Final

Series: Game 1 of 3

Milwaukee leads 1-0 (as of 4/25)

Game 1: Friday, April 25
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Atlanta5
Game 2: Saturday, April 26
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Atlanta3
Game 3: Sunday, April 27
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Atlanta7

Brewers 12

(9-14, 5-8 away)

Braves 5

(13-10, 8-6 home)

    7:35 PM ET, April 25, 2003

    Turner Field, Atlanta, Georgia 

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    MIL 403401000 12 12 0
    ATL 000140000 5 13 0

    W: B. Sheets (2-2)

    L: S. Reynolds (1-1)

    Sexson homers thrice, Vander Wal twice in romp

    ATLANTA (AP) -- The way Milwaukee manager Ned Yost figured it, Richie Sexson simply ran out of places to hit homers.

    "He hit one to left, center and right. Where else was he going to hit it?'' Yost quipped.

    Sexson tied a career high with three home runs, and John Vander Wal homered twice to lead the Milwaukee Brewers over the Atlanta Braves 12-5 Friday night.

    Sexson hit a three-run homer in the first and a solo shot in the third off Shane Reynolds (1-1), and another solo drive in the sixth off Trey Hodges. Sexson, who doubled in the fourth, grounded out in the ninth. He finished with five RBIs and a franchise-record 14 total bases.

    "You're not going to have many nights like this,'' Sexson said. "You just enjoy them when you can.''

    Vander Wal had a two-run homer in the third and added a grand slam in the fourth, giving him six RBIs. The Brewers, who led 11-0 in the fourth, had lost three in a row and hadn't homered in a week.

    "I had no idea it had been that long,'' Sexson said. "And I don't think any of the other guys in here knew it, either.''

    Atlanta had won nine of its previous 10 games.

    "They didn't leave anybody on base,'' Braves manager Bobby Cox said. "They cleaned the plates, the table, the garbage, everything.''

    Ben Sheets (2-2) made the most of the run support, scattering 11 hits and giving up five runs in seven innings.

    Reynolds, who had not allowed a run in his first two starts after signing with Atlanta earlier this month, gave up 10 runs and 10 hits in 3 1/3 innings as his ERA rose to 5.74.

    "I throw one good pitch and then one bad pitch,'' he said. "I could never get consistent. And be consistent with good pitches. It seemed like every time I made a bad pitch they're a hit.''

    Alex Sanchez and Eric Young singled to start the game, and Sexson followed with a 381-foot drive to left. After Geoff Jenkins struck out, Vander Wal doubled and scored on a single by Keith Ginter.

    With one out in the third, Sexson hit a 3-2 pitch into the seats in right, a high drive that barely cleared the wall. Jenkins walked and scored on Vander Wal's liner deep into the seats in right field.

    Milwaukee finished Reynolds in the fourth, loading the bases on a single by Young, a double by Sexson and an intentional walk to Jenkins. Hodges relieved and Vander Wal hit his second pitch for his third career slam.

    Many of the 21,938 fans at Turner Field started leaving.

    "That was one for the books,'' Vander Wal said. "We're playing fundamental baseball. You couldn't ask for a more positive environment that we have right now.''

    Later, Sexson hit another homer off Hodges, a 409-foot line drive to center field. In the ninth, he came to the plate for the final time and hit a weak grounder to third.

    "I'd be lying if I said I wasn't thinking about hitting another one,'' he said. "But the thing is, I hit those three by not thinking about it, so I tried to take the same approach and just hit it back up the middle.''

    Atlanta scored four in the fifth to cut the lead to 11-5, highlighted by a two-run double by Chipper Jones. Jones also homered in the fourth for the Braves' first run, and added another double in the seventh.

    "I haven't been seeing the ball real well,'' said Jones, who raised his average 24 points to .263. "And we've been facing some pretty good pitching the first month of the season. If you're not on against guys of the caliber we've been facing, they're going to expose you.''

    Yost made his return to Atlanta, where he coached for 12 years before leaving in the offseason.

    "Things like this happen on any given night,'' he said. "They've got a great team over there.''

    Game notes
    Sexson also had three home runs at Arizona on Sept. 25, 2001. ... Vander Wal's previous slam was at Montreal on June 21, 2000. ... Sanchez robbed Atlanta's Andruw Jones of a two-run homer in the seventh inning, leaping high and snatching the ball just before it disappeared over the center-field wall. ... Braves C Javy Lopez, out for nearly a week with a strained hamstring, plans to start Saturday night.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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