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Archive for Thursday, May 29, 2003

Braves achieve rare milestone

Atlanta’s first three batters hit home runs in 15-3 drubbing of Cincinnati

May 29, 2003

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— This was about as rare as it gets in baseball.

An unassisted triple play? Nah, there's been 11 of those. A perfect game? Not even close. That's been done a whopping 14 times.

The Atlanta Braves became only the second team in major-league history to start a game with three straight homers and went on to a 15-3 rout of the Cincinnati Reds Wednesday.

"I'll be darned," manager Bobby Cox said. "That's only the second time it's ever happened? I'm sure it's the first I've ever seen it."

Rafael Furcal, Mark DeRosa and Gary Sheffield began the game with back-to-back-to-back homers against Jeff Austin. Before the inning was done, Javy Lopez hit a two-run homer to knock out the Reds starter.

The only other team to start a game with three straight homers was the San Diego Padres. Marvelle Wynne, Tony Gwynn and John Kruk accomplished the feat against San Francisco on April 13, 1987.

"I've seen times when everyone up and down the lineup is hitting, but not anything like this," said Braves starter Russ Ortiz (7-3), who was given an 11-0 lead after three innings.

For good measure, the Braves tied a franchise record with four homers in an inning. They finished with six homers, the most in a game since May 31, 1996, at Cincinnati.

Furcal homered again in the second for the first two-homer game of his career.

"I've never done that," he said. "Not even back in my hometown" growing up in the Dominican Republic.

Austin (2-3) became the first pitcher in 11 years to get knocked out of two straight starts without making it through the first. Last Friday, the right-hander failed to get an out against Florida, giving up five runs on three hits and four walks in an 8-4 loss.

"It was awful," manager Bob Boone said. "He feels horrible."

Not surprisingly, Austin was demoted to Triple-A Louisville right after the game.

Phillies 11, Mets 3

Philadelphia -- Ricky Ledee and Bobby Abreu hit three-run homers and Vicente Padilla (4-6) pitched seven solid innings, leading Philadelphia. Jim Thome, Jimmy Rollins and Placido Polanco each had solo homers for the Phillies. Mets starter Pedro Astacio (3-2) gave up seven runs and eight hits in four innings.

Cardinals 3, Astros 1

St. Louis -- Jason Simontacchi (2-3) pitched a six-hitter for the first complete game of his career and St. Louis, despite losing center fielder Jim Edmonds, beat Houston.

Edmonds bruised ribs on his right side making a lunging catch of Brad Ausmus' liner to end the second. Edmonds will miss at least the series finale today and a spokesman said the injury would be re-evaluated this weekend.

Cubs 5, Pirates 4

Chicago -- Damian Miller hit a three-run homer and Alex Gonzalez hit a two-run drive, helping the Chicago Cubs beat Pittsburgh. Mark Prior (6-2) struck out eight in 7 2/3 innings, allowing four runs and eight hits. Jeff D'Amico (4-5) dropped to 6-1 against the Cubs, giving up all five runs and five hits in seven innings.

Marlins 4-6, Expos 3-0

Miami -- Michael Tejera pitched six shutout innings to help Florida complete a doubleheader sweep of Montreal. Tejera (1-3) gave up five hits, walked two and struck out four. Zach Day (4-3) took the loss in the second game, giving up six runs on eight hits in 5 2/3 innings.

The Marlins won the opener thanks to Tommy Phelps (2-0), a 29-year-old left-hander, who gave up three runs and four hits in 5 1/3 innings. Montreal's Livan Hernandez (4-3) lasted six or more innings for the ninth time in 10 starts, allowing four runs and 11 hits in six innings.

Rockies 6, Dodgers 0

Denver -- Shawn Chacon pitched two-hit ball over eight innings and hit a two-run single as Colorado defeated Los Angeles. Chacon (7-2) allowed only two hits to Paul Lo Duca and struck out seven in setting a career high for wins in a season. He walked one. Colorado chased starter Darren Dreifort (4-4) with six runs in the first three innings.

Giants 10, Diamondbacks 2

San Francisco -- Benito Santiago homered twice, Barry Bonds also connected and Damian Moss (6-3) snapped a three-game losing streak, leading San Francisco to a victory. Santiago made Arizona starter John Patterson (0-2) pay for walking Bonds in the second, driving a 2-1 pitch deep into the bleachers in left-center for his eighth homer of the season.

Padres 8, Brewers 6

San Diego -- Gary Bennett hit a two-run homer with one out in the ninth inning, giving San Diego a victory over Milwaukee. Bennett's first homer of the season, on a 1-1 pitch from Luis Vizcaino (1-3), barely cleared the left-field fence.

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