ATLANTA If there's a big game to be pitched, the Atlanta Braves know where to turn.
Hand the ball to Tom Glavine.
There's no better pitcher around when the pressure is on.
Glavine proved again Friday night why he's the major league's winningest pitcher over the last six years.
Working without his best stuff, he hung on through eight innings and emerged with a 3-2 victory over the Montreal Expos before a crowd of 46,260 fans at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, reducing the Braves' magic number for clinching the division to four.
Tied 2-2 in the eighth, the Braves pushed the winning run across the plate when Fred McGriff doubled against reliever Dave Leiper and Javier Lopez sent a two-out single up the middle to score him.
Glavine, who stopped the Braves' six-game losing streak last Sunday against the Mets, picked up his 15th win with a workmanlike performance. He gave up five hits and issued four walks, but with the exception of the fifth inning, he was at his best with runners on base.
Mark Wohlers made the ninth inning another heart-stopping experience before getting Mike Lansing to ground out to end the game with a runner on second base for his 37th save.
Facing Expos right-hander Jose Paniagua for the first time, the Braves built a 2-0 lead on Ryan Klesko's 34th homer in the second inning and Lopez's two-out infield hit in the fourth, scoring McGriff from third base.
Paniagua made it into the fifth inning before departing with a pair of runners on and two outs. Expos manager Felipe Alou chose to bring in left-hander Rheal Cormier to face McGriff and it proved to be the right decision as McGriff grounded out to end the inning.
The Braves didn't threaten again until the seventh when singles by Glavine and Marquis Grissom brought Andruw Jones to the plate with one out. Reliever Dave Veras struck out Jones, then fell behind Chipper Jones 3-and-0 before coaxing a fly to end another rally.
Glavine had made the Expos one of his favorite victims since 1993. He had not lost to them since Aug. 25, 1992 and in nine starts since then, he was 7-0 with a 1.94 ERA.
The left-hander got off to a fast start, retiring the first seven hitters he faced, and allowed only two hits in four innings. But, his hopes of a shutout died in the fifth when he broke one of the cardinal rules of pitching by issuing a two-out walk to Paniagua.
Glavine didn't get away with his mistake, as three straight singles followed, the last one by David Segui sending two runs across the plate to tie the game.
An error by third baseman Terry Pendleton and Glavine's continuing control problems created more problems in the sixth, but the left-hander escaped unscathed. He stranded a pair of runners on base by forcing harmless fly balls from pinch hitter Dave Silvestri and Mark Grudzielanek.
Glavine found his rhythm after the sixth, working two perfect innings, then turned the game over to the bullpen.
© 2016. All Rights Reserved. | Contact Us