Originally created 07/05/97

Lemke hit gives win to Braves

MONTREAL - The oddsmakers figured the Atlanta Braves had two chances to win Friday night.

Little and none.

They calculated the odds of a winless rookie pitcher outpitching one of the league's best left-handers at 100-1.

The odds of a .197 hitter contributing the game's biggest hit at 1000-1.

So, with the numbers suggesting it was a good night to stay home, the Braves received five solid innings from Chris Brock and a clutch hit from Mark Lemke in the ninth inning to down the Montreal Expos 6-3 in front of 19,939 fans at Olympic Stadium.

"Jimmy the Greek probably had (Carlos) Perez favored," manager Bobby Cox said.

It was an easy pick. Playing away from home on July 4th for only the second time since 1978, the Braves were facing a pitcher who had a 1.96 ERA and three shutouts in June. But Perez was shaky early and the bullpen staggered late, giving the Braves their sixth straight win over the Expos.

Lemke, hitting .197 from the left side, delivered the game's biggest hit, slamming his first triple since August 1995 against closer Ugueth Urbina to snap a 3-3 tie.

"Everybody gets lucky once in awhile," said Lemke of a triple that fell along the left field line and bounced over Joe Orsulak's head. "I thought it was foul, but it snuck in there fair. Perfect spot."

Brock made his fourth major league start his best one. He worked 5 1/3 innings, allowing three hits and one earned run, and departed with a lead. But his chance for a first win disappeared in the seventh when Rondell White drove reliever Mike Bielecki's first pitch over the center field wall, his 12th homer, to tie the game.

"Leo (Pitching coach Mazzone) and I have been working on getting ahead more, throwing more strikes," Brock said. "Before I wasn't getting ahead and waiting until guys got on to get serious."

Each team lost a big left-handed bat to injury. Expos left fielder Henry Rodriguez left the game with a lower back strain after striking out in the second inning and Braves first baseman Fred McGriff strained his right hamstring while legging out his second double in the fourth.

The loss of McGriff was particularly painful because in four games at Olympic Stadium this season he was 7-for-13 with four RBI.

Facing Perez, the Braves scored two runs in the second inning on consecutive doubles by McGriff and Andruw Jones and Javy Lopez's RBI single, then added another run in the fourth.

Chipper Jones walked and scored on McGriff's double, the first time since July 1996 the first baseman doubled twice in a game.

While the Braves built a 3-1 lead against Perez, Brock limited the Expos to one hit through five innings. Mike Lansing doubled in the first inning, moved to third on Lopez's passed ball and scored when Vladimir Guerrero drove a sacrifice fly into right field.

Brock allowed only two other baserunners, both coming on walks in the fourth, until Mark Grudzielanek led the sixth with a single. Grudzielanek stole second and scored on David Segui's base hit, which was all Cox needed to see.

Alan Embree arrived and preserved the lead, getting Darrin Fletcher to bounce into a fielder's choice and Ryan McGuire to pop out.

Brad Clontz (4-1) worked the eighth, then Mark Wohlers pitched the ninth for his 19th save.

Just another game that beat the odds.


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