ATLANTA (AP) -- Julio Franco showed that at 45 his memory is
still as strong as his swing.
Facing Julian Tavarez as a pinch hitter for the second time in
as many days, Franco delivered a go-ahead, two-run double in the
seventh inning to lift the Atlanta Braves over the St. Louis
Cardinals 9-7 Saturday in a matchup of division leaders.
In the eighth inning Friday night, Tavarez threw Franco an
inside sinker, and Franco grounded out.
"I figured he would throw me the same pitch," Franco said. "I
was thinking if he threw the same pitch I could get inside of it
and go the other way."
Chipper Jones homered twice, and Andruw Jones and Rafael Furcal
also homered for the Braves, who opened a season-high eight-game
lead over second-place Philadelphia in the NL East. Furcal had four
Both teams are 21-7 since the All-Star break.
"Those were two teams standing toe to toe," Chipper Jones
said. "You had a little bit of everything, a lot of power, a lot
of home runs, good defense, bad defense. ... It was just a
roller-coaster ride from a momentum standpoint."
St. Louis, 12½ games ahead of second-place Chicago in the NL
Central, took a 7-6 lead with an unearned run in the seventh off
Antonio Alfonseca (6-4). With runners on first and second and one
out, pinch-hitter Roger Cedeno grounded to first baseman Adam
LaRoche, whose throw was dropped at second base by Furcal for an
error that allowed Edgar Renteria to score.
"I could have had a welder's mask on, and still I wouldn't have
caught that ball," Walker said.
J.D. Drew walked, prompting Cardinals manager Tony La Russa to
bring in Tavarez to face Franco. After his double, Franco scored on
a two-out single by pinch-hitter Johnny Estrada.
John Smoltz, the Braves' sixth pitcher, got four outs for his
29th save in 31 chances.
Jason Marquis made his first start against Atlanta, his former
team, and allowed a career-high four homers in five innings. He
gave up six runs and 10 hits, both matching season highs, but his
streak of nine straight winning decisions remained intact when the
Cardinals rallied from a 6-3 deficit to tie the game.
"I wanted to come in here and have a good showing, and it went
the other way," Marquis said. "My team kept coming back, and I
kept letting them down."
Atlanta's Russ Ortiz gave up six runs, eight hits and four walks
in five innings.
Pujols' first homer of the game gave the Cardinals a 2-0 lead in
the first inning, but the Braves went ahead 3-2 in the second.
Chipper Jones and Andruw Jones homered, Eddie Perez doubled with
two outs and a Marquis pitch sent Ortiz sprawling. The umpires
huddled to decide whether the pitch hit Ortiz or the bottom of his
bat, and Ortiz took off his batting glove to show the spot the ball
hit his left hand.
Ortiz had the hand wrapped after the game.
After Ortiz was awarded first base and Cardinals manager Tony La
Russa argued, Furcal singled for a 3-2 lead.
Chipper Jones homered again in the third, but Marquis' two-out
RBI single in the fourth pulled St. Louis to 4-3. Furcal hit a
two-run homer in the bottom half.
Pujols' second homer and Renteria's sacrifice fly cut the lead
to 6-5 in the fifth, and Walker's RBI single off Tom Martin tied
the score in the sixth.
Each team had disputes with plate umpire B.B. Bucknor's strike
zone, and in the sixth inning Bucknor and Chipper Jones exchanged
words when Jones, still upset about a call the previous inning,
complained from his position at third base.
St. Louis LF Reggie Sanders got his fifth assist when he
threw out Furcal at second base when Furcal tried to stretch a
single leading. ... Chipper Jones and Andruw Jones homered in the
same game for the first time this season. Chipper Jones' first
homer traveled an estimated 450 feet -- the sixth-longest homer in
Turner Field history. ... Marquis went 2-for-3 and has nine RBI
this season. He has hits in five of his last six starts. ... Pujols
has 10 multihomer games, including four this season. Jones' first
multihomer game of the season raised his total to 29.