Jones’ Upper-Deck Homer Leads Braves
Atlanta’s Andruw Jones had not been born the last time a home run went into the upper deck at Philadelphia’s Veterans Stadium.
Jones became the first player to homer into the upper deck in center field since Mike Schmidt in 1975, and the Braves handed the Phillies their seventh consecutive loss, 9-8, Saturday night.
“I wasn’t even born yet,” said Jones, who turned 20 in April. “I really didn’t see it, but I knew that I hit it really hard. When I got into the dugout the guys told me it went into the upper deck. They were all saying, ‘Is that all you got?’ ”
Although Jones’ two-run shot in the fifth inning was only the seventh to reach the upper deck in center since Veterans Stadium opened in 1971, he was more impressed with hitting it off left-hander Matt Beech.
“That’s the first home run I’ve hit off a left-hander this year, so I really feel good,” Jones added.
Jones drove in four runs, threw out a runner at third base and also made a nice running catch in center field in the eighth inning to preserve Atlanta’s one-run lead.
Tony Graffanino hit his first homer and Chipper Jones had three hits for the Braves.
Kevin Stocker and Ricky Otero each had three hits, and Mike Lieberthal homered and doubled for the Phillies, who have lost 17 of their last 20.
New York 3, Pittsburgh 2--Butch Huskey, Carlos Baerga and Todd Hundley combined on a spectacular play at the plate to prevent the tying run from scoring in the ninth inning at New York.
Edgardo Alfonzo erased a 2-1 deficit with a two-run homer off Marc Wilkins (5-1) with two outs in the eighth.
Pittsburgh, which lost its fifth consecutive game, nearly came back in the ninth when Kevin Polcovich tried to score on Jose Guillen’s double into the left-field corner.
Huskey overthrew the cutoff man, Alfonzo, but Baerga was backing him up and caught Huskey’s throw, relaying a perfect strike to Hundley at the plate and preserving Greg McMichael’s third save.
“It’s as good as a game-winning hit,” Baerga said. “Especially since I didn’t get any hits today.”
Huskey, who started the game in right, switched to left before the ninth inning.
“It got close to the corner but it wasn’t quite in there and I cut it off,” he said. “Frankly, I was surprised they sent him home. I overthrew Alfonzo, maybe he was a long way out or else I made a bad throw. But it turned out well, Carlos was there and saved it.”
Dave Mlicki (4-5) won his third consecutive decision.
Houston 7, Chicago 3--Shortstop Tim Bogar hit three doubles and the Astros chased Frank Castillo in the second inning at Houston as they handed the Cubs their fourth consecutive loss.
Houston’s Luis Gonzalez went hitless in three at-bats and his hitting streak ended at 23 games.
“I don’t feel any pressure at all to produce right now,” said Bogar, who hasn’t been a regular starter since he was with the New York Mets in 1993.
“If things don’t work out, I’ll be a bench player and if I play well enough, I’ll be out there. I just go out and try to enjoy myself.”
Chris Holt (7-5) gave up three runs--two earned--and five hits in 6 1/3 innings, retiring 10 in a row from the third through the sixth inning.
Castillo (4-9) lasted 35 pitches and 1 1/3 innings, his shortest outing since April 26. He gave up five runs and seven hits.
Montreal 4, Florida 3--Vladimir Guerrero and Henry Rodriguez homered, and Jeff Juden won his third consecutive start as the Expos defeated the Marlins at Montreal.
Juden (8-2), a 6-foot-8, 265-pound right-hander with a history of wildness, gave up three runs and eight hits in 7 2/3 innings.
“I was impressed by his mechanics,” Marlin Manager Jim Leyland said. “A big man like that, it’s hard to stay in control. His delivery is the best I’ve ever seen it. He’s consistent with it.”
Mike Lansing hit a game-tying double in the seventh inning off Pat Rapp (4-4) and scored when catcher Gregg Zaun’s pickoff throw bounced into left field for an error. Rodriguez followed with his 15th homer.
St. Louis 6, Cincinnati 2--Royce Clayton drove in two runs and the Cardinals ended a five-game losing streak with a victory at St. Louis.
Todd Stottlemyre (5-5) won for the first time in four starts. He gave up two runs and eight hits in six-plus innings.
Stottlemyre also became the first Cardinal pitcher to hit a triple since Allen Watson in 1994.
Brian Jordan and Ron Gant each had two hits, scored a run and drove in one for St. Louis. Willie Greene hit his 10th home run for the Reds.
St. Louis scored five times off Dave Burba, who lasted only 3 1/3 innings. In his last four starts, Burba has given up 21 earned runs and has a 12.35 ERA.
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BESTS OF THE DAY
Player Team Performance Team’s Result Raul Mondesi Dodgers 2 for 4, 3 runs, 3 RBIs, triple Win Andruw Jones Atlanta rare upper-deck homer in Philadelphia Win Tim Bogar Houston 3 for 4, RBI, run, 3 doubles Win
Player Team Performance Team’s Result Tom Candiotti Dodgers 7 innings, 4 hits, 0 runs, 6 strikeouts Win Jeff Juden Montreal 7 2/3 innings, 8 hits, 3 runs, 6 strikeouts Win Dave Mlicki New York 8 innings, 6 hits, 2 runs, 7 strikeouts Win