Originally created 07/06/97

Glavine wins with help from Chipper



MONTREAL -- On one hand, the Atlanta Braves can't wait for the All-Star break to arrive.

On the other hand, they're playing so well, why take any time off?

Certainly Tom Glavine doesn't want to stop working every fifth day. He won a matchup of All-Star pitchers Saturday night, with some help from Chipper Jones.

Glavine took a 10th consecutive win against Montreal and Jones powered his second career grand slam as the Braves won their fifth straight and remained perfect against the Expos with a 5-3 victory before 24,788 fans at Olympic Stadium.

"The three-day break will probably outweigh as good as we're playing right now," Jones said. "For guys to go home and forget about baseball for awhile will do us some good."

With or without Kenny Lofton, the Braves keep on winning. They have won 10 of their last 11 games and have taken seven straight against the Expos for the first time in club history. Lofton, activated from the disabled list after missing 16 games, reached base three times and scored a run.

Despite injuries that have sidelined Lofton, Fred McGriff and Ryan Klesko for varying stretches, the Braves own baseball's best record, as well as its best road record, and their 57 wins are the most first-half wins in Atlanta history.

"To be honest with you, they need a break," manager Bobby Cox said. "There are guys playing who are really banged up."

Glavine (9-4) has been dominant against the Expos for five years. He hasn't lost to them since August 1992, a stretch of 13 starts, and in eight innings Saturday he gave up seven hits and three runs, all in the sixth inning.

"I've had a roller-coaster career against these guys," Glavine said. "I couldn't buy a win against them the first four or five years. Now I can't doanything wrong. I'm going to ride it for as long as I can."

Mark Wohlers turned the ninth inning into an adventure before he picked up his 20th save. He walked two and watched Andruw Jones throw a runner out at the plate and then got Mark Grudzielanek to ground out to end the game.

Pedro Martinez (10-4) entered the game with the major league's best earned run average (1.54) and the league's best opponent's batting average (.180). Both those numbers shot up, thanks to Jones.

The right-hander was wild, issuing three walks in three innings, and the last one was costly. He walked Jeff Blauser to load the bases before Jones launched his 14th homer over the right-center field wall with two outs, his second grand slam in 11 games.

"I was just trying to get a base hit," Jones said. "I got the head of the bat out on a fastball and he pretty much supplied all the power."

Since a quiet May, Jones has come alive at the plate. He hit .345 in June with eight homers and 29 RBI and that production has carried over into this month. He has four homers and 14 RBI in his last 11 games and the Braves are 10-3 this season when he hits a home run.

That single mistake spoiled Martinez's evening because the Braves are 32-1 since Sept. 9, 1982 when they hit a grand slam.

It was all the support Glavine needed. He tightened the game up considerably by allowing three runs in the sixth, a rally that started with Martinez' double, and then used it as a wakeup call.

"With a four-run lead I got in a groove and didn't think too much about what I was doing," Glavine said. "I let my guard down a little bit, then I got back to the concentration level I had in the first few innings."

That about sums up the Braves over the last three weeks. They allowed the Marlins to creep to within 3 1/2 games and then tromped on the accelerator and have started to pull away.

"We're really in a mode right now where we want to distance ourselves from the rest of the pack," Chipper Jones said.