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Neagle Even Homers in Win Over Tigers

September 03, 1997|From Associated Press

ATLANTA — Everything is going right for Denny Neagle.

Neagle pitched a four-hitter for his 19th win and also hit the third homer of his career, leading the Atlanta Braves to a 5-0 victory over the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday night.

"No. 19 is special," said Neagle, who had two hits andfaced only two batters above the minimum. "I go deep, go two-for-three, get a shutout. No complaints from me."

Javy Lopez and Keith Lockhart also homered for the Braves, who knocked out Detroit starter Greg Keagle in the third for their 10th victory in 13 games as they remained 3 1/2 games ahead of Florida in the NL East.

Atlanta built a 5-0 lead through four innings and cruised behind Neagle (19-3), the NL's winningest pitcher and only one away from the first 20-win season of his career.

Neagle gave up three singles and a double, but two of the runners were erased on double plays. He had six strikeouts and no walks.

The Braves, who already have three Cy Young winners on their staff, may be closing in on a fourth.

"I think he smells it," Chipper Jones said. "He's got to be considered the front-runner."

Neagle pulled a belt-high fastball from Kevin Jarvis into the Braves bullpen for his first homer since June 27, 1995, at Chicago's Wrigley Field.

Neagle, who went two for three with a sacrifice, grinned on his way back to the dugout and spent the rest of the inning jokingly exchanging hitting tips with Jones in the dugout.

"The homer was fun," Neagle said. "I wish [John] Smoltz had been here tonight. I'd rub this in his face."

Smoltz, who left the ballpark early because he'll start for Atlanta today, is one of the top hitting pitchers at .269. Neagle improved his average to .175.



WHO: Detroit Tigers

WHERE: at Detroit

WHEN: Thursday: 4 p.m.; Friday: 4 p.m.; Saturday: 10 a.m.; Sunday: 10 a.m.

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