Originally created 05/17/03

Braves beat Padres, 6-4



SAN DIEGO -- Robert Fick doubled home the go-ahead run in the eighth inning, and the Atlanta Braves overcame a strange inside-the-park homer by Sean Burroughs to beat the San Diego Padres 6-4 Friday night.

Atlanta improved to 29-13, the best record in the majors, while the Padres (13-29) lost for the 15th time in 18 games and have the worst mark in the NL.

Fick's RBI double into the right-field corner off Charles Nagy (0-1) drove in Andruw Jones, who led off with a single, for a 5-4 lead. After Javy Lopez singled, Darren Bragg - pinch-running for Fick - scored on a throwing error by third baseman Burroughs.

Kevin Gryboski (3-2) pitched a scoreless inning, and John Smoltz worked a perfect ninth for his 17th save in 18 chances.

The Padres had already scored twice in the third inning on RBI singles by Rondell White and Xavier Nady when Burroughs' inside-the-park home run set off an argument.

Burroughs sliced Mike Hampton's pitch down the left-field line. Chipper Jones missed on a diving attempt and the ball bounced into the Padres' bullpen in foul territory.

Replays clearly showed that the ball went through an open gate that leads to a bathroom. The ball hit a trash can and bounced back out into the bullpen.

As Nady scored, Chipper Jones retrieved the ball and threw to shortstop Rafael Furcal, whose throw to the plate from short left field was too late to get Burroughs as San Diego took a 4-3 lead.

A number of Braves players and manager Bobby Cox argued that the ball should have been called out of play. The umpires huddled and, after several minutes, ruled the ball was still in play.

Furcal, who had three hits, tied it at 4 with a leadoff homer off Jake Peavy in the fifth inning. Furcal also tripled and scored a run in the third.

The Braves took a 3-0 lead by scoring single runs in the first three innings on Gary Sheffield's sacrifice fly, a solo homer by Lopez and a run-scoring double by Chipper Jones.

Notes: Burroughs' inside-the-park homer was the 15th in San Diego history and the first since Ruben Rivera hit one against Anaheim on July 17, 2000. ... The Braves have won 16 straight games when scoring first, and 20 of 21 this season. ... Nagy made his first appearance for the Padres after his contract was purchased from Triple-A Portland earlier Friday. ... San Diego extended its streak to 14 straight games without a starter pitching into the seventh inning.