Originally created 09/12/99

Braves lose to Giants



SAN FRANCISCO -- If there's a sense of frustration overtaking Tom Glavine, he's hiding it well.

If he feels the baseball gods have abandoned him, his expression suggests they'll be back.

If he doesn't win another game, he figures to make up for it during the postseason.

All in all, the defending Cy Young winner is taking a lack of support and a stretch of bad luck in stride. Both were in abundance in Saturday afternoon's 3-2 loss to the San Francisco Giants, who received RBI hits from Rich Aurilia and Scott Servais to end the Braves' win streak at four games.

"That's just the way things are going," said Glavine, whose 11 losses are more than he's accumulated in any season since 1991. "All I can do right now is not get frustrated or dejected. If I pitch like I did today we're going to win most of those games."

Before 35,981 fans at 3Com Park, most of whom wanted to take in the sights and sounds of a final pennant race at Candlestick Point, Glavine couldn't shake a win loose from a season that's in direct contrast to last year's 20-win campaign.

The Giants beat him with the lower third of their lineup, amassing five hits, two RBI and two runs from J.T. Snow, Aurilia and Servais, their 6-7-8 hitters. With the exception of Barry Bonds' 2,000th hit, a fourth-inning double, Glavine had few problems handling the first five hitters, limiting them to a 3-for-22 afternoon.

"It's really easy to look at my numbers and say he's having a terrible season," he said. "But with any kind of luck I'd be sitting here with 15 or 16 wins."

Clearly, Glavine is this year's hard-luck pitcher. He has a 3.87 ERA over his last 19 starts, but is just 8-4 during that stretch because the Braves have supported him with fewer runs than any other starter.

The offense had little success against Giants starter Kirk Rueter, who did a reasonable impersonation of Glavine. Staying away to most hitters and changing speeds, Rueter kept the Braves off-balance throughout a long afternoon, limiting them to six hits in eight innings.

"He pitched good," Bret Boone said. "He picked at the corners and didn't leave the ball over the middle of the plate. There didn't seem to be too many good pitches to hit."

The Braves managed consecutive hits just once and watched more baserunning follies cost them a run, which might call for a remedial class in Baserunning 101 before they return home.

Gerald Williams and Chipper Jones combined to run the Braves out of a promising start to the sixth. After Williams led with a double and Boone's fly moved him to third, Williams broke for the plate on Jones' grounder back to Rueter.

Williams was tagged out, then Jones rounded first too far and was nabbed, completing an unusual 1-5-2-3 double play.

"I've got to do a better job of making sure the ball is past (the pitcher)," Williams said. "It's a mistake on my part."

The Braves finally shattered Rueter's spell in the seventh when Brian Hunter sent an RBI double to the center field wall, but a club hitting a collective .263 with runners in scoring position failed to produce another clutch hit until the ninth.

Giants closer Robb Nen sandwiched a pair of strikeouts around a walk to Andruw Jones, who stole second and scored on pinch hitter Ryan Klesko's single. Otis Nixon ran for Klesko and swiped second, pinch hitter Keith Lockhart walked and Randall Simon, making his first appearance in six days, went down swinging at three pitches.

"Just a bad day," Chipper Jones said. "We got lucky last night and they got lucky today. We gave it right back to them."