Originally created 05/17/02

Atlanta gets win despite the ninth

SAN FRANCISCO - Mark DeRosa brought home the go-ahead run with an eighth-inning single and closer John Smoltz survived the ninth inning in a 5-4 Braves' win over the San Francisco Giants before a sellout crowd of 40,236 fans at Pac Bell Park.

Smoltz accelerated manager Bobby Cox's heart rate in the bottom of the ninth, giving up Benito Santiago's three-run home run before whiffing David Bell and Marvin Benard to end the game.

"He absolutely made it into heart attack territory," Cox said. "These wins are all big for us. We've been losing too many games we should be winning."

The Braves outscored the Giants 11-5 in the final two games to gain a split of the four-game series and return to .500.

"It's huge," said left fielder Chipper Jones, whose bases-loaded double in eighth was the difference in the game. "We lost two tough ones and we were feeling pretty down, but we kept our heads up and got back to .500."

"My boy (Darren Baker) changed his name to Chipper yesterday," Giants manager Dusty Baker said. "I guess he picked a good one."

Except for two innings, a pair of Jasons had the run of the place; Atlanta's Jason Marquis and San Francisco's Jason Schmidt.

After a second straight start in which he allowed the opposition just one run - Marquis's shutout was spoiled by an unearned run in the fifth - the 23-year-old righthander has reinforced the notion that the next generation of Braves' pitchers has arrived.

Schmidt limited the Braves to three hits, their only run before the eighth coming on Gary Sheffield's home run.

Reach Bill Zack at bzack30143@aol.com.


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