Originally created 07/25/02

Moss, Braves continue dominance



MIAMI - No one would have blamed Florida manager Jeff Torborg for running up a white flag and insisting Wednesday afternoon's game end early.

But with no 10-run rule in effect, Torborg was forced to watch in pained silence as Atlanta first baseman Wes Helms energized the offense with a career-high four hits, and the Braves wrapped up a successful trip by whacking the Marlins 10-0 before 10,375 stunned fans at Pro Player Stadium.

"It tells you how good things are going and how much things have changed," pitcher Tom Glavine said. "It wasn't all that long ago that everybody was talking about our lack of production at first base. We got a good thing going right now. It's not just Chipper (Jones), Sheff (Gary Sheffield) and Andruw (Jones)."

The Braves return home Friday to face the last-place Philadelphia Phillies after another two-city victory tour in which Atlanta won five of six. Given the way they have played on the road this season, the Braves might stay away more often. Their 33 road wins are the most in the National League, and are tied with the Boston Red Sox and Seattle Mariners for major-league honors.

Winners of 47 of 62 games since May 15, the Braves are unbeaten in their past 22 series (18-0-4), and have their Big Three - Kevin Millwood, Greg Maddux, and Tom Glavine - lined up against the Phillies.

"We're getting it from everybody," manager Bobby Cox said. "It's amazing."

The Braves' offense, meanwhile, banged out 12 hits, its most in a week, including Helms' two doubles and 450-foot home run, to dispatch the Marlins for a second-straight time after losing 2-1 on Monday night. Helms needed a triple for the cycle, but popped up in the ninth.

Helms wasn't alone in his offensive awakening. Henry Blanco capped a six-run first inning against beleaguered Marlins starter Michael Tejera with a three-run home run, his third of the season. Gary Sheffield contributed two more hits, and Andruw Jones added a double, a home run and knocked in two runs.

"Today I felt like I could hit any pitch," said Helms, who knocked in three runs. "I was zoned in. It's good for us to get in there and give the big boppers a rest."

Helms came into the game just 1-for-37 against left-handers this year, but all four of his hits came against Florida lefties Tejera and Vic Darensbourg.

Atlanta's Damian Moss went on cruise control for the win - his sixth of the season.

He gave up just one hit and walked three in seven innings, his most impressive outing to date. The only hit the Marlins had was Derrek Lee's single to open the fifth. Moss had four strikeouts, and threw 96 pitches, 58 for strikes.

"I didn't want to have flashbacks of Texas," said Moss, who squandered most of an 11-2 lead against the Rangers on June 7, and didn't last five innings. "I tried to go out like it was a 1-0 game."

Said Lee: "(Moss) is a lot like Tom Glavine. He gives you that comfortable 0-fer. You feel like you're on him, and you're not."

The Marlins have been no-hit before (Ramon Martinez, 1995), but they had never before been one-hit.

Moss and Albie Lopez claimed the honor, handing Florida its seventh-shutout this year. The last combined one-hitter by the Braves was April 11, 2001, when Greg Maddux, Mike Remlinger and John Rocker beat the New York Mets 2-0. The Braves, who had 16 hits in the first two games, had 10 or more hits just twice on the trip, which began with a three-game sweep in Philadelphia.

They not only continue to thrive without much production from Chipper Jones, who has just 18 hits in his past 83 at-bats (.217), but survived Javy Lopez's excused absence.

"On a day like today, when everybody is mentally tired, to go out and score 10 runs means, we've got a real good team playing all together," said Andruw Jones, who launched a two-run home run, his 23rd of the season, in the sixth. "That's why we're winning."

Reach Bill Zack at bzack30143@aol.com