ATLANTA - No matter how often Tom Glavine does it - and there's no end in sight to his artistry - the Braves pitcher continues to remind onlookers that Greg Maddux is not the only future hall of famer in the Braves' rotation.
Glavine, who went five weeks without a win, guaranteed the Braves would remain in a first-place tie Friday night by holding the Baltimore Orioles to two hits and a run in seven innings in a 7-1 win, a victory that allowed the Braves the modest feat of winning two in a row at Turner Field for the first time since the last week of May.
"He looks like the old Glavine," manager Bobby Cox said. "He's on a roll right now."
The Braves, who had not beaten the Orioles at Turner Field until Thursday, and just three games over .500 at home when they started the second half, have won three in a row, and 14 of their last 18 games.
But the crowd of 44,461 saved their loudest cheers for Cal Ripken who made a rare pinch-hitting appearance in the eighth inning and extended his hitting streak to 14 games by sending a double into the left field corner against Mike Remlinger.
As if the Orioles had not suffered enough wounds from Thursday's four-homer barrage, the Braves won without using a long ball. Leadoff man Quilvio Veras, whose return to the lineup was delayed 24 hours by travel trouble, reached base three times and scored three runs; B.J. Surhoff tormented his former club with a pair of hits and two runs; and Andruw Jones had a hit and knocked in three runs.
"It's somebody different every day," right fielder Brian Jordan said. "It's not just one person any more. That's the good thing. That's the way the chemistry is coming together."
Glavine, meanwhile, was up to his old tricks. Fastballs and changeups away, occasional heaters slicing the inside corner to keep hitters from leaning across the plate. Pity the poor O's. They advanced three runners beyond first base in seven innings, and went three-up, three-down four times against Glavine and two relievers.
"I have to pitch off my fastball to be effective," said Glavine, who improved to 8-5 and lowered his ERA to 4.36. "It's easy to do when you're feeling good about it. My last four starts I feel like I've been able to go out and be more aggressive with that pitch."
The Orioles broke through against Glavine in the third. Mike Kinkade walked, and Brook Fordyce ripped a double up the left-center field gap to make it 3-1.
That was the last spot of trouble Glavine encountered until Tony Batista barely missed a home run in the seventh, hitting the top of the wall in right-center field. Melvin Mora then walked, but Glavine struck out Kinkade on three pitches, and retired Fordyce on a fly to right.
Glavine said that following Maddux, Thursday's winner, in the rotation is a bonus because it allows him a sneak preview of how to approach hitters.
"For so many years I've charted Greg's starts and started the next night," he said. "I think I get a lot more out of watching Greg pitch and seeing how he's getting guys out."
Glavine, who had no-decisions in four of his last five starts, despite allowing two runs or fewer in each outing, turned over a 5-1 lead to his bullpen, having given up just two hits and four walks.
"He's on the outside corner all day long until you prove you can do something with it, and then he sneaks one in on you," O's shortstop Brian Roberts said.
O's starter Josh Towers, the AL Rookie of the Month in June after going 5-1 with a 1.49 ERA, went single, single, error, single to the first four batters he faced in the first inning. Jones' fielder's choice sent in Veras, then Chipper Jones singled through the right side to make it 2-0.
That wasn't all.
With Chipper Jones running off first base, Jordan swung through strike three, then Jones purposely allowed himself to be trapped in a rundown as Andruw Jones crossed home plate.
Mark DeRosa started the fifth with a single. Glavine moved him to second with a bunt, Veras walked, and one out later, Andruw Jones bounced a ground ball through the left side, scoring DeRosa and Veras. The Braves added two more runs in the seventh on Veras' walk, Surhoff's double and a base hit by Wes Helms.
"You always wonder how you're going to come back and play after the All-Star break, and so far we've played very well," Glavine said.
Reach Bill Zack at firstname.lastname@example.org
© 2018. All Rights Reserved. | Contact Us