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Moss gathers up first major league win

ATLANTA (AP) -- Gary Sheffield took no special pleasure in
homering for the second time in three days against his former team.

Sheffield's three-run homer carried the Atlanta Braves to a 6-2
victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Thursday night, giving
Australian rookie Damian Moss his first major league win.

So, Sheff, that must have felt especially good?

"No, not at all," said Sheffield, who played the last four
seasons with the Dodgers, then was traded to the Braves in January.
"I've played with other teams, too. I don't look at (Los Angeles)
any different. It was just a stopover."

Moss (1-0) didn't pitch nearly as well as his previous start,
when he went seven no-hit innings against St. Louis. Still, the
five-inning stint was good enough to earn the victory in his 12th
big league game.

"It feels great, but I'm not going to dwell on it too long,"
Moss said. "I want to win 200-something more, like another
left-hander in this clubhouse," he added, glancing toward Tom
Glavine's locker.

The game was televised live Down Under, where it was Friday
morning.

"I didn't even think about it," Moss said, breaking into a
grin. "They're probably all at work."

Sheffield homered for the second time in the three-game series
after going more than a month without driving a pitch out of the
park. He has been plagued by a sore left wrist most of the season,
but seems to be nearing a full recovery.

"Sheff is fun to watch right now," said Braves manager Bobby
Cox, whose team has struggled to score runs after supposedly
upgrading the offense. "He's in such a groove. He hits it so hard
it rises like a golf ball."

Los Angeles, which took two of three at Turner Field, has no
complaints about the trade, either. Brian Jordan homered twice on
Tuesday and Odalis Perez went eight strong innings Wednesday,
showcasing two of the players who went from the Braves to the
Dodgers.

"When you make a trade, you are very hopeful that the trade
benefits both sides," Los Angeles manager Jim Tracy said. "When
you give up a great hitter, you don't get peanuts in return. We're
proud of what we got."

Sheffield still has to tape up his wrist, an uncomfortable
situation which causes his hand to go numb. But he is finally
starting to resemble the slugger who was supposed to add punch to
Atlanta's lineup.

"I've learned to play with it," he said.

Vinny Castilla and Chipper Jones also homered for the Braves,
who ended the Dodgers' five-game winning streak on the road.

Los Angeles got off to another good start, scoring a run in each
of the first two innings.

In the bottom of the second, Andruw Jones was hit by a pitch and
Castilla followed with a drive over the center-field wall for his
fourth homer of the season, tying it at 2.

The next inning, the Braves went ahead for good against Andy
Ashby (2-3). Rafael Furcal led off with a single and Keith
Lockhart, on a hit-and-run, slapped the ball through the opening at
shortstop when Cesar Izturis went over to cover the bag. Sheffield
followed by sending an 0-1 pitch deep into the left-field seats.

"That's the way we're supposed to play," Cox said. "Get a
couple on and hit it out."

Sheffield homered in each of his first three games with the
Braves, but the wrist injury kept him out of 10 games and
contributed to a streak of 81 at-bats without a homer.

He snapped that skid with a tying, two-out homer in the bottom
of the ninth Tuesday. This time, he hit a 423-foot drive off Ashby.

"I actually thought it was a gapper," Sheffield said. "But I
hit it hard enough that it kept rising."

Last Friday, Moss had a no-hitter going against the Cardinals
until he was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the top of the eighth
after throwing 116 pitches. He didn't figure in the decision as the
Braves won 2-1 in 11 innings.

Moss stretched his hitless streak to 9 1-3 innings until Marquis
Grissom, the second batter of the game, doubled to the gap in
right-center. Three batters later, Eric Karros drove in the
Dodgers' first run with a single to left.

Los Angeles scored again in the second, benefitting from some
shaky Braves defense. Catcher Javy Lopez threw high to second to
ruin a potential double play, then Sheffield bobbled the ball in
right as he came up trying to throw home on an RBI single by
Izturis.

Moss escaped the jam by getting Grissom on a popup, but was
lifted after throwing 84 pitches in five innings. He gave up four
hits and walked three, including Ashby with a three-run lead. That
drew a stern lecture from pitching coach Leo Mazzone.

"I threw a lot of pitches," Moss said. "I've got to get more
consistent on the outside against right-handers. Then I'll be able
to go deeper in games."

Albie Lopez, Darren Holmes and John Smoltz finished with
scoreless relief for the Braves.

Game notes
The start was delayed 41 minutes by rain that moved in
after the Braves completed batting practice. ... The Dodgers lost
for only the third time in 20 games when scoring the first run.