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Braves Start Off With Three Bangs

May 29, 2003|From Associated Press

This was about as rare as it gets in baseball.

An unassisted triple play? Nah, there's been 11 of those. A perfect game? Not even close. That's been done 14 times.

The Atlanta Braves became only the second team in major league history to start a game with three homers and went on to a 15-3 rout of the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday night at Atlanta.

"I'll be darned," Manager Bobby Cox said. "That's only the second time it's ever happened? I'm sure it's the first I've ever seen it."

Rafael Furcal, Mark DeRosa and Gary Sheffield began the game with homers against Jeff Austin. Before the inning was done, Javy Lopez hit a two-run homer to knock out the Red starter.

The only other team to start a game with three consecutive homers was the San Diego Padres. Marvell Wynne, Tony Gwynn and John Kruk accomplished the feat against San Francisco on April 13, 1987.

"I've seen times when everyone up and down the lineup is hitting, but not anything like this," said Brave starter Russ Ortiz, who was given an 11-0 lead after three innings.

For good measure, the Braves tied a franchise record with four homers in an inning. They finished with six homers, the most in a game since May 31, 1996, at Cincinnati.

Not surprisingly, Austin was demoted to triple-A Louisville right after the game.

"My goodness, this team is definitely better without me on it," Austin said. "I'm surprised I've stayed here this long."

San Francisco 10, Arizona 2 -- Benito Santiago homered twice and Barry Bonds also connected at San Francisco.

Bonds hit his 626th homer in the seventh off Eddie Oropesa, the slugger's 13th of the season and first in eight days.

The 38-year-old Santiago, an All-Star last season, had his 11th multihomer game and first since July 26, 1997, against Kansas City while playing for Toronto.

San Diego 8, Milwaukee 6 -- Gary Bennett hit a two-run homer with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning at San Diego.

Bennett's first homer of the season, on a one-and-one pitch from Luis Vizcaino (1-3), barely cleared the left-field fence. It was the catcher's first homer in 163 at-bats dating to July 21 while with Colorado.

It was only the fifth victory in 30 games for the Padres (15-38), who have the NL's worst record. San Diego had lost four straight games to the Brewers (19-33), who have the NL's second-worst record.

Philadelphia 11, New York 3 -- Ricky Ledee and Bobby Abreu hit three-run homers and Vicente Padilla pitched seven solid innings at Philadelphia.

Jim Thome, Jimmy Rollins and Placido Polanco each had solo homers for the Phillies, who stopped a three-game losing streak.

Padilla (4-6) gave up one run and three hits in his first victory since shutting out the Atlanta Braves on April 19. Despite six walks, he improved to 5-1 against the Mets.

Florida 4-6, Montreal 3-0 -- Michael Tejera pitched six shutout innings to help the Marlins complete a sweep of the Expos at Miami.

The Marlins won the opener thanks largely to the performance of left-hander Tommy Phelps, who contributed on the mound and at the plate. He combined on a four-hitter and scored Florida's final run after his first major league hit, a single to left in the fourth inning.

Chicago 5, Pittsburgh 4 -- Damian Miller hit a three-run homer and Alex Gonzalez hit a two-run drive at Chicago as the Cubs stopped the Pirates' three-game winning streak.

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