MILWAUKEE - Bobby Cox has this habit with cigars after Braves games. Whether he's in his Turner Field office or visiting clubhouse of another ballpark, he will almost always plop down in a swivel chair behind his desk, light one up and puff away while watching television.
Some days, like after his team was swept by the Philadelphia Phillies on Sunday, he does it merely out of habit. But, naturally, he prefers to smoke his cigar in celebration, as he did after the Braves beat the Milwaukee Brewers 2-1 on Monday.
"It's not a losing cigar, for a change," the Braves manager said after career victory No. 2,200.
It was a welcome change for Atlanta, which had lost three in a row and 10 of its past 14 games.
Starter Chuck James was primarily responsible for the win.
The left-hander threw six innings, allowed one run, struck out a career-high eight batters and largely silenced a sellout crowd of 41,139 at Miller Park.
The Braves' only offense came from a solo home run by center fielder Andruw Jones and an RBI single by second baseman Kelly Johnson.
It wasn't exactly a breakout game for Atlanta against Brewers pitcher Chris Capuano, who allowed two runs on seven hits over seven innings. But the way James pitched, it was enough to claim a much-needed win.
"We didn't give him much to work with," Cox said. "But he threw well today. His control was good."
Over the weekend, James said he studied his mechanics on tape and noticed he was throwing the ball across his body too much. Whatever he changed Monday, it worked.
"It's definitely nice after being swept to jump on these guys in the first game, and it's definitely huge for me," James said. "I've been struggling a little bit with mechanics, and today is really the first day I felt like I could just throw the ball and know that I could throw strikes."
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Morry Gash/associated press