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Rueter, Giants Avoid Sweep


Six years after beating the Braves the first time he faced them, Kirk Rueter finally figured out how to do it again.

Rueter worked six strong innings despite fatigue and an aching left shoulder as the San Francisco Giants avoided a sweep in Atlanta with a 5-2 victory Sunday.

Ellis Burks hit his 250th career homer in the fourth, breaking a 1-1 tie and sending the Giants to just their eighth victory in the last 24 games.

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Game Summary

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  • "We needed that game badly today," said Giants manager Dusty Baker, whose team was outscored 22-7 in the first two games of the series. "Rueter did a great job keeping them off balance."

    Rueter (10-6) was 1-4 with a 6.22 ERA in 10 previous appearances against the Braves, his lone victory coming on Aug. 6, 1993, when he was a rookie with Montreal. He pitched a five-hitter for a 7-2 triumph over John Smoltz.

    "They're a great team," said Rueter, who allowed seven hits and both Atlanta runs. "To beat them, it takes a good game all around. That's probably why I haven't beaten them since '93."

    Rueter said he felt a cramp in his shoulder in the fifth, then left one inning later on a sweltering, 90-degree day. The injury wasn't serious, but the heat proved an unbeatable foe.

    "I'm sure he lost 10 to 15 pounds today," Baker said.

    Play was halted for 34 minutes in the top of the ninth when a severe thunderstorm blew into the area. After initially trying to get through the inning, umpires immediately stopped the game when a bolt of lightning struck nearby.

    Pinch-hitter Stan Javier dropped his bat in fright, Braves third baseman Joes ducked into the Giants dugout to escape, and Gerald Williams hustled in from left field like an Olympic sprinter.

    "I got a lot of high-fives in the tunnel," Jones quipped. "They can fine me if they want to, but I was getting the hell out of there."

    While the Braves three-game winning streak came to an end, they remained just a half-game behind New York in the NL East. The Mets were routed by Los Angeles 14-3.

    "We scored too many runs yesterday," said Jones, referring to a 15-4 victory over the Giants on Saturday. "We didn't save enough for today."

    Burks homered in the third, hitting a two-run shot into the left-field stands to break a 1-1 tie. Marvin Benard added a two-out, two-run single later in the inning against Kevin Millwood (12-7), who has lost two straight games for the first time this year.

    Robb Nen pitched a perfect ninth for his 25th save.

    Barry Bonds returned to the San Francisco lineup after sitting out Saturday because of back spasms. He led off the second inning with a double and scored San Francisco's first run on a single by Brent Mayne. Bonds also started the fourth-inning outburst, leading off with a walk before Burks' 20th homer of the season.

    Millwood, who gave up four homers in his previous start against Pittsburgh, has allowed a team-high 17 this season.

    "It went pretty well, except for that one inning," said Millwood, who had eight strikeouts during his seven-inning stint. "It's a little frustrating."

    After a groundout, Rich Aurilia and Ramon Martinez had back-to-back singles before Rueter moved the runners to second and third with a sacrifice bunt. Benard brought home both runners with a single to center, pushing San Francisco's lead to 5-1.

    Brian Jordan had an RBI single in the first for Atlanta and Jones scored on a two-out single by Jose Hernandez in the sixth.

    Notes

  • Rueter has won at least 10 games for three consecutive seasons.
  • San Francisco pitchers had a 7.77 ERA on the first eight games of a 12-game road trip.
  • Williams extended his career-high hitting streak to 11 games with an infield single in the third.
  • Braves catcher Pascual Matos made his first major league start, buleft the game in the ninth with leg cramps.

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

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