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This Victory's a Throwaway for Braves

July 13, 2002|From Associated Press

MONTREAL — Expo Manager Frank Robinson wasn't cutting rookie Henry Mateo any slack for a costly mistake.

Mateo, making his first start of the season in place of Gold Glove shortstop Orlando Cabrera, made a three-base throwing error in the ninth inning Friday night that helped the Atlanta Braves score five runs in the inning and go on to an 8-3 win over Montreal.

"It's tough on him--it's tough on us," Robinson said. "We're not missing the tough plays. We're not making the routine plays and that costs us ballgames."

Atlanta increased its National League East lead over second-place Montreal to 11 1/2 games.

The loss quieted a festive crowd of 14,256 at Olympic Stadium as Cliff Floyd made his first appearance in an Expos' uniform since 1996.

Floyd, acquired from Florida on Thursday, got a standing ovation before grounding out in his first at-bat leading off the second. He went 0 for 4.

Trailing 3-1, Atlanta tied it in the eighth on Gary Sheffield's two-run homer off T.J. Tucker.

Vinny Castilla doubled to start the ninth off Tucker (4-1). Brave pitcher Jason Marquis pinch-ran, and scored the go-ahead run when Mateo bobbled pinch-hitter Wes Helms' grounder and then threw it past first baseman Andres Galarraga.

Mateo played in place of Cabrera, who was a late scratch because of a sore left ankle. Rafael Furcal added a two-run triple, Julio Franco hit an RBI single and Chipper Jones had a sacrifice fly.

The Braves lost starter Greg Maddux when he left the game after five innings, aggravating a strained left calf while running the bases.

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