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Braves 4-12 in last 16 home playoff games

10/12/2004 - Atlanta Braves

ATLANTA -- Those who criticized the Atlanta Braves for
cashing in on only one of five World Series appearances in the
1990s should at least give those teams credit for making it that
far.

The Braves of the 2000s can only dream of a World Series loss.

With Monday night's 12-3 loss to the Houston Astros in Game 5,
the Braves have been eliminated in the NL division series in three
consecutive years and four of five.

And while the Braves made this playoff series interesting with a
gritty Game 4 comeback in Houston on Sunday, that road resolve only
set up the home fans for more misery. For a fifth straight year,
Atlanta fans watched a visiting team celebrate after eliminating
the Braves.

"The older guys don't want to sit there and watch it," said
third baseman Chipper Jones, one of the team's veterans. "It's old
hat; we've been through it before. Guys like Chucky (Thomas) and
Adam (LaRoche), they need to feel that sting. That will motivate
them in the offseason."

The 2003 Cubs, 2002 Giants and 2000 Cardinals clinched their
first-round wins in Atlanta, and Arizona wrapped up its 2001 NL
pennant at Turner Field.

The Braves' first season in Turner Field was 1997, and in seven
of their eight years in "The Ted" the Braves have been eliminated
from the postseason at home. The lone exception was 1999, when the
Braves were swept in the World Series by the Yankees, and Game 4
was played in New York.

The Braves are 4-12 in their last 16 home postseason games,
including a 1-2 home record in this series.

Jaret Wright lost for the second time in the series. Though he
had been through the postseason grind before with Cleveland in
1997, he said the pain was new and unique.

"It's never fun to lose," Wright said. "To go out there and
lay it on the line, you can't describe it."

Wright gave up four runs and six hits in 5 1/3 innings.

"Trying to shut down a team like that is a tough job," he
said. "We gave it all we had."

Reliever Chris Reitsma gave up four runs and four hits in
two-thirds of an inning, leaving him with an 18.00 ERA for the
series.

"It doesn't feel good," Reitsma said. "It's frustrating to
come to this point and lose. It's a pretty bad feeling."

Reitsma had two outs before giving up a two-strike, run-scoring
single to Craig Biggio.

"On that flare to right, he was just protecting the plate,"
Reitsma said. "That wasn't a bad pitch."

Carlos Beltran added an RBI single before Jeff Bagwell added a
two-run homer for an 8-2 lead.

"We just ran out of gas," Jones said. "It was a good game for
seven innings and then all of a sudden the floodgates opened."

Jones predicted the Astros "are going to give the
Cardinals everything they want in the NLCS."

The Braves, who have at times played before empty seats in the
playoffs in recent years, can't blame their fans for lack of
support Monday. A Turner Field sellout crowd of 54,068 show up, the
second-largest crowd in Atlanta history, but Braves' fans had few
occasions to chant and chop their familiar red foam tomahawks.

The Braves' 13th consecutive division flag has been mounted in
left field, but the division dynasty was again reduced to
postseason rubble as the wild-card Astros won their first
postseason series.

Rafael Furcal and Johnny Estrada stirred the fans with home runs
in the fifth inning, pulling the Braves to 3-2. But those were the
only Atlanta runners to touch third base until the seventh, when
Estrada, hitting cleanup for only the 12th time this year, drove in
Furcal.

"It just doesn't seem fitting for the postseason to end like
this," Jones said.