Originally created 06/02/04

Late homers rescue Braves



ATLANTA - Atlanta's J.D. Drew didn't give Nick Green time for his second curtain call in two days.

Green, who hit his first major league home run Monday, tied Tuesday night's game against the Montreal Expos with a three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning.

And before the rookie could take his helmet off in the dugout, Drew hit the first pitch he saw over the fence for the game-winner in a 7-6 Braves victory that pushed their record above .500 for the first time in almost a month.

"I didn't see (Drew's home run)," Green said. "I looked up and saw Johnny (Estrada) jumping over the dugout fence. I had to run out there with him to celebrate."

The final at-bat heroics touched off a mob scene at home plate as every able-bodied Brave jumped on top of Drew.

Chipper Jones wasn't among them, though. Atlanta's left fielder reaggravated a hamstring injury while running out a ground ball in the fourth inning. He pulled up 10 feet short of the first-base bag and slammed his helmet down in disgust as he hobbled into the Braves' dugout.

The hamstring is the same one he partially tore earlier this season, an injury that landed him on the disabled list in April and forced him to miss 16 games.

Jones left the Braves' clubhouse with a heavy wrap on his leg. He is listed as day-to-day and is not expected to go back on the disabled list.

The comeback erased the memories of an otherwise horrendous night by the Braves (26-25), who committed three errors and were shut down offensively by a pitcher making his first appearance of the season.

Atlanta's early offense made Montreal starter Tony Armas Jr. look like an ace. He retired 13 of the first 14 hitters he faced, no-hitting the Braves for four innings.

Armas' performance overshadowed another solid outing by Braves right-hander Jaret Wright. He scattered six hits in seven innings, allowing four runs.

In the ninth, Mark DeRosa reached on an error by Montreal's Tony Batista. Two batters later, second baseman Jose Vidro misplayed an Eli Marrero pop up that fell in for a single. Two batters later, Green homered to left field off Rocky Biddle (0-3).

"I said to DeRosa, 'This is unbelievable. He did it again,' " said Drew, referencing Green's homer on Monday. "I made my mind up I was going to swing at that first pitch as hard as I could. And I got the barrel on it."

Drew then hit his 11th homer of the year on the next pitch.

Reach Adam Van Brimmer at (404) 589-8424 or adam.vanbrimmer@morris.com.