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Galarraga Ousted In Braves Win


Andres Galarraga doesn't care that he's likely to be suspended.

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    Forum: Does Galarraga crowd the plate?

  • Galarraga, hit by a pitch for the 22nd time this season, there was plenty of justification for charging the mound and tackling Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Darren Dreifort in the second inning of the Atlanta Braves' 7-5 victory Saturday.

    "I get tired of being hit so many times," said Galarraga, who was also hit by Dreifort last Sunday in Los Angeles. "I don't find any reason why he would throw at me."

    Leading off the second, Galarraga was hit in the left thigh by the first pitch from Dreifort (6-12). The Atlanta first baseman immediately charged the mound and swung at Dreifort's head as he lunged toward the pitcher. Galarraga missed, and the two players fell to the ground.

    Galarraga, who served a three-game suspension last year for a similar incident, wishes he would have hit Dreifort on his first swing.

    "Yeah, no doubt," Galarraga said. "The way he hit me before (in the ribs), I wanted to let this guy know I can fight and let him know he can't take my career out."

    Both benches emptied as players and coaches from both teams tried to break up the fight. After calm was restored, Galarraga was ejected and replaced by Greg Colbrunn.

    Dreifort, who sustained cuts on his right elbow during the fight, was unable to continue and was replaced by rookie Mike Judd.

    Dreifort insisted the pitch was not intentional.

    "I threw a moving fastball i and sometimes those go a little farther in than you expect," said Dreifort, whose team has lost six of seven to the Braves and now trails the New York Mets by eight games in the NL wild-card chase.

    "You've got to keep pitching him like that. His back foot is placed on the plate, so it's hard for him to avoid getting hit."

    Braves

    Braves/Dodgers
    Andres Galarraga, bottom, fights on the mound with Darren Dreifort after Dreifort hit Galarraga with a pitch. (AP)
    manager Bobby Cox was furious about the incident, calling it "very intentional."

    "No doubt about it," Cox said. "They have a new manager, a new coaching staff and they're out there trying to qualify for the playoffs and they've got an idiot on the mound -- one guy who's not on the same page."

    "He's a dope."

    Dodgers manager Glenn Hoffman, however, defended his pitcher.

    "There's no way he was trying to hit him," Hoffman said. "(Galarraga has) been hit, what, 22 times this year? He gets out over the plate and he gets hit."

    The brawl overshadowed a pair of two-run singles from Atlanta's Walt Weiss and Gerald Williams and the 30th homer from Chipper Jones, who hit a solo shot in the third.

    Denny Neagle (12-11) picked up the win, allowing three runs and six hits in five innings. The Braves also got another strong performance from closer Kerry Ligtenberg, who pitched a perfect ninth for his 22nd save.

    Ligtenberg now hasn't allowed an earned run in 20 games -- a span of 19 1-3 innings. He has recorded 16 straight saves since May 27.

    Williams gave the Braves a 6-3 lead in the fifth. Pinch-hitting for Ryan Klesko, Williams' shot to left scored Keith Lockhart and Chipper Jones.

    Lockhart left the game with a strained right hamstring and is listed as day-to-day.

    In the sixth, the Dodgers took advantage of a two-out error by Braves second baseman Tony Graffanino when Trenidad Hubbard and Raul Mondesi hit run-scoring singles off Dennis Martinez.

    But after the Dodgers cut the lead to 6-5, Graffanino redeemed himself in the bottom half of the inning with a one-out double that scored Andruw Jones.

    It has been a busy homestand for Galarraga, who set a Braves franchise record for homers by a first baseman with his 39th Friday night against San Diego. Tuesday, he was hit by San Francisco's Julian Tavarez, which set a modern-day franchise record for number of times a player has been hit by a pitch.

    With a 4-0 lead, Neagle put himself in trouble in the fourth by giving up a two-run single to Adrian Beltre. The left-hander struck out pinch-hitter Roger Cedeno, but then hit Eric Young for the second time and gave up a bases-loaded walk to Hubbard.

    Braves catche Javy Lopez picked off Hubbard at first with the bases loaded to end the Dodgers' threat.

    Notes

  • Dreifort has lost four straight decisions and six of his last seven.
  • Atlanta's Michael Tucker took away an extra-base hit from Eric Karros in the seventh with a leaping catch at the right-field wall.
  • Young had a 12-game hitting streak snapped.
  • Dodgers starter Ismael Valdes , on the disabled list since July 26 with a strained oblique and intestinal muscle on his left side, was scheduled to make a rehabilitation start Saturday night for Class A Vero Beach.
  • With 103 runs scored, a major-league high, Chipper Jones is the first Brave since Hank Aaron to score 100 runs in three straight seasons. Aaron did it from 1955-67.

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