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Jays Rally Past Braves In 10th


Tony Batista and John Frascatore have played a major role in turning around Toronto's season since being acquired from Arizona last month.

Batista led off the 10th inning with a home run, as the Toronto Blue Jays fought back from an early four-run deficit to beat the Atlanta Braves 8-7 Monday night.

Frascatore (4-0) pitched the final two innings to earn the win as Toronto improved to 23-9 since trading Dan Pleasc to Arizona for Batista and Frascatore on June 12.

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  • "Frascatore is 4-0, Batista has 11 home runs and has played great defense, so its been a heck of a deal for us," Toronto manager Jim Fregosi said.

    Batista, who has 16 home runs overall, wasted little time in the 10th, hitting the second pitch from John Hudek (0-2) over the wall in left field to give Toronto its eighth last-at-bat win since June 29.

    "His offense has been a pleasant surprise, but his defense has been a big part of it," Blue Jays general manager Gord Ash said.

    Ash completed the deal because he suspected shortstop Alex Gonzalez would miss the rest of the season with a torn labrum in his shoulder. A few days later, Gonzalez underwent season-ending surgery.

    Shawn Green hit a grand slam and Carlos Delgado hit two solo homers for the Blue Jays, who have won three straight to move within two games of Boston and six games of New York.

    Delgado, whose 24th homer tied the game at 7 in the eighth inning, said he watched the scoreboard to see how Boston and New York did.

    "You don't want to get to excited, but you want to know what the other team is doing," Delgado said. "We have the talent, if we go out and execute consistently we're going to be in good shape."

    Toronto had runners on first and third with no outs in the ninth inning but failed to score. Left-fielder Gerald Williams made a lunging grab at the wall to rob Tony Fernandez of a game-winning hit to send the game to extras.

    The Braves, who led 4-0 after two innings before falling behind 6-4 after four, had regained the lead with three runs in the seventh off Kelvim Escobar Javy Lopez's two-run single gave Atlanta a 7-6 lead.

    Down 4-0 in the third, the Blue Jays loaded the bases on three walks by rookie Bruce Chen before Green extended his hitting streak to 17 games with his 26th homer and second career grand slam.

    "I threw it right down the middle," Chen said. "If I get it down I have a chance, but still if he doesn't swing it's a strike."

    Green's homer snapped a stretch of 30 homerless innings for the Blue Jays. Delgado followed with a shot over the left-field wall to give Toronto the lead. Shannon Stewart's RBI double off Chen in the fourth gave Toronto a 6-4 lead.

    Chen gave up six runs, four hits and four walks in six innings.

    The Braves took a 4-0 lead in the second with help from two Toronto errors. Brian Jordan and Keith Lockhart opened the inning with singles. Andruw Jones lined a ball just over the head of a leaping Fernandez at third base. Left fielder Shannon Stewart misplayed the ball allowing Jordan and Lockhart to score and Jones to reach third.

    Lopez then hit a grounder to Fernandez, who got Jones in a run down between third and home, but Fernandez threw to catcher Mike Matheny and then got in the way of Jones. Home plate umpire Bill Miller made an obstruction call, allowing Jones to score on Fernandez's error. Walt Weiss hit an RBI sacrifice bunt to make it 4-0.

    Escobar gave up seven runs five earned on nine hits in 6 2-3 innings.

    Notes:

  • Delgado has three multi-homer games this season.
  • Atlanta's Ryan Klesko was scratched with a sore back. Otis Nixon, who hasn't started since May 30, played in his place.
  • Greg Maddux, the Braves' four-time Cy Young Award winner, has discarded his contact lenses and glasses after undergoing laser eye surgery. Maddux underwent the surgery on July 9, less than 48 hours before he allowed one run in eight innings during a win over Boston.
  • John Smoltz is scheduled to come off the DL to pitch for the Braves on Saturday at Philadelphia.
  • Fernandez, who was hitting .400 from June 13 to June 28, is just 8-for-45 (.178) in July to lower his average to .362.

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

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