Originally created 07/24/02

Hitters lend hand to Glavine



MIAMI - There was a time when the Florida Marlins made Tom Glavine their favorite patsy, pummeling him with a frequency no other team could match.

But Glavine is lining up his hall-of-fame credentials, and teal might be his favorite color.

While the Braves mounted an offensive renaissance Tuesday night, Glavine staged his own revival, pitching 5 1/3 innings of three-run ball to even the series with the Marlins, who lost to him for the fifth straight time, 5-3, before a crowd of 12,210 fans at Pro Player Stadium.

"First ballot Hall of Famer," Braves left fielder Chipper Jones said of Glavine. "He's going to be passing some pretty big names in the very near future."

Check Whitey Ford's name off the list now.

In winning back-to-back starts for the first time since early June, Glavine improved to 13-5 and moved past Ford into 51st place on the all-time wins list with No. 237. He gave up nine hits and two walks, and kept the Marlins off the scoreboard until the sixth.

"The mention of Whitey's name, you know who he is and how good he was," said Glavine, who celebrated with champagne afterward. "To be associated with him is an honor. To win more games than he did is something I would never have imagined."

Hampered by a blister, Glavine has not lasted six innings in his past five starts. But even a grimacing Glavine can still have a galvanizing effect on the Braves, who banged out 10 hits and scored their most runs in a week to improve to 9-4 since the All-Star break.

Glavine, who yielded the league's ERA lead to teammate Greg Maddux, 2.61-2.64, is somewhere between the hurting Glavine, who was 0-3 with a 6.37 ERA in six June and July starts, and the vintage Glavine, who was named MVP of the 1995 World Series.

"He hits his spots and changes speeds," Marlins first baseman Derrek Lee said. "You know what you're going to get. You have to adjust, and we didn't do that tonight."

Glavine was the beneficiary of flawless relief by Chris Hammond, who took over for reliever Kevin Gryboski in the sixth and retired the five batters he faced. Mike Remlinger then worked a scoreless eighth, and John Smoltz pitched the ninth for his major league-leading 37th save and 23rd in a row.

"There's pressure there," said Hammond, who hasn't allowed an earned run in his past 12 appearances, "but you can't let it bother you. I've done a really good job of telling myself to bear down and just pitch my game."

The Braves, who had just six hits and scored one run Monday, showed signs of life at the plate.

With the first of his two singles, Gary Sheffield broke Dale Murphy's 1987 Atlanta record in the first inning, reaching base in a 49th straight game. With his second hit against Marlins loser Julian Tavarez in the third, he knocked in the Braves' first run.

Rafael Furcal opened the third with a double past second baseman Luis Castillo's dive, then Julio Franco tapped to the right side, sending Furcal to third. Sheffield followed with a ground ball through the middle, the fourth run he's knocked in on the trip, then Chipper Jones rifled a single against the right field wall, and Andruw Jones' tapper to third sent in Sheffield to make it 2-0.

"It's an honor," said Sheffield, who has upped his average to .292. "Dale Murphy is a class act. He played right field for the Braves for a long time, and now I am."

The Braves added to their lead in the fifth, when Jones walked, Andruw Jones lashed a double into the left field corner, and Keith Lockhart was intentionally walked, loading the bases with one out. Henry Blanco, a .183 hitter coming into the game, followed with his second hit, a line single to center, then Glavine's suicide-squeeze bunt scored Andruw Jones.

Furcal was the next batter and Tavarez made the mistake of attempting to grab his bouncer with his right hand. The ball caromed off his hand and rolled away, sending in Lockhart to make it 5-0.

"Guys down at the bottom of the lineup have been doing for us for two months," said Chipper Jones, who reached base three times with a single and a pair of walks. "Those guys have been great."

But without the bullpen, Glavine wouldn't have been drinking bubbly at the end.

Singles by Kevin Millar and Mike Lowell opened the home half of the sixth, then Juan Encarnacion singled for one run, and manager Bobby Cox, no doubt divining that Glavine was faltering, summoned Gryboski. The hulking rookie walked Mike Redmond, and Mike Mordecai followed with an RBI single, then Hammond entered to coax a run-scoring infield roller from pinch hitter Homer Bush and retired Castillo on a pop fly to end the inning.

"Things were unraveling there a little bit," said Glavine, who inched over the .500 mark with a 13-12 career record against the Marlins. "But Hammond bailed us out like he's done all year. Needless to say, (the bullpen) has been a big part of our success."

Reach Bill Zack at bzack30143@aol.com.