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JUSTICE BEGINS COMEBACK WITH A BANG

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Next time David Justice tells Bobby Cox he's ready to play, the manager won't hesitate to write his name on the lineup card.

After missing eight games with a bruised nerve in his right shoulder, Justice took batting practice before Tuesday night's Atlanta-Colorado game and then convinced Cox he was ready to play."I told him no at first," Cox said of Justice's pregame request. "He said whatever he could do tomorrow night he could do tonight. Whatever he did today, he may as well do tomorrow."

That would mean quite a season: Justice had four hits and as many RBIs in the Braves' 15-3 victory that gave them a 23-2 record against Colorado, 11-1 at home.

"I think I did pretty good," Justice understated after hitting a two-run homer and combining with Fred McGriff for eight of Atlanta's 20 hits. "I'd just take this three times a week for the whole season."

"All I was thinking about all night was keeping both hands on the bat because my shoulder still hurts," Justice said. "I've got to play with the pain that I have if I want to play."

The Braves also got home runs from Jeff Blauser and rookies Jose Oliva and Chipper Jones, helping John Smoltz (2-2) improve his lifetime record against the Rockies to 5-0.

It was only the fourth victory in 12 games for the Braves.

Cubs 2, Giants 0

Jamie Navarro allowed three hits over 82/3 innings as the Cubs (12-6), off to their best start since 1985, won their second straight at Candlestick Park.

Phillies 9, Marlins 7, 10 innings

Heathcliff Slocumb blew a save opportunity for the first time this season, allowing Gary Sheffield's grand slam with two outs in the bottom of the ninth.

Expos 7, Reds 3

Shane Andrews, Mark Grudzielanek and Tony Tarasco homered for the Expos to back up rookie left-hander Carlos Perez (2-0) who allowed two runs on four hits in 52/3 innings.

Mets 1, Astros 0

Bobby Jones and Doug Henry combined on a three-hitter as the Astros dropped their fourth straight, all at home, where they are 1-6 this season.

Pirates 2, Dodgers 0

Denny Neagle and two relievers combined on a nine-hitter and Dave Clark drove in two runs with a first-inning single and his first homer of the season in the sixth.

Padres 1, Cardinals 0

Eddie Williams' single scored Tony Gwynn in the bottom of the ninth to give the Padres their 11th straight home win over the Cardinals, a streak dating to July 8, 1992.

American League

Red Sox 5, Brewers 0

Mo Vaughn homered twice, giving him a major league-leading total of 10, and Erik Hanson pitched a four-hitter to lead the Boston Red Sox past the Milwaukee Brewers.

Indians 10, Yankees 5

Albert Belle went 3-for-4 with a double, and Manny Ramirez and Paul Sorrento also homered as visiting Cleveland ended an 11-game losing streak to New York that began in 1993.

Rangers 6, Blue Jays 1

Kenny Rogers (3-2) won his third straight start, but left with a strained hamstring. Rogers, whose right leg began bothering him during the third inning, allowed two hits in five shutout innings, struck out seven and walked two at Arlington.

Tigers 9, Orioles 8

Travis Fryman hit a two-run double off Doug Jones (0-2) in the ninth at Camden Yards as Detroit overcame a pair of two-run homers by Rafael Palmeiro.

Athletics 7, White Sox 1

Mark McGwire extended his hitting streak to a career-high 13 games, going 2-for-2 with a go-ahead home run.

Angels 9, Twins 6

Tony Phillips and Damion Easley hit consecutive homers in the sixth inning as visiting California rallied from a 6-0 deficit.

Royals 4, Mariners 2

Pat Borders and Joe Randa homered as Kansas City rallied to send visiting Seattle to its seventh loss in 10 games.