Local News

Braves 5, Reds 2

Posted August 29, 2000 7:00 a.m. EDT

— The Atlanta Braves went behind closed doors to clear the air. When they emerged from the clubhouse, they looked more like the team that has won eight straight division titles.

Tom Glavine pitched a three-hitter to become the NL's first 18-game winner, Andres Galarraga hit a two-run homer and the Braves ended a four-game losing streak with a 5-2 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday night.

The victory ended the Braves' longest losing streak of the season and kept them tied with New York for first in the NL East. The Mets defeated Houston 1-0.

``I don't think there was any urgency,'' Glavine said. ``But there was probably a little more enthusiasm than we've had the last couple of days.''

After batting practice, the clubhouse doors were closed and the players held a rare private meeting to talk about their woes, which included five losses on the first six games of the homestand and a 13-14 record in August.

``Sometimes, it doesn't hurt to get in there and clear the air,'' Glavine said. ``There's no problems. No one is mad at each other. It's just that time of year where you've got to bear down. You've got to overcome the fact that you're tired and overcome the fact that you've got injuries. So does everybody else.''

Braves manager Bobby Cox picked up his 1,600th victory, passing Tommy Lasorda for 14th place on the career list.

``I forgot about it,'' Cox said. ``Someone said something about wins as I was coming down the tunnel. I thought Tommy had done something.''

Glavine (18-6) won for the 11th time in 12 starts -- including four in a row -- as he closes in on the fifth 20-win season of his career. The left-hander retired the last 11 hitters for his third complete game of the season and 48th overall.

Glavine has become the Atlanta stopper, going 8-1 when he's pitched after the team lost. Five of those wins have come in August, helping to prevent the Braves' slide from being more pronounced.

``It's a challenge,'' he said. ``Don't get me wrong. It's nice knowing I can go out there after a loss and turn things around. But for morale purposes, I'd much rather be pitching in the midst of a winning streak rather than trying to stop a losing streak.''

The Reds knew they were facing a pitcher at the top of his game.

``You expect that kind of pitching from the Braves,'' manager Jack McKeon said. ``He was outstanding. He mixed his speeds well. He had good control. He stopped us cold.''

The Braves pounded Cincinnati starter Elmer Dessens (6-5) for 12 hits and five runs in five innings.

``He wasn't sharp with his location. He got the ball up,'' McKeon said. ``If he gets the ball up, he gets murdered. But at least he kept us close.''

Chipper Jones had an RBI double in the first and Javy Lopez led off the second with his 22nd homer, putting the Braves ahead for good. They put the game away in the fifth after Dessens retired the first two hitters.

B.J. Surhoff reached on an infield single and took an extra base when second baseman Pokey Reese threw the ball into the dugout. Galarraga followed with his 25th homer, an opposite-field drive to the right-field bleachers.

Galarraga was stymied on his two previous at-bats. Reese made a great diving stop on a grounder to end the first, then Surhoff was thrown out at the plate to end the third after the Big Cat singled to left-fielder Alex Ochoa.

``I needed a home run to get an RBI,'' Galarraga said with a grin.

Cincinnati scored on Juan Castro's RBI single in the second and Dante Bichette's sacrifice fly in the sixth. Otherwise, the Reds hardly touched Glavine, who retired the side in order six times.

The Braves outhit Cincinnati 14-3.

Former Atlanta closer Mark Wohlers made his first appearance at Turner Field since he was dealt to Cincinnati in April 1999 with his career in shambles because of control problems. He pitched two scoreless innings and didn't walk anyone.

``I was a lot more confident than I thought I'd be,'' Wohlers said. ``I still have a lot of friends here. I was just hoping to get through it.''

Notes: Braves RF Brian Jordan sat out his second straight game because of a sore right shoulder. Reggie Sanders started in his place and made a nice diving catch on Ken Griffey Jr.'s liner to end the third. ... Dessens was the first Cincinnati starter to lose since April 20, when he took the defeat vs. Pittsburgh. In between those losses, Cincinnati starters went 6-0 with a 2.85 ERA in nine games. ... John Riedling, called up Monday when Scott Williamson went on the disabled list, made his major league debut by pitching a scoreless eighth.