4. Since then, the two-time Cy Young Award winner is 8-2 with a 3.45 ERA.

    "It's not how you start, it's how you finish," Glavine said. "I'm resigned to the fact that my numbers aren't going to be where they normally are. But if I win 15 games, I'll be happy with that."

    After Cameron's homer, the Braves wasted no time erasing their deficit against former teammate Denny Neagle (3-5). Gerald Williams led off the bottom of the first with a double and Bret Boone reached on an infield single.

    Neagle had a chance to get out of the inning when he retired the Braves' two most dangerous hitters. Chipper Jones popped to shortstop and Brian Jordan grounded out, forcing Williams to hold at third.

    But Andruw Jones followed with a towering drive that hit the top of the left-field wall and bounced over for his 24th homer. Outfielder Greg Vaughn had time to drift slowly back to the wall and make a leap for the ball, but it landed just beyond his glove.

    "I thought I had missed it," Jones said. "But I guess I hit it enough, and it went out."

    After the Reds cut the deficit to 3-2 on Dmitri Young's sacrifice fly in the sixth, the Braves added two more runs in their half to knock out Neagle. Andruw Jones doubled, Jose Hernandez hit a sacrifice fly and Eddie Perez capped the inning with an RBI single.

    "You get one run, they get two," said Reds manager Jack McKeon, looking forward to getting out of Atlanta. "They don't give an inch."

    Neagle surrendered five hits and all five runs in 5 1-3 innings. He retired 12 of 13 hitters in between the Braves' scoring frames.

    For the first time, the Reds went winless in Atlantduring a season series. They scored only 12 runs and 27 hits in their six losses at Turner Field.

    The teams will meet again next week in a three-game series at Cincinnati.

    "We came in here playing good baseball," Neagle said. "These guys have our number. It seems no matter what we do, they have our number."

    Notes

  • The Braves are 17-6 in August, even though they have trailed in all but two games.
  • Greg Maddux will miss his next scheduled start for Atlanta Friday night at St. Louis to give his injured right wrist more time to heal. He expects to pitch again Tuesday at Cincinnati.
  • The Reds have lost eight straight series in Atlanta, their last victory coming in May 1995 when they took two of three.
  • Until this season's 0-6 performance, Cincinnati's worst record in Atlanta was 1-8 in 1992.
  • Doctors have told Braves reliever Rudy Seanez he could miss six-to-eight weeks with a stress fracture in his elbow, which would effectively end his season. Seanez is more optimistic, hoping for a return in mid-September.
  • Williams' leadoff double extended the Atlanta record to 51 straight games with at least one two-base hit.

    ©1999 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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