Originally created 04/29/00

Braves win streak continues



SAN DIEGO -- For years, the Braves' Achilles' heel has been their bench, not their bullpen.

That's no longer a valid criticism.

The bench played a key role in Friday night's 7-2 victory over the San Diego Padres at Qualcomm Stadium, Bobby Bonilla's eighth-inning triple delivering the tie-breaking run as the Braves ran off an 11th straight win, their best streak since a 13-0 run eight years ago.

Bonilla, 2 for 3 with two RBI as a pinch hitter this month, followed Wally Joyner's walk with a line-hugging drive that rolled into the Braves bullpen, sending pinch runner Walt Weiss across the plate.

"I was able to reach out and get something over the first baseman's head that kicked into the corner," Bonilla said. "I feel like I have a chance every time I go up there. I haven't felt that way in the last couple of years."

Brian Jordan's first homer, a three-run bolt off reliever Carlos Almanzar in the ninth, put an end to the Padres' suffering and sent a crowd of 33,995 scurrying for the exits.

"I was just waiting until the right moment to contribute to this team," Jordan said. "I've been trying to find my swing. It came at a great time."

On paper, this one appeared a mismatch. Four-time Cy Young winner Greg Maddux on one side, Brian Meadows and his 24-29 career record on the other. But, as so often happens in baseball, what looked like a heavyweight versus flyweight tussle turned into an alley fight.

After a shaky couple of innings, both pitchers turned in powerful performances, Maddux making 84 pitches and allowing seven hits and one earned run, Meadows delivering 88 pitches and giving up four hits and three runs.

Maddux emerged with the win and remained perfect at 4-0, while Meadows evened his record at 2-2.

Andruw Jones, hitting .412 in the No. 2 hole, but dropped to No. 6 with Rafael Furcal and Quilvio Veras at the top of the order, followed Jordan's walk and stolen base in the second with a double for a 1-0 lead.

Meadows, who didn't fool many Braves while he worked for the Marlins (1-3 and 4.91 ERA), settled down and didn't allow another runner past first base until Galarraga jacked an 0-1 delivery into the palm trees beyond the left-center field wall in the seventh to make it 2-1.

For Galarraga, it was No. 9, five of which have given the Braves a lead in the fifth inning or later.

Maddux frustrated the Padres right away. Damian Jackson's first-inning double was wasted as Maddux induced a grounder from Tony Gwynn, a lifetime .446 hitter against him, and Phil Nevin's popup fell into Galarraga's glove.

A calculated gamble cost Maddux a run in the second. After covering first and flubbing Galarraga's throw on Eric Owens' grounder, allowing Owens to reach second, Maddux chose to pitch to Carlos Hernandez with Meadows waiting on deck. Hernandez delivered a single to tie the score 1-1 and Meadows took a called third strike to end the inning.

Handed a 2-1 lead in the seventh, Maddux couldn't stand his good fortune. Ryan Klesko and Bret Boone started a rally with singles, then Owens hustled down the line to beat out a double play ball, allowing Klesko to score the tying run.