Final

Series: Game 3 of 3

Atlanta won 3-0

Game 1: Tuesday, April 22
St. Louis3Final
Atlanta5
Game 2: Wednesday, April 23
St. Louis2Final
Atlanta4
Game 3: Thursday, April 24
St. Louis3Final
Atlanta4

Cardinals 3

(9-11, 5-7 away)

Braves 4

(13-9, 8-5 home)

    7:35 PM ET, April 24, 2003

    Turner Field, Atlanta, Georgia 

    123456789 R H E
    STL 000002100 3 4 0
    ATL 000002002 4 15 0

    W: R. King (1-0)

    L: S. Kline (0-2)

    Andruw Jones hits two-run single in ninth

    ATLANTA (AP) -- The St. Louis Cardinals sure could have used Jason Isringhausen in this one.

    Andruw Jones hit a two-run single in the ninth inning, rallying the Atlanta Braves to a 4-3 victory over the Cardinals on a rainy Thursday night.

    The Braves swept the three-game series and won for the ninth time in 10 games to remain tied for first in the NL East with Philadelphia and Montreal.

    "Everybody in the lineup is swinging the bat good," Jones said. "Everybody is doing the right things for us to win."

    Not so for the Cardinals, the defending NL Central champions. They lost their fifth in a row to drop two games below .500.

    Isringhausen, who had 32 saves a year ago, is on the disabled list while recovering from shoulder surgery. In his absence, Steve Kline (0-2) and Cal Eldred failed to protect a 3-2 lead in the ninth.

    Rafael Furcal got things started with a leadoff single, tying a career high with his fourth hit of the game. Marcus Giles sacrificed him to second before Kline walked Gary Sheffield and Chipper Jones to load the bases.

    Eldred, seeking the first save of his career, came on to face Andruw Jones.

    The Braves outfielder lined the first pitch to the gap in left-center, stopping after he rounded first as the tying and winning runs scored.

    Cardinals manager Tony La Russa bristled when asked why he brought in Eldred, who came in with a 7.04 ERA. Opposing hitters were batting .313 against him.

    "Evidently, he was the guy I thought was the right guy for the situation," La Russa said sarcastically.

    Kline, who leads the Cardinals with three saves, said Furcal had the biggest hit in the ninth.

    "He beats me every time I pitch to him," Kline said. "He sets the tone, and he did again tonight."

    Kline pitched around Sheffield with first base open, hoping to take advantage of the slumping Chipper Jones. But he walked, too.

    "It backfired on me," Kline said. "I didn't want Sheffield to beat us.''

    Ray King (1-0) earned his first win for the Braves. St. Louis starter Woody Williams stretched his scoreless streak to 25 innings before the Braves scored twice in the sixth to tie it.

    Williams was only the third pitcher since 1990 to get through his first three starts without giving up a run, a span of 19 2-3 innings.

    He gave up 11 hits in 6 1/3 innings but left with his team leading. Fernando Vina came through with a two-out triple against Kevin Gryboski.

    "It's been a fantastic season for me," Williams said. "I just hope we get out of this funk."

    The Braves had a chance to tie it in the eighth, but Julio Franco was thrown out at the plate on a throw from center fielder Eli Marrero.

    Atlanta's Mike Hampton took a no-hitter into the sixth inning of a scoreless game, but a walk to Williams sparked a two-run outburst by the Cardinals.

    Miguel Cairo had the first St. Louis hit, a triple that brought home Williams with the first run. Edgar Renteria followed with a sacrifice fly to make it 2-0.

    The game started 36 minutes late because of rain, which stopped long enough to pull off the tarp, then returned for the rest of the night.

    Mindful of the inclement weather, both managers played each inning as if it might be the last.

    Giles had two of his three sacrifice bunts in the first five innings, and Darren Bragg came in as a pinch-runner in the fourth. Vina put down a sacrifice bunt in the sixth, allowing Williams to score easily on Cairo's hit.

    The Braves had six hits through the first five innings, but couldn't push across a run. Williams finally faltered in the sixth, with Atlanta stringing together four more hits to tie it at 2.

    Franco doubled with one out and moved to third on Vinny Castilla's single to left. Johnny Estrada, filling in for the ailing Javy Lopez, singled to right to bring home the first run of the season against Williams.

    With two outs, Williams worked the count to 0-2 on Furcal, who then lined an RBI single up the middle to tie the score.

    Hampton endured two miserable seasons in Colorado before coming to the Braves in a trade. He showed signs of regaining the form that made him a 22-game winner in 1999.

    Hampton went six innings, allowing just two hits but struggling a bit with his control. He walked four, one intentionally.

    "I didn't get the win but the team did," Hampton said. "We won a game that I started. That's a big step for me."

    Game notes
    San Francisco's Ryan Jensen (2002) and Philadelphia's Tommy Greene (1991) are the only other pitchers since 1990 to start the season with three straight scoreless starts. ... The announced attendance was 24,184, but there appeared to be no more than 5,000 in the park during the latter innings. ... Lopez played for the first time since straining his left hamstring Saturday. He struck out as a pinch-hitter.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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