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Pirates Rookie Beats Braves

Kevin Millwood held the Pittsburgh Pirates to four hits in seven innings, normally a good outing for a starting pitcher. Except when all four are home runs.

Kris Benson pitched four-hit ball over eight innings and all of the Pirates' scoring came on their five homers all but one off Millwood as they beat the Atlanta Braves 7-1 Tuesday night.

The Pirates didn't have a hit until Kevin Young hit his 16th homer to start the fifth inning, then proceeded to hit three more off Millwood by Al Martin, Brian Giles and Warren Morris over the next two innings.

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Game Summary

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  • Giles added a three-run shot in the eighth off Terry Mulholland, who was making his Braves' debut. Giles drove in four runs to support Benson, the No. 1 pick in the June 1996 draft who grew up in suburban Atlanta and tried out for the Braves after high school.

    Benson (9-8) looked like he belonged in the Braves' talented rotation, cruising through eight innings. He was lifted after throwing 123 pitches.

    "I didn't want him out there throwing 140 pitches," manager Gene Lamont said. "I like him a lot, and we want to keep him around awhile."

    Benson, who lives in Marietta, Ga., said it didn't mean that much more to beat the Braves. He didn't sound convincing.

    "It was exciting to go up against them," Benson said. "It was the team I grew up watching, and I saw a lot of their games. I knew everybody was watching back home tonight.">

    Benson still sounds disappointed the Braves didn't offer him a contract out of high school.

    "I went to an open tryout camp, but the Braves didn't pick me up," he said. "Back then, I wish I had had a chance to play for them."

    Millwood (12-6) had previously dominated the Pirates, beating them on a one-hitter on April 14, 1998, while going 3-0 with a 1.61 ERA against them the last two seasons. Going into the game, the Pirates' starting lineup had only three hits against the right-hander.

    Millwood retired 21 of the 25 hitters he faced, but the other four homered.

    "Every hit he gave up was a home run," Braves manager Bobby Cox said. "I've never seen that before."

    Martin hit his 17th homer five more than last season in the sixth and Giles, a part-time player with Cleveland a year ago, led off the seventh with his 23rd and hit his 24th an inning later.

    "This is still a learning experience for me because I've never started a whole season before," Giles said. "So far, I'm holding up well. But I still don't consider myself a home run hitter."

    Morris added his 10th with two outs in the seventh.

    "For some reason, I made some stupid pitches and they cost me," Millwood said. "I know better. I know you can't go out and throw too many fastballs to any major league team but I did it and paid for it. I don't know what I was thinking."

    Three of the four homers were off fastballs. Martin homered off a slider.

    "You look up at scoreboard and see Kevin Millwood has given up four hits, and you figure maybe he's only given up one run," Chipper Jones said. "Instead, he gave up four. The bottom line is still our offense didn't do anything to help him."

    Benson allowed only two hits following Bret Boone's run-scoring double in the second, striking out four and walking three in his second consecutive good start. He beat the Mets 5-1 on a six-hitter July 27 in New York.

    The victory was the first by the Pirates in their last 12 decisions against the Braves' top four starters: Greg Maddux, John Smoltz, Tom Glavine and Millwood.


  • The game was played in 2 hours, 8 minutes.
  • The four homers were the most allowed by Millwood, topping the three hit by Baltimore in the first inning on June 12. The two games account for seven of the 16 homers against Millwood this season.
  • Braves C Eddie Perez has appealed his four-game suspension that was to begin Wednesday, but Cox will begin serving his two-game suspension. Pat Corrales will manage in his absence. Cox and Perez were disciplined for their roles in a fight last week against Philadelphia.
  • The Braves are 9-10 since the All-Star break.
  • Mulholland was acquired at the trading deadline from the Cubs. He grew up near Pittsburgh and his father sat behind home plate.
  • The Braves are 1-8 following an off day.
  • The Pirates failed to leave a runner on base for the first time since April 30, 1991, against Cincinnati.

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

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