McGriff Gets Best of Giants

From Associated Press

Fred McGriff beat Rod Beck with a ninth-inning homer. So what else is new?

McGriff hit a two-out, two-run homer off Beck to cap a four-run rally that gave the Atlanta Braves a dramatic 5-4 victory over the San Francisco Giants on Monday night.

The Giants trail the Dodgers by one game in the National League West race.

It was two years ago that McGriff did the same thing to San Francisco's top reliever, hitting a three-run homer in the final inning to give the Braves a 3-2 victory.

"It's deja vu," Beck said. "McGriff did this to me in the ninth a couple of years ago. He hit the same pitch, a splitter, hit it to the opposite field with men on base. Obviously, I didn't do my job again."

After Roberto Hernandez relieved Shawn Estes and got two strikeouts in the eighth, San Francisco turned to Beck with a 4-1 lead.

"There's no easy save," said Beck, seeking the 200th of his career. "It can be tougher to pitch the ninth with a three-run lead than a one-run lead. Those are the three toughest outs of the game. I wish I could stop them every night, but there's never been a pitcher that stopped them every night."

Beck (5-4) got the first out when Tommy Gregg flied to left, but consecutive singles by Michael Tucker, Kenny Lofton and Jeff Blauser cut the lead to 4-2.

Chipper Jones drove in another run with a grounder to second, barely beating the relay throw to first when the Giants tried for a double play. McGriff followed and hit a 1-1 pitch into the left-center stands for his 22nd homer.

"I was just trying to make good hard contact," McGriff said. "Chipper hustled down the line to beat out the double play. Otherwise, I wouldn't have had a chance to bat."

McGriff has suffered through a disappointing season, heading toward the lowest homer output since he was a rookie 10 years ago.

"I've always had some pop," he said. "It just hadn't been a career year for me. I wish I were a robot and could hit a homer every time."

The Braves increased their lead over Florida in the NL East to 5 1/2 games.



WHO: San Francisco Giants

WHERE: at San Francisco

WHEN: Wednesday 7:30 p.m.; Thursday 12:30 p.m.

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