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Furcal Gets the Triple Crown

Baseball: Atlanta shortstop ties modern major league record with three triples.

April 22, 2002|From Associated Press

ATLANTA — As the ball headed toward the seats, Rafael Furcal thought he had his first homer of the season.

Instead, the Atlanta speedster had to settle for a piece of baseball history.

Furcal tied the modern major league record with three triples Sunday, scoring after each one to lead the Braves to their fourth consecutive victory, 4-2 over the Florida Marlins.

The record-tying hit came in the seventh, when Furcal sent a towering drive to the gap in left-center. At first, he thought it was a homer.

"I knew I hit the ball pretty good," he said. "When I saw it hit the wall, I thought I would try for another triple."

The ball short-hopped the wall, just out of the reach of Preston Wilson. Furcal slapped his hands as he slid into third, becoming the first major leaguer to hit three triples since Lance Johnson of the Chicago White Sox on Sept. 23, 1995.

Furcal was the first Brave to accomplish the feat since Milwaukee's Danny O'Connell on June 13, 1956. Overall, six players in franchise history have done it.

"Personally, I don't think I've seen that in my 40 years," Manager Bobby Cox said.

"It's exciting. A triple is what the fans like the most, sometimes more than a homer, watching a guy speeding around the basepaths. They sure got their money's worth with just him today."

Tom Glavine (3-1) yielded only six hits in seven innings to beat an old nemesis.

The Marlins are one of three teams the left-hander has a losing record against in his career.

Always a strong starter, Glavine has pitched at least six innings in each of his five starts, compiling a 1.08 earned-run average.

"So far, it's been good," he said. "But I don't want to get ahead of myself. I started off well last year, then I had a six-week period where I stunk."

Tim Spooneybarger and John Smoltz went an inning apiece to finish off Florida. Smoltz struck out the side in the ninth to pick up his sixth save in seven chances.

The Braves have given up only six runs during their winning streak, which pushed them back above .500 (10-9) and a game behind Montreal in the NL East.

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