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Franco keys five-run fifth in Braves' win

8/17/2003

ATLANTA (AP) -- Terry Pendleton is constantly being amazed by the
Atlanta Braves' offense.

"Unbelievable," Pendleton said after the Braves posted their
second straight 10-run game, a 10-6 win over the Arizona
Diamondbacks on Saturday night.

"This team just comes out to hit," said Pendleton, the Braves
hitting coach. "When I played with the Cardinals, we manufactured
runs. When I played here, we manufactured runs and hit a few home
runs. But this club comes out and pounds you into the ground."

Pinch-hitter Julio Franco hit a two-run single to highlight a
five-run fifth inning as the Braves rallied from an early four-run
deficit for their fourth straight win and major league-leading 80th
overall.

Every starter except pitcher Horacio Ramirez had a hit, one
night after they beat the Diamondbacks 10-4. The Braves have scored
at least 10 runs 21 times (20-1) this season.

"Not to take anything away from their offense, because they
just did what they've been doing all year," Arizona manager Bob
Brenly said. "But a lot of their runs, a lot of their hits just
came on ground balls that found holes.

"We've talked about sinkerball pitchers before. You're going to
give up a lot of ground balls and if they happen to find holes
you're going to be in trouble. I think that was the case tonight."

Gary Sheffield led off the bottom of the fifth with a walk. Then
Chipper Jones singled, and Andruw Jones and Javy Lopez followed
with run-scoring hits. Vinny Castilla walked to load the bases for
Franco, who slapped a hard single down the left-field line to make
it 9-6. Marcus Giles added an RBI single.

"We've had a lot of American League games in the National
League the last two seasons," Braves manager Bobby Cox said.

Reliever Eddie Oropesa (3-3) gave up all five runs in the fifth.

"It was my fault," Oropesa said. "We lost because I didn't
pitch good."

Atlanta starter Ramirez felt much the same way, even though his
teammates bailed him out. Ramirez gave up six runs -- four earned --
and seven hits to remain winless in seven starts since July 7. He
was in trouble in four of the first five innings and committed two
of Atlanta's season-high four errors.

"I deserved a loss," Ramirez said. "But thank goodness we
have the offense we do."

They needed it.

Arizona scored four runs in the first as Ramirez labored through
38 pitches. After the Diamondbacks loaded the bases on two hits and
a walk, Junior Spivey walked to force in the first run.

Danny Bautista then drove in two more with a high bouncer in the
hole that third baseman Castilla knocked into center field. After
walking Chad Moeller to load the bases again with two outs, Ramirez
walked pitcher Elmer Dessens.

Ramirez loaded the bases again in the second and worked out of a
first and third jam in the third.

Atlanta got a run back in the bottom of the first on Giles' home
run and went ahead 5-4 with a four-run third.

Chipper Jones drove a run with a single, Andruw Jones hit a
two-run double and Robert Fick added an RBI single.

Sheffield had a single in the rally to extend his hitting streak
to a career-high 20 games.

In the fifth, Ramirez's two errors led to two Arizona runs.
Hammock led off with a single and advanced to third on Ramirez's
wild pickoff attempt. He scored when Ramirez couldn't handle
pinch-hitter Matt Kata's suicide squeeze.

"It was a do-or-die play," Ramirez said. "I tried to scoop it
up but couldn't get a handle on it."

Kevin Gryboski (6-3) struck out Raul Mondesi -- his only batter --
to end Arizona's fifth-inning rally. Will Cunnane, Trey Hodges and
Ray King pitched scoreless relief over the final four innings.

Dessens didn't fare much better than Ramirez, leaving after
giving up five runs on eight hits in four innings. He is 1-3 in his
past nine starts.<
^Notes: Franco is 7-for-34 (.206) with seven RBI as a pinch-hitter
this season. ... The announced attendance of 49,127 was a season
high and the fourth sellout of the season. ... Atlanta P Paul Byrd
has started a stretching routine after undergoing Tommy John
surgery. ... Giles' homer gave the Braves 22 in their last 10 games
and a league-high 186 overall. ... Arizona C Rod Barajas was hit in
the right (throwing) thumb on a foul tip Friday night and sat out
as a precaution. Brenly also gave OF Luis Gonzalez and OF Steve
Finley a night off, which gave the Diamondbacks an entirely
right-handed order against the lefty Ramirez. ... Arizona 2B Spivey
went 1-for-4 and 18-for-32 lifetime (.562) at Atlanta.