Final

Series: Game 3 of 4

Atlanta leads 2-1 (as of 9/15)

Game 1: Friday, September 13
Atlanta 3Final
Florida 13
Game 2: Saturday, September 14
Atlanta 10Final
Florida 5
Game 3: Sunday, September 15
Atlanta 6Final
Florida 4
Game 4: Monday, September 16
Atlanta 1Final
Florida 5

Braves 6

(94-53, 45-28 away)

Marlins 4

(72-77, 43-31 home)

    1:05 PM ET, September 15, 2002

    Sun Life Stadium, Miami, Florida 

    123456789 R H E
    ATL 000006000 6 - -
    FLA 002002000 4 - -

    W: D. Moss (11-5)

    L: J. Wayne (1-2)

    S: J. Smoltz (51)

    Lopez homers again; Smoltz saves No. 51

    MIAMI (AP) -- Javy Lopez capped the best weekend of his most frustrating season with the game's biggest blow.

    A pinch-hit grand slam gave Lopez 10 RBI for the series, and the Atlanta Braves beat the Florida Marlins 6-4 Sunday.

    Lopez hit a homer for the third game in a row but has just 10 this season. He's 4-for-7 in the series to raise his average to .233, still well below his career mark of .282.

    "Sometimes it's a month and I don't hit a home run,'' Lopez said. "It's the first time I've ever been in this situation, hitting that low. I'm taking it as experience. I hope I don't fall into this hole again. It's a bad hole.''

    Florida rookie Justin Wayne shut out Atlanta for five innings but couldn't get through the sixth. Gary Sheffield's pinch-hit RBI single made it 2-all, and Lopez's two-out homer off Graeme Lloyd put the Braves ahead.

    "It's good to get it going,'' Lopez said. "It has been a long season. Sooner or later things have to change.''

    Lopez was batting for Damian Moss (11-5), who won his fourth consecutive decision by allowing two runs and four hits in five innings. Lopez also had a pinch-hit homer Friday.

    John Smoltz pitched a perfect ninth for his major league-leading 51st save. He has blown only four save chances and needs six saves to tie Bobby Thigpen's big league record set in 1990. He also lowered his ERA to 3.50, and opponents are batting .161 against him.

    "I'm trying to make quick work, throw strikes and not waste anything,'' Smoltz said. "And it has been working.''

    A crowd of 7,844 was the smallest to see the Braves play in Miami.

    Florida's Kevin Millar hit a solo homer in the sixth to extend his hitting streak to 21 games, longest of his career and the longest active streak in the majors. Millar also provided footage for TV highlights when he tripped over himself and fell on his rear after catching a routine fly in left field.

    "That darn football field,'' Millar said. "I must have stepped in a Ricky Williams divot. I wanted to move, but I couldn't. My spikes got caught in the shoelaces.''

    Charles Johnson hit his sixth homer for Florida. Mike Lowell doubled in the sixth to extend his hitting streak to 13 games.

    Wayne (1-2), making his third career start and first in Miami, left leading 2-1 but was charged with four runs. He allowed five hits in 5 1-3 innings.

    The skimpy crowd suggested the Miami Dolphins must be more popular than Julian Tavarez. The game went head-to-head with the telecast of the Dolphins' game at Indianapolis, and on Tavarez bobblehead doll day, 7,156 of the souvenirs went unclaimed.

    Trailing 2-0, the Braves began their comeback with one out in the sixth. Chipper Jones and Julio Franco singled, and Matt Franco and Marcus Giles walked to force in a run and send Wayne to the showers.

    Sheffield, one of four regulars held out of the starting lineup by the NL East champions, followed with single off Lloyd. After Henry Blanco struck out, Lopez homered to the opposite field on a 2-0 pitch.

    "When I was on the other side, the key to this lineup was Javy,'' Sheffield said. "When he put up big numbers, the Braves scored 10 or 11 runs a game.''

    Johnson put the Marlins ahead with a leadoff homer in the third. Their other runs scored on a sacrifice fly by Juan Encarnacion and a single by Derrek Lee.

    Game notes


    Braves center fielder Andruw Jones and shortstop Rafael Furcal, both battling the flu, were held out of the lineup for the second consecutive game. Furcal is in a 9-for-59 slump (.153). ... The previous smallest crowd for a Braves game in Miami was 9,177 last Sept. 27. ... Tavarez, originally scheduled to pitch Sunday, was given an extra two days to rest a sore rib cage. He's now scheduled to start Tuesday against Montreal.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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