Just like last year, the Atlanta Braves are winning close games.
Greg Maddux gave the bullpen a 3-1 lead Sunday at Pittsburgh, but the relievers failed to hold it. It took until the 13th inning for the Braves to win, with Marquis Grissom hitting a three-run homer off Dan Miceli (0-2) for a 5-3 victory."It makes baseball fun when you go out and win a lot, especially when you win come-from-behind games," Grissom said.
Atlanta won 25 games last season in its final at-bat. The Braves have done it seven times this year, putting them roughly on the same pace.
"We had plenty of opportunities to win the game and we didn't get it done," said Pittsburgh manager Jim Leyland, who shouted at his players so loudly that it could be heard outside the clubhouse. "I don't want to hear anything about battling back . . . the only time you battle is when you battle and win."
Javy Lopez hit two solo homers as the Braves won for the ninth time in 11 games.
Pinch-hitter Eddie Perez walked in the 13th, and Miceli threw into center field on on Tony Graffanino's bunt. Pinch-runner Mark Lemke was thrown out at third on Mike Mordecai's unsuccessful sacrifice attempt, but Grissom followed with the fifth homer off Miceli in 17 1-3 innings this season.
"If we don't mess up the bunt, they probably walk Grissom and pitch to (Jermaine) Dye," Braves manager Bobby Cox said. "That's how crazy baseball is. We mess up a bunt play . . . and instead of them walking Grissom, he hits a three-run homer. Sometimes those things work in your favor."
At Three Rivers Stadium, Terrell Wade (1-0) pitched two scoreless innings for his first major league victory. Mike Bielecki pitched the 13th for only his second major league save and his first since 1990.
"You win collectively and lose collectively, and, right now, we're doing a heck of a job at losing collectively," Pittsburgh's Jay Bell said.
Dodgers 4, Expos 3
Mike Blowers hit a three-run double off Mel Rojas (3-3) as Los Angeles overcame a 1-0 deficit in the ninth inning at Olympic Stadium. The Dodgers completed a three-game sweep and have won nine of 12.
Tom Candiotti (3-4) allowed two hits in eight innings but trailed following Sherman Obando's seventh-inning homer.
After Blowers' double, Roger Cedeno added an RBI groundout for a 4-1 lead. Moises Alou hit a two-run single in the bottom half off Todd Worrell, who got his 14th save.
Marlins 8, Cardinals 2
Jeff Conine homered twice and Gary Sheffield hit his 16th homer at Joe Robbie Stadium, stopping the Cardinals' five-game winning streak.
Conine, 5-for-39 in his previous 11 games, went 3-for-3 with three RBIs. He hit a two-run homer in the second and a solo shot in the fifth for an 8-0 lead against Donovan Osborne (3-3).
David Weathers (2-0) allowed seven hits and one earned run in 6 1-3 innings. The game was called with no outs in the top of the eighth after a rain delay of 1:17.
Astros 7, Cubs 2
Jeff Bagwell drove in three runs with a sacrifice fly and go-ahead double. Shane Reynolds (7-3) allowed two runs and four hits in seven innings as Houston completed its first three-game home sweep of Chicago in seven seasons.
Reynolds struck out 10 giving him 22 in his last two starts. Castillo has lost five straight starts.
Phillies 10, Giants 1
Terry Mulholland (5-3) allowed one run and six hits in 7 2-3 innings, and Todd Zeile hit a ninth-inning grand slam for visiting Philadelphia.
Mulholland doubled and had an RBI single as part of a 14-hit attack. Ricky Bottalico finished with perfect relief for his 14th save.
Osvaldo Fernandez (3-3), winless in six starts, gave up four runs and seven hits in seven innings.
Mets 1, Padres 0
Bobby Jones (5-1) scattered five hits in eight innings at Shea Stadium to win his fifth straight decision, and Bernard Gilkey homered in the first off Sean Bergman (2-5).
John Franco finished for his ninth save in 12 chances, helping the Mets win for just the fifth time in 14 games.