Originally created 10/10/01

Braves take Game 2



HOUSTON -- Tom Glavine stuck to his decade-long routine, winning in Houston. Astros shortstop Julio Lugo maintained a recent trend of his own, giving away runs.

Glavine kept the playoff focus on pitching with eight sharp innings and Atlanta capitalized on another misplay by Lugo for a 1-0 victory Wednesday, giving the Braves a 2-0 lead in their NL first round series.

By improving to 10-0 in Houston since June 1991 - with another save from John Smoltz - Glavine sent the Braves home needing only one more win to return to the NLCS after a one-year absence.

John Burkett will start Game 3 on Friday afternoon against Houston's Shane Reynolds.

History will be against the Astros as they've never won a game when facing elimination in six previous postseason appearances. They've also never won a playoff series, getting knocked out in the first round by Atlanta in 1997 and '99.

Lugo is quickly becoming another part of Houston's long, frustrating playoff past. He made an error on what would've been an inning-ending, double-play grounder in the eighth inning Tuesday with the game tied at 3. Chipper Jones followed with a three-run homer in a 7-4 Atlanta victory.

Lugo made a throwing error on a grounder by Atlanta's second hitter Wednesday, but it didn't hurt. He wasn't so lucky in the next inning.

After B.J. Surhoff led off with a double, Andruw Jones hit a grounder up the middle. Lugo made a nice diving stop, then threw to first to try beating the speedy Jones. His low throw got past first baseman Jeff Bagwell, allowing Surhoff to go to third, and Lugo was charged with an error.

Surhoff scored when Rey Sanchez grounded into a double play - that started with a grounder to Lugo. The run against loser Dave Mlicki was unearned.

Houston manager Larry Dierker risked second-guessing by sticking with Lugo, who made 22 errors in 140 games, instead of veteran Jose Vizcaino. Last October, while playing for the New York Yankees, Vizcaino had the game-winning hit in Game 1 of the World Series.

Lugo had a chance to redeem himself in the eighth inning. With two outs and a runner at second, he flied out to right, making him 0-for-4 in the game and 0-for-7 in the series.

Smoltz relieved Glavine to start the ninth and Bagwell led off with a single.

Lance Berkman followed with a hard grounder that first baseman Julio Franco fielded and turned into Atlanta's third double play of the game. Smoltz retired Moises Alou on a popup for his second save of the series.

Of the first four games in this year's major league playoffs, three have been shutouts.

Glavine continued where he left off in the regular season. He was 10-2 with a 2.72 ERA in his last 21 starts since June 18 and was 4-0 with a 2.31 ERA in the final month.

He limited Houston to six hits, striking out three and walking two. Both walks to Bagwell, the Astro who had hit him the hardest.

Glavine got out of jams in the sixth in the seventh by getting Berkman and Vinny Castilla to ground into double plays. His closest call, though, came in the fifth when the Astros were within six inches of taking the lead.

With one out and Castilla at first, Brad Ausmus hit a drive that came so close to being a home run that it ripped the top of the padding just below the yellow stripe across the top of the wall in left field. The ball caromed back so quickly that Ausmus had to settle for a single.

Glavine then got behind 3-0 on pinch-hitter Chris Truby, bringing the crowd to its feet, but struck him out by getting him to chase two low pitches. Craig Biggio ended the threat with a weak grounder to second.

Mlicki kept pace with Glavine, allowing only an unearned run on four hits through five innings. He walked two and didn't strike anyone out. He left so Truby could hit in the fifth.

The Houston bullpen threw four shutout innings, a big turnaround from their five-run, two-inning performance in Game 1.

Notes: Andruw Jones tied a playoff record with five straight hits. He had three hits Wednesday before striking out in the ninth. ... Glavine wasn't always dominant in Houston. He lost his first eight decisions at the Astrodome. ... Ausmus' hit off Glavine was his second in 31 at-bats. ... Rain began between the national anthem and the start of the game, forcing the roof of Enron Field to be closed. ... The early start continued to hurt attendance, although former President Bush and wife Barbara were back in their front-row seats. After having more than 5,000 empty seats Tuesday, the Astros tried boosting sales with an ad in the morning newspaper that read: "First pitch is in just a few hours."