Braves stun Cubs in 10, 2-1 Two outs from shutout, Tapani yields tying HR

C. Jones wins it in 10th

Glavine takes no-hit bid to 6th

At 0-2, Cubs go home for Maddux-Wood duel

October 02, 1998|By BOSTON GLOBE

ATLANTA -- While the rest of the baseball world was captivated this summer by the mesmerizing feats of the New York Yankees and the Bunyanesque home run race between Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa, the Atlanta Braves quietly dominated their little corner of the national pastime.

Last night in prime time, the Braves showed a nationwide television audience what they're made of -- pitching, timely hitting, and plenty of resilience.

Given up for dead, they rallied to beat the Chicago Cubs, 2-1, on Chipper Jones' one-out single in the 10th inning and grabbed a 2-0 lead in their best-of-five National League Division Series.

Just when it appeared the Braves had met their match in Kevin Tapani, catcher Javy Lopez belted a homer with one out in the ninth, tying the game, 1-1, and giving the Braves new life before 51,713, the largest crowd in the two-year history of Turner Field.

Jones capitalized on it with his single to left off reliever Terry Mulholland, who took the mound after watching his team squander a golden chance in the top of the 10th.

Now Atlanta is one win away from making its seventh NL Championship Series appearance of this decade. The series moves to Wrigley Field for Game 3 tomorrow night, when Greg Maddux pitches for Atlanta against his former team and rookie phenom Kerry Wood.

Jones' hit made a winner of rookie reliever Odalis Perez, the fifth and last Braves pitcher. With one out and runners at first and third, Perez struck out ex-Brave Jeff Blauser. Mickey Morandani was trying to steal second on the 3-2 pitch. Shortstop Walt Weiss was late covering the bag and television replays appeared to show Morandini was on the bag when tagged. But second base umpire Jerry Layne called him out for a double play to end the inning.

"My leg was in there," Morandini said.

With one out in the bottom of the 10th, Weiss drew a walk. Pinch hitter Tony Graffanino bunted down the first base line to Mark Grace, the only holdover from the Cubs' last playoff team in 1989.

Mulholland and second baseman Morandini were confused about who was going to cover, and Grace was late making the throw. Mulholland caught the ball but collided with Morandini and missed the bag for an error.

"I should have let Mickey make that play," Mulholland said.

Jones then drove Weiss home, bringing an end to a classic fall pitching duel dominated by Tapani and Tom Glavine, who allowed just three hits and a run while striking out eight in seven innings but seemed destined to lose until Lopez took him off the hook.

Having thrown 99 pitches through eight innings, Tapani took a four-hitter to the mound for the finishing touch. He never got to apply it, watching in horror as Lopez launched a 1-0 pitch into the left-field stands.

An inning later, Jones left the Cubs demoralized.

"This is a momentum-builder for us," said Jones. "We certainly didn't want to split here and go to that crazy place in Chicago needing to win two more games."

Jones ensured that would not be the case when he belted Mulholland's first pitch -- "a cutter inside," he said -- down the line in left.

"Terry Mulholland is a guy whose bread and butter is to saw you off inside," said Jones, who struck out in his first three at-bats vs. Tapani. "In that situation, I'm a prime candidate for a double play."

As his winning hit began to fall, well out of the reach of Cubs left fielder Glenallen Hill, Jones mimicked the home run histrionics of Red Sox postseason heroes past as he tried use a little body lean to coax it to stay fair. "I was doing a little bit of Carlton Fisk and a little bit of Dave Henderson going down there to first," he said.

None of it would have been possible had it not been for Lopez.

"We were stymied by Tapani," said Braves manager Bobby Cox. "We hit three balls hard in the first inning and didn't hit another after that. Obviously, that homer by Javy was huge. We thought we could win at that point, but we had one out and were facing sudden death."

Glavine was no slouch, either, carrying a no-hitter through five innings in which he allowed just one ball to leave the infield.

Glavine finally faltered in the sixth when he gave up a leadoff single to Morandini and a bloop single to right by Scott Servais. Tapani advanced the runners with a sacrifice before Lance Johnson scored Morandini with a grounder to second as the Braves played the infield back.

"He was really good; he was awesome -- really awesome," Cox said of Glavine. "But so was Tapani. One guy leaves with no runs and the other guy leaves with one run. You can't pitch any better than that."

The Cubs now put their season in the hands of Wood, the 21-year-old flame thrower who hasn't pitched in the majors in a month because of a sprained elbow ligament.

Wood tied a major-league record in May by striking out 20 in a nine-inning game. The right-hander wound up third in the league with 233 strikeouts despite missing the final month.

"I'm excited to get back out there," said Wood, who was put on the Cubs' postseason roster Wednesday. "It's been kind of frustrating of late to be watching the team go out there and play in some big games and not being able to be a part of it."

NL Division Series

Atlanta vs. Chicago Cubs

(Atlanta leads 2-0)

Game 1

Atlanta 7, Chicago 1

Yesterday: Game 2

Atlanta 2, Chicago 1, 10 inn.

Tomorrow: Game 3

Atlanta (Maddux 18-9, 2.22) at Chicago (Wood 13-6, 3.40), 7: 30 p.m., chs. 11, 4

Sunday: Game 4*

Atlanta (Neagle 16-11, 3.55) at Chicago (Trachsel 15-8, 4.46), 4: 07 or 7: 37 p.m.,

ESPN or chs. 45, 5

Monday: Game 5*

Chicago at Atlanta, 8: 07 p.m., chs. 45, 5

* -- If necessary

Pub Date: 10/02/98

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